Ratings: Import history and data from other sites

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Hi IMDb team. I've been using sites for cataloguing the movies I watch for some years now, but I never started using IMDb itself. At the moment, I have accounts at Listal and iCheckMovies. To start these accounts I had to check and rate all the movies I had ever watched, and it took a huge time to finish it up.After that, I started checking and rating the movies I watched and making up lists and stuff. However, now that I finally want to start rating and checking these movies in the IMDb site, I just don't want to spend a very long time checking all these films again.In the iCheckMovies site they have a feature that makes it possible to import the ratings from the IMDb site, so it is not necessary to check and rate it all again. I was wondering: is it possible to import my history from other sites to IMDb? I asked this to the iCheckMovies team and this is what they answered me:"Hi Renan,That would be neat, but that's up to IMDb to implement. You could try contacting them to make this a feature or to open up their API.Cheers,The iCheckMovies Team" What do you think about it? Other people from iCheckMovies and Listal also supported the idea, so I believe I'm not the only one who'd love that to come true.Thanks for your attention! Please answer me back here or in my e-mail, I'm not sure of how I'm going to be contacted or how I'll be contacted if you answer me here...Renan Araújo.Brazil.
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Renan Araújo

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Posted 7 years ago

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There is currently no feature for importing lists into IMDB, even if they are ones exported from there so they should be formatted properly and everything would join up nicely. This would be useful if people exported their films as a back-up, because some people will accidentally delete their lists and want to put them back (someone has reported it on here already). This shouldn't be too difficult to do, as you can already do things, like copy someone's list into your own.

The problem with importing a list from another site is that without the IMDB film ID (it is in the link) you can't make everything match up completely. This could be rectified through importing by having a page where it offered you the ability to pick the right film. As you can imagine this'd need them to put in quite a bit of time and effort coding it.

There are a couple of options:

* Amazon/IMDB/LoveFilm set this feature up to allow exporting of lists between sites, which would need the ability to link the films together (as I don't think you get, for example, the ASINs on IMDB needed to link the entry there to the specific product on Amazon). This would be a powerful feature as it'd help boost the number of lists on all sites and would probably only need to be coded once (and either tweaked to work on all sites or hosted centrally on one of the sites). This system would then allow importing lists from other sites, which would also be a big boost to the Amazon family of sites.

* If IMDB just allowed you to import IMDB generated lists it'd be easy enough for some web savvy sort to produce a web-based system where you could import a list from anywhere and format it so it can be uploaded to IMDB (there is enough of an API to allow this kind of search from an external site).

It seems there is enough interest out there to create a system to allow the importing of IMDB-formatted lists and see how it goes from there. Fingers crossed this gets addressed at some point.
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Zwerver

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There are many desktop programs and websites where you can create a movie list, and my oldest personal list is a spreadsheet file. Adding every single movie title from those lists into my IMDB list is not very appealing to me as the lists have become huge over the years. Importing a list of titles(*) in some plain-text format would be very nice to have. At least the IMDB could support import for their own csv exports, that way there is means to bulk-import titles.
(* as there is no officially available imdb-id + title + akas source there are not many programs or websites providing lists that can be exported including imdb-id's values)

So +1 to this feature.
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Zwerver

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I agree with Emperor on the problem matching movies without imdb-id, It is more difficult to match all movies only on title + year (besides the alternative titles). But if one can import a list and given "suggestions" for the different titles instead of a perfect match. That would already be very time-saving.
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Yeah you'd need two approaches:

* Import IMDB formatted lists - this would be easy to implement and would not only allow people to import lists they've exported from IMDB (some people export theirs and fiddle with them in spreadsheet software), but if someone had a list of IMDB films then it'd be easy for someone else to produce a little web widget that'd process this list into an IMDB-formatted lists that could be imported.

* Import other movie lists - as explained above this'd be trickier but not a big chore, just a few forms and a title search: the page could work through each list element and presented a radio buttoned list of possible films based on the title/year search (with links so someone can check them in a new window) so someone can select the right one and move on to the next film. It'd be quicker and easier than working through each film entry and searching for each one, then grabbing the link and using that to add the film to a list.

