Sony collection management changes in calibre 0.7.9
If you have not changed the default value of the "Preserve User Collections" check box found in Preferences -> Add/Save -> Sending to device (the default is 'checked'), then you do not need to continue reading this post.
At the moment, this post applies only to Sony devices, because they have collections and the possibility of setting metadata outside of books. If you do not have a Sony, you do not need to read further. Note: other smart devices, such as iTunes, the Kobo, or readers on Android, may eventually use this option (or not).
Calibre 0.7.9 provides three choices for how metadata is sent to a device, instead of today's two. The checkbox 'Preserve user collections' is gone, replaced by a drop-down box offering the three choices. Even though we are a week away from the release of 0.7.9, I am posting this now so that any users who run from source are aware of the change.
The three choices are:
1) Manual management. This is the default. When a book is sent, calibre will update that book's metadata and add the book to any new collections indicated by combination of book metadata and 'build collections from' in device customization. Calibre will never remove a book from a collection. This choice's behavior is the same as 0.7.8 when 'Preserve User Collections' is checked.
2) Only on send. If you select this option, when you send a book, calibre will update metadata and collections for that book. On send, calibre will add and remove the book from collections as indicated by the metadata and device customization. Collections will be deleted on send. Manual editing of collections is not allowed. This choice is the same as 0.7.8 when 'Preserve Device Collections' is unchecked.
Note: if you have unchecked the preference in 0.7.8 or earlier, then after upgrading to 0.7.9 you must change the option again. The option reverts to the default, #1, when you upgrade from 0.7.8 or earlier to 0.7.9 or later.
3) Automatic management. Selecting this option tells calibre to update metadata and collections at the point the device is connected and when a book is sent. When calibre detects the device and generates the list of books on the device, it will send metadata to the device for all books on the device that are in the library (On device is True). On connect, calibre will add and remove books from collections as indicated by the metadata and device customization. Manual editing of collections is not allowed. Collections will be deleted on connect.
If you choose #2 or #3, Calibre will add and delete collections based on a book's metadata and the current settings for collection building in device customization. There is no undo. Calibre will not ask you for permission. Do not change the preference from the default if you don't want calibre to delete collections.
If you choose option #3, the changes will happen when you connect. Changes are sent at when the device is recognized. Further changes in the library after connection will not be sent until either you disconnect and reconnect, or you send a book to the device.
If you use multiple installations of calibre to manage a device, option #3 is probably not what you want. A connection will reset the metadata to what is in the current library. Connecting to the other library will reset the metadata to what is in that library. Metadata in books found in both libraries will be flopped back and forth.
Rationale: I added option #3 because that is how I want calibre to behave for me. I want my collections to reflect the metadata in the library, without having to send a book. If I change tags, series, a title, or authors in the library, I want my Sony to show those changes, without me needing to send a book. I want changes to happen without me being required to remember what what I changed. I want to send a book only when the book changes, not when the metadata changes. If you don't share my preferences, then don't choose option 3.
If you are going to experiment, you should create a backup of your device library. Copy everything from main memory and the cards.
My apologies for what might be construed as defensiveness in this post. I am trying to avoid unhappy surprises for users. We have had enough of these.