How to rename and organize files from JapanesePod101.com

JapanesePod101.com has thousands of audio tracks, pdf documents, and videos that you can easily download all at once through an XML feed. But, the files all have cryptic filenames and the MP3s have inconsistent, missing, or altogether wrong ID3 tags, which make it impossible to know what’s what! If you try sorting things by filename, lessons from a particular season don’t even get grouped together or appear in order! Its a total mess!!

So, I’m going to walk you through the process of getting things cleaned up and organized!

Download the files

My Feed

First of all, you need to download the files from JapanesePod101.com. Premium members can use the “My Feed” option to set up a feed that contains all the files you want. If you don’t currently have an account with JapanesePod101.com, I would recommend reading my review of it, which tells you how to sign up for a free trial of their premium service.

You can then use the feed to download the files to your computer. I suppose most people use iTunes. Juice seems to be another popular podcast downloading tool, but I couldn’t get it to work on my computer. I had success using RSS Owl to download the podcasts.

Renaming the files

Since the format of the filenames does not remain consistent, standard file renaming tools are not much help here. Completely frustrated, I resorted to making my own program to rename the files. I will share it here, but it only runs on Windows, though I will include the source code if you would like to try porting it to another system.

Also please note, that this program was only made for my personal use, so it has NOT been thoroughly tested or debugged. It is entirely possible that you could lose your files, or it could rename/damage something unrelated. That shouldn’t happen though, but just be warned that I take no responsibility! Again, the source code will be there if you want to inspect it.

And before you begin, BACK UP YOUR FILES BEFORE RUNNING THIS PROGRAM ON THEM!!!

JapanesePodRenamer

Download JapanesePodRenamer for Windows – Click Here

This program will basically turns filenames like this: 215_B108_081006_jpod101_dialog.mp3
Into something like this: Beginner Lesson #108 – A Way with Words – Dialog.mp3

Instructions

First, you need to download a copy of the XML file that Japanesepod101.com uses for their RSS feed. This can be obtained from the “My Feed” area of their website. If you can’t figure out how to actually download a copy of the xml file to your pc, try emailing the url to yourself. This will give you a link that you can right-click on and then “save as”. Next, you need to have actually downloaded the files from this RSS feed onto your PC (for example, the actual mp3 or pdf files). The files should all be collected into a single folder.

Then, open up JapanesePodRenamer, and click the “Select Folder” button to select the folder your files are stored in.

Then press the “Select XML” button to select the XML file that you downloaded. When you do this, you should see the list fill up with filenames and titles that were extracted from the XML file. This has no purpose other than verifying that you loaded a valid file.

Finally, after making sure you have first backed up your content, press the “Rename” button, and your files will get renamed.

Sorting

sorted into folders

Once the files have been renamed, it shouldn’t take you long to manually sort them all out into separate folders if you want to. I would highly recommend it, as it will make the process of correcting the ID3 tags a bit easier.

Correcting ID3 Tags

mp3tag

Now for the final step, correcting the ID3 tags, so that the MP3 files will show up with correct titles, album, and so on. While there are numerous programs out there for editing these tags, I found that the best one for me was MP3Tag. It is a Windows program, but apparently can run on OS X and Linux through Wine.

Now, I’m not going to write up a full tutorial to the program itself, as I’ll leave that for you to figure out. The program is pretty straightforward though. But basically, first you want to make sure that the “Album” tag is named for the title of the Season that the lesson comes from. For example, Newbie Season 2 will have some files that have the album listed as “Newbie Lesson S2”, and some just listed as “Newbie Lesson”. If you have correctly sorted all of the seasons lessons into a folder, then this is as simple as selecting all of that folder’s files within MP3Tag, and then batch edit the Album title for them on the left side pane.

You might also see that many of the titles are not consistent, with some having the season title before the lesson title, while some don’t.There are two buttons along the row at the top of the application which can help with this, which say “Tag – Filename” and “Filename – Tag” when you hover over them. These can either rename the files based on information from one of the tags (you would use the title tag of course), or you can rename the title tag based on the filenames, whichever might work better for a given situation. You might need to manually rename some things here or there. You will find that Newbie Season 1 is definitely the worst offender as far as things being inconsistent.

Track numbers can also be out of order. Once you have them all sorted by filename, you can easily fix the track numbers using the button along the top row that says “Autonumbering Wizard” when you hover over it.

Once you are finished, give yourself a pat on the back, and start practicing your Japanese listening!

Take everything with a grain of saltEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUpon

27 thoughts on “How to rename and organize files from JapanesePod101.com

    1. The video files should work fine too. Is it renaming ANY of the files, or failing on all of them? Have you verified whether the files were deleted after running it? The file shown in the error message does exist to begin with?

      1. It’s renaming some. Maybe 30 or so. Regardless of whether I hit continue or exit it doesn’t do anymore. And yes, like I said I have a copy of the original downloaded folder from when it was first downloaded and the files it says are missing are always there. I replace them all into the folder I’m running this on again before I rerun it. It seems like it is maybe doing that file, but then later trying to redo it and it’s not there and it doesn’t like that.