The first approach would be a good start, and you'd then have some of the underlying structure needed to make the second one work.
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Renan Araújo

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Actually, to load a movie in Listal you need its Amazon url, and to load a movie in iCheckMovies you need its IMDb ID. So, I think the sites have all the same data, they're not independent. It's only up to IMDb to open up its API and implement this feature (as the iCheckMovies team said... actually I have no idea what an API is).

PS: Sorry for the long time to answer it, I only received an e-mail remembering me about this today.
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Actually, to load a movie in Listal you need its Amazon url, and to load a movie in iCheckMovies you need its IMDb ID.


That is good to know, it'd make a solution easier to implement - if the lists have the IMDB ID, and we had a way to import lists you'd exported from IMDB, then it is just a matter of formatting the list. ASINs might be trickier - I'd need to check, but usually what they do is do a Movie & TV search using the title, but it might be they have the ASINs stored and we don't see it. The staff should be able to clear that one up.

actually I have no idea what an API is


It is just a standardised way to request and receive data. IMDB do have one bu,t as far as I'm aware, it isn't comprehensive enough for people who want full flexibility.
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Renan Araújo

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I see... thanks for the help here Emperor!
Well, then it only depends on the IMDB staff to implement it?
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Indeed. All we can do is keep pointing people at this thread and hope it gets enough +1s to rise to the top of the heap and get more attention from staff.

As I say, just allowing people to import lists they've exported from IMDB would be a great first step (and would allow some information from other sites to be imported as well, with a little tinkering). After all, it seems odd to have a way to export your list, but not to import that very same list.
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Renan Araújo

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I'm not really familiar with these IMDB lists, as I said I don't really use the site yet because of these rating exporting/importing problems... but if it is as you stated - and I don't doubt it, some of the simplest feature as this unfortunately are commonly neglected in big desorganised sites - they could easily change it, and it would be a huge and simple implement...
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Indeed, but one of the advantages of their using this site, is they can see what is popular and they can prioritise the most popular ones. So with a bit of a push this could get implemented, it wouldn't be too difficult.
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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This would be a useful feature.
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Lady Aleena

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Come on IMDb, please do this?
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Bert Bal

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it's the only "standard" feature that is really missing, I have over 2500 movie titles in a standard txt file, csv file or xml, i'd love to be able to import these into a "my movies" list on imdb... This can't be that much work to implement, the only problem i foresee is that if everybody does that, it will be a strain on their servers as suddenly the info from 2500 movies needs to be 'scraped' and put into your lists... On the other hand, plenty of external programs are scraping the imdb for metadata already! I even think that people would stop scraping with other programs and use the imdb app instead of 3rd party software and therefor releasing strain on their servers.... pro's... con's..... what to do, what to do....
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andrepessoa

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I do not think it would be so easy to implement this feature in the case of lists that only contain the name, director, year, etc. Today, when you add a movie on any list on IMDb, usually a window appears with more than one film to choose, because many films have the same or similar names with others.

I think it would be easy to implement only on one condition: if the list had a field with IMDb ID. Consider the following situation: I saw a thematic list which I liked, but did not agree with the inclusion of five films in it (the list in total has for example 100 films). I could export the list to a CSV file, remove these 5 films of it and use that file to create a new list, my list, with 95 films. This is because the lists exported from IMDb comes with the ID, which avoids any need for "scraping" the data.

Like many other websites and also external programs use the IMDb ID in their databases, I could get movie lists even outside the site and include them in IMDb, if this feature was available. Today, it is necessary to include film by film. Fortunately the editing window allows you to paste the IMDb ID, speeding up the process a bit.

PS: When you talk about "external programs", you are referring to programs such as Ant Movie Catalog, right?
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As far as I know, this is currently not planned, mostly due to prioritization/resurce allocation (in simpler words: there are other issues or project that are of a higher priority at this time).

This may change in the future, but for the time being we are not looking at adding an 'import' feature for lists, sorry.
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A great pity.

Why offer the option to export a list, if you can't import it again? Just offering that as an option would be very handy in case of disasters.
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Although it is tedious, a user can manually reconstitute a list from the exported comma separated variable (CSV) file. I've done it and it is not fun. Admittedly, it would be a lot easier to import the list from the CSV file.

The following fields are exported for each type of list. The name, description of the list and comments are lost.

