Arming Your Database with Artist Information posted on June 11th, 2012
By Drew Bennett
Today, I am going to go over some features that have been in MusicMaster for some time now but I am going to show you a new way to use them. The Mass Changer and the Web Browser can work together to bring you serious artist information to the database.
I was building a database the other day and I wanted to add some functionality that showed off the MusicMaster web browser. I love that feature. You can do so much with it, from referencing the band website to listing the YouTube video. One of the things I like to check out when it comes to band info is Wikipedia. Typically, a band page is going to be updated by a fan or the band themselves and so the information tends to be current and I can get any kind of information I need about the band from a Wikipedia page.
The challenge I had facing me was that I had a database of well over 900 songs. It would take forever to list all of the Wikipedia pages and so it seemed like a task I might blow off entirely…until it occurred to me I might be able to mass change the field and build the URL that way. It worked and I want to share the steps with you because it’s a quick and painless way to arm your database with some serious artist information.
Did you know that every Wikipedia URL starts out with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ ? It’s true. Every single one begins like that. So, I checked out some artist pages. For instance, the Wikipedia URL for the Aerosmith entry is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerosmith. That’s great, but what about someone like Bryan Adams or even Crosby Stills and Nash? Wikipedia just puts an underscore in place of the spaces. So Bryan Adam’s Wikipedia entry is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Adams.
This makes creating Wikipedia URL’s in MusicMaster super easy and I would like to take this time to thank the Wikipedia geniuses for making such simple URL’s. I would buy you a pizza if I knew who you were.
The first step to referencing a Wikipedia entry in a MusicMaster song card is to define the URL field for songs in your database. In my database, I included a special field called URL. If you do not have a URL field, you may be able to rename an existing text field and re-purpose that field. To re-purpose an existing field go to Dataset, Library, Fields and look for a field with the word, ‘Text,’ in the Type column. That means the field is a text field and can be used to house a URL. Note: Make sure the text field shows a length of 255. You’ll need all the space you can get for the length of a URL. Once you find a field to use, name it URL and hit OK to close the Database Field Editor.
Before we begin filling out our song cards, we want to set up the MusicMaster web browser to display the website in our URL field. Head to Tools, Options, External Database Links. In the screen that pops up, locate the Auto Link Field at the bottom and use the dropdown box to choose your URL field. Choose Apply and OK.
Now it’s time to mass change your URL field to create a proper Wikipedia URL. This tutorial assumes you know basic library maintenance functionality. If you do not know how to query a library or change a library layout, check out our video walkthroughs.
Query the library for your all music categories. Add in the URL field to your layout. Copy the Artist field and paste the content in the URL field. You should now have all artist names in your URL field for each song card. Next, right click on the URL field and choose Mass Changer. In the Mass Changer operation field, choose Find and Replace. In the ‘Search For’ section type a SPACE. In the ‘Replace With’ section type an underscore. (“_”) Choose ‘No’ on ‘Confirm Each Change’ and hit OK. MusicMaster will replace spaces in your artist names with underscores. Now, you will add the beginning piece of the Wikipedia URL. Right click on the URL field again and choose Mass Changer. In the operation field choose ‘Prepend Field Contents.’ In the ‘Additional Text’ section, type http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/. Hit OK. MusicMaster will add that in front of your artist names in the URL field. So, Bryan Adams should now have http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Adams in the URL field and so on.
The final step is to choose View, Web Browser to bring up MusicMaster’s web browser. Now, when you highlight an artist in Library Maintenance or the Schedule Editor, you can peruse the Wikipedia entry for that artist. Cool, huh?
It’s a fast and easy way to add artist information resources to your database. If you have any questions, contact your assigned Music Scheduling Consultant and Happy Scheduling!