        1. I don’t see any obvious errors in my code at first glance. If you want to upload your xml file somewhere for me, I might be able to take a look at it this weekend. Or at the least, maybe I can make it skip over any problematic files and keep going.
          I notice your system language is set to Japanese. I wonder if that could have possibly have something to do with how it reads the filenames or something. It ran through every single one on my system without a problem.

          1. So I opened up your solution and from a quick glance, it seems it’s saving certain files twice. I’m not sure if it’s a bug in the code per say or if somehow some files are twice in the XML. What I did was I set the output path to a different folder and I change the File.Move to a File.Copy, so that I didn’t keep having to fix my dir after it renamed some files.

            When I ran it again, it confirmed that it’s trying to copy certain files twice because it gave a new error, that the output file already existed. So then I used File.Copy(string, string, boolean) with the boolean as true which says to overwrite the file if its already there.

            This seems to have fixed it for me and it is running right now. I’m sure there is a better code fix though. Either its a code bug or code needs to be changed to ignore dupes in the XML. Also, here is the XML file from JPod101.

          2. That’s cool that you got it working. I’m still confused what could have been happening though. I checked the xml file to see if there was a duplicate for the file that was listed in the error message you posted earlier… there wasn’t.

            In any case, I’ll wrap some error checking around the File.move statement which might help if someone else runs into this issue.

          3. I actually ended up adding in a File.Exists check. Not sure why I didn’t do that instead in the first place, long day. One other thing it did encounter an issue with was tabs in a few filenames. Because the tabs were turned into \t\t.

            Overall, thanks for the this post and the script. I’m following your current *outline*. Hopefully you’ll have your thoughts on the Lower and Upper Intermediate sections by the time I get there! (´・ω・`)

    2. I have updated the application so it throws an exception if it has an error while renaming the files, and I added a check to remove any tab characters (though I have not encountered any tab characters myself, so I’m not sure why you saw them).

  1. Is it possible to use this very software to rename the other family’s products? Like thaipod101, chineseclass101, indonesianpod101, etc etc
    I will use this space to thank you for Little Charo script. I guess this will make a huge improvent to my Japanese.
    Thanks a lot!

    1. That’s an interesting question. I have never looked at any of their other products, but I *think* it might work. I don’t think it will hurt anything to try, so long as you back up your files first.

      1. Worked almost like a charm. For some reason it failed a little bit with some pods but did 99% of the hard job by itself. Thanks a lot for such an awesome tool!

  2. HI Alan,

    your program is great, however, I got an error while renaming “Japanese Listening Comprehension for Intermediate Learners”
    Can you help me please?, I only have one week left for my subscription.

    Error:
    Unhandled exception has occurred in your application. if you click Continue. the application will ignore this error and attempt to continue. if you clock Quit. the application will close immediately

    Illegal characters in path

    Error Details:
    See the end of this message for details on invoking
    just-in-time (JIT) debugging instead of this dialog box.

    ************** Exception Text **************
    System.ArgumentException: Illegal characters in path.
    at System.IO.Path.CheckInvalidPathChars(String path)
    at System.IO.Path.NormalizePathFast(String path, Boolean fullCheck)
    at System.IO.Path.GetFullPathInternal(String path)
    at System.IO.File.Move(String sourceFileName, String destFileName)
    at JapanesePodRenamer.Form1.button2_Click(Object sender, EventArgs e)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.OnClick(EventArgs e)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Button.OnMouseUp(MouseEventArgs mevent)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.WmMouseUp(Message& m, MouseButtons button, Int32 clicks)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ButtonBase.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Button.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.ControlNativeWindow.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.NativeWindow.Callback(IntPtr hWnd, Int32 msg, IntPtr wparam, IntPtr lparam)

    ************** Loaded Assemblies **************
    mscorlib
    Assembly Version: 2.0.0.0
    Win32 Version: 2.0.50727.8669 (QFE.050727-8600)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Windows/Microsoft.NET/Framework64/v2.0.50727/mscorlib.dll
    —————————————-
    JapanesePodRenamer
    Assembly Version: 1.0.0.0
    Win32 Version: 1.0.0.0
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/Compressed/renamer/JapanesePodRenamer.exe
    —————————————-
    System.Windows.Forms
    Assembly Version: 2.0.0.0
    Win32 Version: 2.0.50727.8662 (QFE.050727-8600)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/WINDOWS/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Windows.Forms/2.0.0.0__b77a5c561934e089/System.Windows.Forms.dll
    —————————————-
    System
    Assembly Version: 2.0.0.0
    Win32 Version: 2.0.50727.8662 (QFE.050727-8600)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/WINDOWS/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System/2.0.0.0__b77a5c561934e089/System.dll
    —————————————-
    System.Drawing
    Assembly Version: 2.0.0.0
    Win32 Version: 2.0.50727.8663 (QFE.050727-8600)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/WINDOWS/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Drawing/2.0.0.0__b03f5f7f11d50a3a/System.Drawing.dll
    —————————————-
    System.Xml
    Assembly Version: 2.0.0.0
    Win32 Version: 2.0.50727.8662 (QFE.050727-8600)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/WINDOWS/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Xml/2.0.0.0__b77a5c561934e089/System.Xml.dll
    —————————————-

    ************** JIT Debugging **************
    To enable just-in-time (JIT) debugging, the .config file for this
    application or computer (machine.config) must have the
    jitDebugging value set in the system.windows.forms section.
    The application must also be compiled with debugging
    enabled.