When manually reconstituting a list the most relevant fields are const and description. One can use the tt-constant (Title), nm-constant (People), ch-constant (character) and rm-constant (Images) to directly look up the respective list item. The search results should be unique. The description can be pasted into the description editing box.

If/when IMDb decides to implement a list import feature, the simplest version would be to emulate this manual process.

  • Titles (movies, TV shows, TV episodes)

    • position

    • const

    • created

    • modified

    • description

    • Title

    • Title type

    • Directors

    • You rated

    • IMDb Rating

    • Runtime (mins)

    • Year

    • Genres

    • Num.

    • Votes

    • Release

    • Date (month/day/year)

    • URL

  • People

    • position

    • const

    • created

    • modified

    • description

    • Name

    • Known for

  • Characters

    • position

    • const

    • created

    • modified

    • description

    • Name

    • Images

    • position

    • const

    • created

    • modified

    • description

    • url
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Really this should be a relatively straightforward script to put together, I'm sure we could cobble something together that you could slot the necessary details into. Granted it'll still need a bit of time from the development team still but it'd lower the barrier for this.
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trgz

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If someone had a list of all their films with the imdb reference, would it be possible to use some VBA in Excel (or whatever) to simply skip through that list of hyperlinks together with a rating in order to (assuming you've logged in) and hit the appropriate target (say the bit that accepted
a class="" title="Click to rate: 7" rel="nofollow" span 7 /span /a (carets removed)
ie create a list formatted something like:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100263/u...
that sort of thing?
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I'd assume they have systems in place to stop people from being able to automatically run through films and add ratings, because the companies offering hundreds of votes on IMDB would have a field day if they could automate the system.
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abbyb

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No, it used to be possible but they removed the URL interface years ago. That's exactly what I used to do!
http://www.imdb.com/rg/action-box-tit... used to do this! That was the foundation of my complaint in the other "Import a list" thread.
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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abbyb, thank you for the information. I was not aware of that functionality.
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abbyb

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Obviously, there's still a piece of JavaScript that does that now (the add to list buttons). If we could wedge in there, we'd back on the air, but I hadn't explored too deeply yet.
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Yes. In theory you might be able to tap into the AJAX used to add films to a list. If you have a list of films with the IMDB ID you could just export the IDs as CSV (easy enough to do in a spreadsheet) and if you could get a script to allow you to import it, that could then (possibly) run through the IDs activating the form field to pump in the list of films.

It might be there are measures in place to stop scripting exploits and/or flood controls but there is certainly a possibility there and a way to start simple then build up the functionality if it works.

I did some digging and found this script that does seem to allow people to add films to lists from just about anywhere (including Google results):

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/3...

Which suggests it is possible and, with the right knowhow someone could adapt what is there to get the first stage sorted out at least.
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abbyb

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Does that thing work? It keeps telling me I need to log in to IMDb. Tried logging out and back in and it still says it.
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I don't know, I've not tried it yet.
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abbyb

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If his description of the protocol is still right, I can probably fake something up. I'll try to take a look this weekend.
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I look forward to it.

I installed the script and got the same error as you, seems the recent changes at IMDB broke it and the script needs updating:

http://userscripts.org/topics/126533
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abbyb

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OK, needs a little work, but I have adding things to a list remotely almost working. Behold my new list: http://www.imdb.com/list/PWsOMuoNqv4/. I think you can see the times things were added and tell I didn't do it the hard way. :-)

I'm not sure my method will help you, but let me do some more testing and I'll share with the class.
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Spiffy, what was the original list format that you imported?
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Excellent! It took only 102 seconds to upload 420 items. Manually this would have taken me between an hour and two hours.
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abbyb

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I added like 1100 DVDs to my other list too. It's similar to how I was doing it before, but I don't know if I can do more than one at once (with the old CGI interface you could add as many as would fit in a URL). I'll try that tonight. That'd be better for large numbers of items.
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Looking forward to seeing this, as it might help with my fixing this problem (as copying across to another list would be slower than exporting and importing it):

https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...

