Q: I have the year field populated for all of the tracks in my iTunes library. I have an 80 GB iPod and I love the search function, but is there anyway to obtain the track year on my iPod when I’m not in front of my iTunes library?
A: Unfortunately, there is no way to view or search for any fields on the iPod other than the standard fields such as name, artist and album. Further, while you can browse by fields such as Genre and Composer, these are not available to be searched on.
A common trick that many users employ to get access to the “Year” field is to simply embed it into the album or track names in some way. Placing it at the front of an album name will allow you to sort your albums by year, but placing it in parenthesis at the end (ie, “Hold Your Fire (1987)”) will still allow it to be displayed or search on.
Another possibility if you’re simply interested in being able to view the year, you can also embed it within the “Lyrics” field for your tracks.
There are a number of ways you can automatically add the year information into your lyrics or other tags without having to go through them manually. If you’re a Mac user, you can do this via AppleScript, and there are some AppleScripts that can be found at Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes page and in our AppleScripts Discussion Forum. If you’re a PC user, your options in iTunes itself are a bit more limited, but as long as your tracks are in MP3 format, you can use a tool such as Tag & Rename or MP3Tag to adjust the tags in your MP3 files themselves. Note that changes tags adjusted directly within your MP3 files will not appear in your iTunes library until you either play the track of view its information by selecting File, Get Info.