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Inside iTunes 7

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Separate Libraries

To make the most from an application that manages music, TV shows, movies, audio books, and podcasts, you need to be able to sort and organize content. This has always been a challenge for iTunes users, and it grows with each new type of content that iTunes can play. Thankfully, Apple has created two new ways to help with this organizing effort in iTunes 7.

First, in iTunes 7, the iTunes library is divided into separate libraries for Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, Audio Books, and iPod Games (we’ll get to the games in just a bit). The actual files are still stored together in one location by default (unless you tell iTunes not to copy media into the Library folder), but the database that manages your iTunes library separates content out for you so that you can browse, watch, or listen to only specific types of content while playing a library on shuffle. Although you could achieve this using playlists in past versions of iTunes, this solution is a little more elegant and requires less effort. So no more clicking the shuffle button for your music collection and all of a sudden hearing an episode of The Daily Show or a podcast or audio book mixed in.

Another new feature is the ability to select from multiple libraries at startup. By default, a user account on a computer has access to only one iTunes library. However, you can create multiple iTunes libraries and choose which one you want to access when launching iTunes by holding the Option key on your Mac’s keyboard (or the Shift key on a PC). Figure 3 shows the Choose Library dialog box, which is mostly helpful if you have a laptop because you might have room on your internal hard drive for only a fraction of your music collection. Having two libraries then, one on the internal drive and one on an external hard drive on your desk, enables you to have some of your music when you’re on the go and have all your music and videos when you’re home.

Figure 3

Figure 3 Choose iTunes Library dialog box

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