As long as you can import from exported files.
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Any progress on this? I am familiar with JavaScript (I just wrote my first GreaseMonkey script the other day) and could cast an eye over it if there are any issues that might need a second set of eyes.
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abbyb

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Sorry, been busy with other stuff. I got my old script working and wanted to put some error handling in before sharing it. Hadn't had time to get back into the GreaseMonkey or anything, but I'm guessing the URLs can be tweaked and it'll work. Hope to look at it this weekend.
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Super. Looking forward to it.
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abbyb

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I have a Perl script that works for adding titles to a list, but you need to have previously saved out your IMDb account credentials to a file.  That's a pain to explain, but if you can do that, I can hook you up.  I'm working on making that cooler, but figured I'd update here in case anyone was interested.
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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abbyb,

Thank you for the update.
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shokk

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abbyb do you have that script somewhere that it I can download it?
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abbyb

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Recently (within the last month), my technique stopped working.  I'm back on the case to get this working better for everyone.  Who wants to help?
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Kol Tregaskes

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I'd like to see this option. Lovefilm, IMDB are both Amazon companies so can't be too much of a stretch. It would great to have all the ratings/watched lists on these 3 sites merged. I could then export this to trakt.
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Hassan Janjua

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I think we should also have ability to import movie list from excel spread sheet. 
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Kieran Bridgland

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Would love for this to happen! Seems like such an easy thing for them to do, too. I have a .csv file that Icheckmovies exported for me.
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Lee

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It's very disappointing to see how long people have been requesting this feature for. I'd love to jump ship from Listal to IMDB but there's no way that I'm rating all those films manually again.
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MrE2Me

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This is a feature I've been waiting for almost as long as I've been a member of IMDb. See, back in the day when I first began keeping track of every movie I'd ever seen (retroactively including thousands of titles), IMDb didn't have a simple way of "checking off" each film as I watched them. This is precisely why I turned to iCheckMovies - it provided all of that missing functionality in one place, as well as allowing both the importing and exporting of lists.

Now that IMDb has watchlists and other ways for users to keep track of such things, I would like to take my list of 5k titles (which, when exported from iCheckMovies, contains the IMDb ID of each) and import it here. Given that IMDb provides the ability to export a list, it baffles me as to why such a simple, obvious, and much-requested feature should remain unavailable for this long, especially if the list being imported contains the IMDb ID for each item.

On top of that, I'd actually make the argument that by not implementing this feature, IMDb is in fact driving users away from the site. In this one thread I've read several comments to the effect that, as long as such an ability remains unavailable, users with large lists on other sites will just stay at the other sites instead of migrating here, because the thought of having to manually enter thousands upon thousands of titles one at a time is understandably daunting and frustrating.

I've recently dabbled in some basic JavaScripting with Grease/Tampermonkey scripts, some of which involve the inputting and/or outputting of IMDb IDs to and from the site, so I'll try my (admittedly inexperienced) hand at coming up with a workaround for this glaring omission on an otherwise feature-filled, user-friendly site. If I have any luck, the users in this thread will be the first to know. In the meantime, though - please, oh Great Ones of IMDb, hear and answer our prayer!
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Keester

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I hope you succeed in your quest. Just be aware that if and when you manage to get your data into IMDb you may never get it out again as the feature of exporting lists is for many broken. That too has been going on for years and basically ignored by IMDb.
(Edited)
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MrE2Me

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Thanks for the reply! Sorry to hear about the export issue, I'll definitely keep a backup of my list in case of any problems.

I didn't notice this before but, unless I'm mistaken, there's no way to send private messages here. I have some very good news I want to share with everyone in this thread, but would prefer to do so privately.
  
Shortly after writing my previous post in this thread, I found the perfect solution to this dilemma. I can verify that it works, as I added about 4.5K movies to my profile in an hour or so. I really hope the others who posted in this thread read this, so I can share this huge time-saver with you all.
Therefore, if you (Keester) and anyone else who is looking for a simple and relatively quick way to import lists to IMDb would email me at MrE2Me@gmail.com, I'll get back to you ASAP. 

(Edited)
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DavidAH_Ca, Champion

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I expect one of the reasons that this is so slow in coming is due to a decision that IMDb made when creating the List system. They decided to allow multiple copies of a Title (or Person, etc) in a list. I can see where that could be handy occasionally (e.g. a list of watched films where the user wants to record each time they watch a Title), but I believe most people will normally only want a single copy of an item per list.

Because of this decision, it will be difficult to update a list, all that can be done easily is to append to it. This could also create problems in an upload, as if the system times out, and the user re-uploads they may end up with a lot of duplicates. I think the best solution would be to allow an option to restrict a list to unique items (by Constant).

