iTunes plays radiology storage management song

July 16, 2008

One of the hidden powers of iTunes is its ability to organize and manage portable document format files as conveniently and efficiently as it does music files, according to researchers in China.

One of the hidden powers of iTunes is its ability to organize and manage portable document format files as conveniently and efficiently as it does music files, according to researchers in China.PDFs are widely used as a standard file format for electronic publications as well as for online medical documents."Unfortunately, there is a lack of powerful software to manage numerous PDF documents," said Dr. Li Jun Qian of the radiology department at Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine. Qian described how iTunes can be used to manage radiologic PDF files in a paper in the July issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.Generally, PDF files are separated into distinct folders by a single topic, such as fMRI or evidence-based imaging. This approach, however, does not address the problem of classification of multisubject articles. "Storing copies of the same document in each appropriate folder wastes space, and, as the accumulation of files increases, the efficiency of finding target files drops," Qian said.With iTunes, available free from Apple (http://www.apple.com/itunes/), users are no longer required to keep multisubject PDF files in redundant folders. "iTunes has powerful search and sort functions. It can remember a user's favorite articles, it supports customized shortcuts for different topics or categories, and the backup of these shortcuts can be easily achieved," Qian said.

After opening iTunes, users can add PDFs to the iTunes library two ways:

  • Select file > Add file to library
  • Drag file directly to the iTunes library window

Once the file is imported, file information can be added or changed. Right-click the file name, then select Get Info. Under the Info tab, Artist can equal author; Grouping can specify categories, such as neuroimaging or musculoskeletal; and Comments allows users to add multiple keywords, such as diagnosis, diffusion tensor imaging, or multiple sclerosis.

Every time a PDF file is added to the library, a book icon appears after the file name. When the file name is double-clicked, iTunes opens the file using the computer's default PDF viewer, Qian said.iTunes does not save all the resources imported into its library. Instead, it remembers the exact file location and the user's description of the file, which is saved in an index."Thus, iTunes can perform a rapid and effective search of the index rather than browsing the entire hard drive," Qian said.