How to Categorize a DVD Collection

By Chantel Alise

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • Movie collection of 100 or more films

  • Paper and pencil

  • Computer system

  • Database system

DVD movies today are inexpensive enough that many families have begun putting together their own private collections. Unfortunately, the more movies collected, the more difficult it is to keep track of everything within the collection. That oftentimes means that duplicate movies are purchased. With today’s rising prices of gasoline, food, and other necessities of life, the wasting of money isn’t advisable. Therefore, to make certain that duplicate films aren’t purchased and to keep track of a growing collection, it is advisable to put together a movie library of sorts. To do that, however, it is necessary to categorize each film.

Establish the major DVD film categories to be used by type or theme. Typical categories include, but are not necessarily limited to: action, animation, children, comedy, drama, family, horror, foreign, romance, science fiction, sports and suspense.

Determine subcategories within each major category (if desired). These might include, but are not limited to: adventure, history and myth. Comedies could be divided into romance, slapstick and sophomoric. Drama subcategories might include biographies, dramedies (a mix of comedy and drama), and real-life interpretations (of events rather than people). Science fiction could include fantasy, future predictions and traditional sci-fi.

Divide the collection into the categories decided upon in Step 1 above. Input each title into a computer database system.

Divide the collection into the established subcategories decided upon in Step 2, if applicable. Enter them into the database system as well.

Assign a cross-reference code to each DVD by actor and actress. For example, put all of Elvis’ films together; all of Marilyn Monroe’s films; and all of Humphrey Bogart’s films together. Then, whenever someone is in a mood for Bogie, it takes only seconds to find all the movies in the collection in which he starred.

Assign a cross-reference code by film age or time period of movie. Many movies have been remade over the years. For example, “King Kong” has been remade three times; “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” four times, under differing titles; and “The Three Musketeers” even more. Age cross-referencing will allow one to find the version he wants to see quickly. Lovers of classic films will particularly appreciate this type of cross-referencing.

Assign a cross-reference code to films about individuals, whether biographical or interpretive in nature.

Assign a cross-reference code for award-winning films (optional).

Assign any additional cross-referencing codes of personal choice (like movie sequels, prequels, or remakes).

Attach cross-referencing codes to each DVD and/or enter the films by cross-reference code into a computer database system.

Make category changes as the need is identified for them.


Print multiple copies of your categorized DVD collection for reference when searching for a film. Give one to family and friends who traditionally "borrow" films for viewing. Make changes, additions and recategorizations on one hard copy of the categorized list for future updating purposes. Develop your own categories if they will better suit your needs.


Don't just put the movies into the database. Also keep a hard copy. It is unlikely that both will be destroyed at the same time.