A while ago,  it was suggested that IMDb could just upload the same format as the exported list, but this would be a major waste of bandwidth.

For example, an exported Title List contains the following fields:
  • Position - Position of this record in the custom sort.
  • Const - the unique key to the Title
  • Created - date the record was created - see below for discussion
  • Modified - not necessary on input - would be replaced by the time it is uploaded
  • Description - User added description
  • Title  - not stored in list - copied from Title page
  • Title type  - not stored in list - generated from Title data
  • Directors - not stored in list - copied from Title data
  • You Rated - not stored in this list, only on Rated list - copied from there
  • Imdb Rating - not stored on list - copied from Title data
  • Runtime (mins) - not stored on list - copied from Title data
  • Year - not stored on list - copied from Title data
  • Genres - not stored on list - copied from Title data
  • Num Votes - not stored on list - copied from Title data
  • Release Date (month/day/year) - not stored on list - copied from Title data
  • URL - not stored on list - can be generated from the Const
As you can see, only 4 fields have any relevance to an upload: Position, Const, Description and possibly Created. The first 3 of these fields are the only ones that the User enters. It is possible that IMDb might use the Created field to allow updates. Since currently it takes more than 1 second to add a record to a list, all Created times should be unique for that list and the system should be able to check for a match on both Const and Created and if it is found Update that record, otherwise append the record (changing Created to the current time).

The problem is that once uploads are permitted several records could be added within one second, so the Created field would not be unique. Of course they might implement a uniqueness check and pause if appending the current record will create a duplicate Const+Created combination. Or they could simply warn that the Update might not work correctly if the list contains multiple items for the same Const.

While I have only specified Title Lists above, the other types are the same in principle, with only the same few fields being required for an upload.

P.S. I too really wish that IMDb would implement some system to upload lists, it would help me a lot.
(Edited)
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Дроздов О.В.

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Hi IMDb team. 
In the kinopoisk.ru site they have a feature that makes it possible to import the ratings from the IMDb site, so it is not necessary to check and rate it all again. I was wondering: is it possible to import my history from kinopoisk to IMDb? 
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Dina Obukhova

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Recently one of the biggest russian movie base Kinopoisk was literally ruined by it's owners.
Now a lot of dissapointed users are considering  to move to IMDB.
So, there's a problem - each of us has the list of over 1 000 rated movies, we would like to import all of it information to IMDB.
The list is in Excel.
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Volkov Oleg

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Dear Imdb team!

I'd like to second the proposal of importing movie ratings from an Excel file. Although, actually, any solution which would let us transfer a lot of data at once will help, not necessarily import from Excel (for example, you can create a... let's say a 100-line input form into which we will copy-paste 2 columns with grades and movie titles, press OK and get the films graded).
The reason for this is the same as that of the previous person: the big Russian movie web site Kinopoisk we used to use was ruined by its new owners. At the moment it is temporarily back to its old design but that's not for long. So basically tens of thousands of people are left hom.. ehhm, siteless. The only thing we have is several Excel files with our movie/celebrity folders and movie rankings. Many people have a lot of movies in such lists (I have over 2100 rated movies, more than 500 actors/directors in different folders and more than 700 movies in different folders). Manual transfer will take an eternity.
Many kinopoisk ex-users are planning on moving to imdb. Please help us do it. You are our last hope.
We just really love movies and can't live without a good movie database website.:)

With best regards and greatest hopes,
Mindeveler.
(Edited)
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MrE2Me

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To Volkov Oleg & all other Kinopoisk ex-users: please send me a message on my IMDB page. I have found a way to quickly import long lists to IMDb (see my reply to Keester above). Unfortunately, this method does not import your ratings, only the titles/names, but it's still better than nothing! (I'll keep looking for a way to import ratings, too.)
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Volkov Oleg

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Ow, that would be great.
Unfortunately I can't send you a message on imdb because of this verification thing (Imdb won't accept my phone number, and I don't really want to use my credit card for that purpose). Can you please contact me via e-mail Mindeveler@gmail.com?
Thank you in advance.
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MrE2Me

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Apologies, I didn't realize it was such a process for new members. You've got mail!