    For example:

    When JIT debugging is enabled, any unhandled exception
    will be sent to the JIT debugger registered on the computer
    rather than be handled by this dialog box.

    1. Hi,
      it’s been a while since I’ve touched this, and I’m not sure exactly what the issue might be. From the error, it sounds like its having some trouble with some weird characters in the filename.

      I would recommend to take any file (or files) that seem to be causing the issue and just move them aside, and see if you can get the program to continue renaming the rest. Then just manually rename the ones you set aside. Let me know if that works.

        1. Ok, let me make sure I understand the situation. You begin running the application. It begins renaming files as expected. It gets to a file of “Japanese Listening Comprehension for Intermediate Learners” and then crashes with the error message? Is this correct?

          If you are familiar with XML, you can try editing the file in a text editor (remember to keep a backup) to remove the entries that you believe are causing the issue, and then see if that helps.

          Or, you can upload your xml to some sharing site like google drive or mega so I can download it and test it out myself. I never tested on any of the video courses when I was creating this, so those entries in the xml could possibly have something I didn’t expect.
          You could also try downloading a new xml WITHOUT that season selected from japanesepod101 and see if that works.

  3. Alan, thanks for your hard work on this program! I’ve been searching for an easy way to do the mass-renaming of these podcast files. The program as it stands does seem to work properly on audio, pdf, and video
    files.

    I ran into some issues using the project as-is on ThaiPod101 files I had downloaded, so I cloned the project into my development repo so as to add removal of null and newline characters, and to change the way it handles files it cannot find.

    You can find my source code repo at the following link, for what it’s worth:
    https://bitbucket.org/Koohiisan/multipod-renamer

    Thanks!

  4. Dear Alan,

    First of all, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’d love Nihongo too much and try everyday to study. I come from Vietnam, I signed up and receive 7 days trial use as Premium. I follow your instruction to download but I can not download it all because I’m limitted to download 3 first and last lessions for each category. So, I really do hope that you could upload what you’ve downloaded to other host. I know that it’s a harsh requiment for you but pls do it as you could help everybody who desire to learn Japanese. Thank you so much.

    1. I had the same thing happen: I’m in the trial membership and the feed only downloaded the first and last three lessons for all the courses I selected. I also noticed it seemed like the downloaded files were already renamed as per Alan’s tool (they had names that made sense, but the organization of the naming was a mess still, ie they didn’t go the step further and use the retagging tool Alan linked), so I wonder if they saw these posts and caught on (as well as used the tool). Still a lot of audio material for dialogues. If I’m finding them really useful, might splurge on the Premium membership.

      Thanks for sharing all this info and the renaming tool, Alan!

  5. Great program – thanks for your help! For the ID3 Tag step, is there a way of using this or another programme to also rename the PDFs?

    1. The program renames the PDFs too. The file naming comes from the XML feed, so it includes the lesson title and descriptive name of all audio, video, and reference files.

  6. Hi Alan,

    I’m having a tough time figuring out this XML file issue. I have OSX and have been able to download the mp3 file off my itunes after a 3-day download! (I probably should have been hardwired instead of using wireless bandwidth) But I can’t figure out how to get an XML file. I shared the file on google drive with my husband (PC user) but when we open the renamer program it does not recognize any files from the folder that holds the MP3 files. Any ideas?

    Thank you so much!

    1. If you were able to download the xml file, you can open it with a text editor (such as Notepad on a PC) and see the actual contents. While there is a bunch of stuff that looks like code in there, you should also be able to see the filenames and the actual lesson titles written in the file. If you can see those titles, then you downloaded the xml file correctly, and I’m not sure why the program is failing to work for you. If you DO NOT see the titles, then you had not downloaded the file properly. In that case, perhaps you can log into JapanesePod on your husbands PC and try downloading there. Or, here is a method I found to download a file on OSX using the command line: https://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/mac-os-x-terminal-download-file/

  7. Perhaps I’m overlooking something, but I can’t seem to acquire the actual files. Am I suppose to be able to mass download them or do I need to download each mp3/pdf file one-by-one? I have the xml file and the program to rename them all, but after trying to rename them they don’t show up anywhere, and I know I have a backup file for the xml.
    Please help, I don’t want to be frustrated over this for much longer.

    1. You mean to get the mp3 files? You will need to load the xml file into a podcast or rss application to download the files. I suggested several in the post above, such as Itunes, Juice, or RSS Owl. I suspect most people use Itunes to download the files. It’s been quite a while now since I did any of this, and I no longer have an active subscription to be able to test any of it out myself, and I’m not sure if Japanesepod101.com changed anything on their end either.

  8. Okay, I think that I figured it all out. I finally got itunes to work, I think my main issue was assuming I could automatically download all the files, but this did help. Thank you again for your review and guides.

Leave a Reply