Script to group media by metadata using symlinks
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MediaLinkFS Build Status

This is a project that collects metadata about media items and creates symlinks to tag each item in multiple collections, for example Artist or Genre. This managed set of symlinks replicates some of the functionality of a media library application, while allowing any program to browse the library.

For example, it will put a symlink to /media/tv/All/Archer into /media/tv/Actors/Chris Parnell and /media/tv/Actors/Judy Greer and so on.

Organizational Concepts

MediaLinkFS is given a path to a directory of media items, such as music albums or tv shows. Information about each item is then collected by a metadata plugin. MediaLinkFS will then use the metadata to create groups, such as artist names. All media objects then get sorted into each group based on its metadata.

Useful Features

  • Quick resume after interruptions

    Progress is saved during organization, so that the process can resume quickly after interruptions

  • Metadata cache

    MediaLinkFS saves a copy of any metadata it finds for any media item, and will use that cache if metadata for an item couldn't be located on later runs. MediaLinkFS can also be configured to save time and not look up metadata if a cached copy is found. A commandline flag exists to ignore any cached data.

  • Detailed logs

    The logs say exactly why an item couldn't be found with the metadata plugin. The logs will show exactly what steps it went through to find each item.

  • Cleanup of old links

    If a directory is renamed, or the metadata changes, MediaLinkFS will automatically clean up the old symlinks that used to point at it. If a group of metadata is no longer necessary, it will clean up that directory.

  • Manual organization

    The user can specify a list of symlinks that the user has maintained manually and the program will not clean these extra links.

  • Multiset

    Multiple sets, such as TV and Movies, can be organized into the same directory. For example, a global Actors directory could be generated, containing each actor's movie and tv appearances.

  • Chainable metadata parsers

    Parsers can use the information discovered by previous parsers in the parser list. For example, the quantizer plugin adds a decade value based on the year found by other plugins.


  1. Install Python3 and the PyYAML library
  2. Check out this repository
  3. Edit config.yml
  4. ./ -c config.yml


  • parsename

    Attempts to parse a few common patterns out of the given folder or file name. It also removes any found data from the name key, providing a cleaner name for subsequent modules to use.

    • year - A 4 digit number that starts with 19 or 20
    • resolution - A number from a list of common video resolutions
    • format - h264, x264, avc, xvid, or divx
    • release_group - A release group, if one directly follows the format field
    • extension - Any detected extension at the end of the filename
    • name - The rest of the filename that wasn't matched by the above
  • id3

    Parses out ID3 tags from mp3s, and gets the following information. If it is told to scan a directory, it will parse the directory as an album, collecting information recursively about the contained files. The plural items, like artists, may be useful for mix albums or directories.

    • album
    • album_artist
    • artist
    • composer
    • genre
    • title
    • track_total
    • date
    • albums
    • artists
    • composers
  • myapifilms

    MyApiFilms searches IMDB for a given tv show, movie, or video game name. myapifilms has a limit of 1000 item lookups per day without an api key or 2000 per day with an api key. This key is set in the api_key parser_option. Looks up information about a collection of TV or movies, and discovers the following information

    • genres
    • year
    • rating (IMDB "quality" rating 1.0-10.0, e.g. "7.4")
    • metascore

    The myapifilms plugin supports a parser option of type, which must be one of the following. It defaults to searching for any type.

    • movie
    • tv series
    • video game
  • omdbapi

    Looks up information about a collection of TV or movies, and discovers the following information:

    • genres
    • writers
    • directors
    • actors
    • rated
    • year
  • quantizer

    Looks through the previously discovered metadata and quantizes the year into decades:

    • decade (1980)
    • decades (1980s)

    Looks through the previously discovered metadata and quantizes the "rating" field into buckets of 0.5:

    • ratings (rating of 7.3 -> 7.5)

    Looks through the previously discovered metadata and quantizes the "name" by the initial letter. Any non-alpha initial letter is assigned to category '0':

    • letter (Adaptation -> 'A')
  • vgmdb

    Looks up information about a collection of video game albums, and discovers the following information:

    • arrangers
    • composers
    • games
    • lyricists
    • performers
    • artists - an alias of composers
    • franchises
    • year - the release year of the album


Invoking the command requires a configuration to be passed with the -c argument. This is a file, in YAML format, that describes how to organize the media.

At the root of the YAML document is a single item, sets. This is a list of set configurations, and each set describes how to organize each set of media. There may also be two other items, default_settings and override_settings. These configuration items are merged into each set configuration, so that the specific set configuration overrides the default_settings and the override_settings will override those.

Set Configuration

  • name: The name of this set, used in logging and in state retention
  • parsers: A list of parser modules to use when loading metadata for these items
  • parser_options: A mapping of parser modules to any custom options specific to that parser module
  • scan_mode: The method used to find media items in this collection, which must be one of the following:
    • toplevel - Use any file or directory directly underneath the source_dir
    • directories - Use any directories directly underneath the source_dir
    • files - Use any files directly underneath the source_dir
  • source_dir: The full path to the media directory
  • cache_dir: The full path to the directory where MediaLinkFS should store any temporary state specific to this set. Defaults to the .cache directory directly under source_dir
  • regex: An optional regex that will be searched for in each item's path. If this setting exists, it will only organize items that match.
  • noclean: Don't delete any extra files from the output directories
  • fakeclean: Indicate what directories and files would be cleaned out at the end of a run, but don't actually clean them
  • output: A list of output directories to manage

Output Configuration

  • dest: The full path to the directory to make the group directories
  • group_by: The metadata key of each item to use as the basis for grouping. This can also be an array of keys

Example Config

  - name: TV
    parsers: [omdb,freebase]
    scan_mode: directories
    source_dir: /media/tv/All
    cache_dir: /media/tv/.cache
    fakeclean: false
        type: /tv/tv_program
      - dest: /media/tv/Actors
        group_by: actors

Extra Details

As the program runs through a set, it adds every processed item into a .progress file in the set's cache_dir. This file is used to resume a set's progress the next time it is run. When the set is complete, it will remove this progress file so that it will rescan everything on the next run.

Every output directory will have a .toc file that represents what contents have been added to the directory during that run. After a completed run, the program will go through every managed directory and remove any symlink and empty directory that is not mentioned in the .toc file. When complete, it will move the .toc file to .toc.done, to remember that it has finished cleaning the directory and to skip cleaning it if the program doesn't successfully finish the entire cleaning process. Any previous .toc.done files are renamed to .toc.old, and any previous .toc.old files are deleted.

During the cleanup process, it will not remove any links that are mentioned in .toc.extra, any real files, or any non-empty directories. This allows the user to manually create links and add their names to .toc.extra to prevent MediaLinkFS from removing them. It will also not delete a directory if it is the source_dir, allowing the source_dir to safely be a subdirectory of an output directory.

The .toc files are suffixed by the set name, which is used to allow multiple sets to use the same output directories. However, once a media item has been mentioned in .toc.done, MediaLinkFS will not clean it from that directory. If an old set should no longer be in an output directory, remove all .toc.done files for that set in the directory.

In the set's cache_dir, several files that start with .cache- will show up after a run. These files contain all of the cached metadata for each media item. These files can be removed to clear the cache. Each file's modification date indicates the last time a metadata search has been run, which can be used to implement an external cache cleaning policy.