@ anyone else who wants to contact me about importing lists, it's probably simplest to use my email address: MrE2Me@gmail.com 
(Edited)
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MrE2Me

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Just wanted to post a quick update to let people know that the import method I've discovered now does import users' ratings as well, so that's great news! Feel free to contact me via my email address or IMDB profile (both of which are linked to above) for more info. 
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Lorenzo

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I have my collection on Listal and (just checked) the site export includes IMDB codes.
No problem if imdb doesn't import automatically Listal exports, but some kind of csv or xml import should be implemented, please!
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Taras Bandrovsky

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Dear IMDB we are really looking for the option of moving our data to your website, the former Kinopoisk.ru users. Please help.
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Hi Дроздов О.В., Dina Obukhova, Volkov Oleg and Lorenzo,

I understand your desire and need to import your ratings into IMDb. IMDb currently has no plans to allow users to import lists and ratings.

Importing ratings for titles presents additional challenges for IMDb. A user's ratings is implemented differently than other lists on IMDb. Only one rating can occur for each user for each title. Whereas, in other title lists, titles may occur multiple times.

If IMDb were to allow a user to import a list of ratings, they would have to determine whether to reject multiple ratings for a title or to use the last rating for a title.

In addition, allowing a user to import ratings may be a means to circumvent code to reduce vote stuffing for films.

Note: I am not an IMDb staff member, but a long time user of IMDb.
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Volkov Oleg

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"Importing ratings for titles presents additional challenges for IMDb. A user's ratings is implemented differently than other lists on IMDb. Only one rating can occur for each user for each title. Whereas, in other title lists, titles may occur multiple times."

Have I got it right that you only mean "1 grade per movie"?  I.e. a can give 1 grade to "The Shawshank Redemption", 1 grade to "The Green Mile" etc.
Then it's not a challenge at all. Each movie exists only once in each of the lists we have. I actually think most, if not all, websites only allow users to have 1 grade per ... something which this website is about (a movie, a song, a book etc.).

As for the abuse-of-this-feature possible issue, I don't actually see how it may work. People don't generally fake votes for multiple movies. If someone (for example a director of a new movie) wants to do this, he doesn't really need to give high grades to anything except his own movie. The rule "1 grade per movie" remains intact, and I don't see why someone would try to fake grades for many movies.
OK, well, they may think "I will hide one-two real grades among the others", but this will only make such activities easier to detect (if many people import similar lists, it is suspicious, while creating individual list for each fake profile is going to be quite difficult and time-consuming).
So...I'm not really good at programming but I don't think the import feature would pose any challenges or create any risks...
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MrE2Me

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To all those wishing to import Kinopoisk lists to IMDb, I just stumbled across this program on GitHub, which was designed specifically for that purpose. I have not tried it myself (nor can I read the page without the use of a translator), but I thought I'd point it out in case it works. Good luck!
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evanstucker

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I've been a member of IMDb for 14 years. In all this time, they still don't let you import? Four years ago, the official response was "sorry". When will this be a feature? I would love to import my list of movies and start actively using this site... how many more years do I have to wait?
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Zlatko Stojkovski

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Same here. Waiting for IMDB to respond.
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BTO

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Have you tried this from the post above?
MrE2Me
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Apologies, I didn't realize it was such a process for new members. You've got mail!

@ anyone else who wants to contact me about importing lists, it's probably simplest to use my email address: MrE2Me@gmail.com
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Zlatko Stojkovski

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The thing is that I want to import ratings from other site, Letterboxd, not Kinopoisk. Another problem is that Letterboxd uses 5 stars rating system.
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evanstucker

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I want to import a CSV or spreadsheet. I don't want to have to contact random individuals on the internet to import things. I just want an "import" button. This is not a hard feature to create. Add a button, accept CSV, TSV, and other simple formats (there are libraries for this in every programming language), run a for loop on the list, search for the title, if it finds multiple titles, either pick the most popular one, or present a dialog to the user to have them select the correct one, the end. That's all you have to do. It's trivial. It's common on all other websites that contain user generated content, and it's ridiculous that a site as large as IMDb doesn't have this functionality yet.
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BTO

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Seems logical. 
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Keester

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IMDbs attitude to this seems pretty obvious:

Exporting is OK.....We're glad to have helped you leave.

Importing not allowed......We don't want any new members.
(Edited)