Sunday, June 13, 2004

Software to manage personal imaging project - advice needed

Posted on usenet and in a few others places ... Looking for input ...

I might try askSlashdot too ...
I'm looking at doing a largeish (3000+ image) scanning project [2]. For various reasons I'm probably going to hire a student to do the scans and buy a Nikon V ED negative scanner (hard to find btw, most vendors are sold out).

The image acquisition part is relatively straightforward. I'll be keeping the negatives of course. I'll image at about 2000 dpi and store as 99% JPEG. [1]

My main questions are about image mananagement. I've looked at a few reviews of lower end software (iView MediaPro, Microsoft Imaging Suite, Adobe PhotoAlbum, Picasa, ACDSee, etc), and I can't tell if anything does what I want. I've used iPhoto extensively on my OS X machine, but this project will probably be PC based. Here's my short list:

1. I want all the metadata to be accessible, ideally stored using a commercial database structure. So I can directly manipulate image identifiers, image paths, image titles, descriptions, roll information, catalog/album names, etc. I'd be happy with an Access database, a FileMaker database, or an open source database.

2. I'd like very good support of embedded EXIF tags. So the album software should be able to write data to EXIF tabs within the JPEG headers -- such as image title, description, data of acquisition, etc. This data will mirror what's in the image management database.

3. I want the album software to manage unique identifiers, ideally also within the EXIF header. I want to be able to go from any image to its metadata. The album software also needs to manage filename collision. I'd be just as happy for the album software to name every file with a unique identifier and blow away the original file names.

4. I'd like to be able to set a prefix or suffix applied to images in addition to the album maintained image unique identifier.

5. The solution needs to scale to tens of thousands of images and to manage image migration to external media catalogs.

6. I'd like to be able to define a subset of the catalog and burn it to a CD along with a local catalog.

7. I'd like to be able to edit images in an external editor (Photoshop, etc), and have the image software handle versioning (retaining the original).

8. Indexing, searching, keywords, etc are nice, but not the main thrust of this project.

I think these requirements are more typical of high end professional solutions. I hope to cobble something together from a few packages. I wonder too about some of the less familiar open source image management solutions, including some that are web based. I'd guess they'd be more likely to meet my needs.

I don't care as much about integrated image management tools.

Any thoughts from experienced users -- esp. Pros?



meta: jfaughnan, jgfaughnan, image management, photoalbum, database, photo album, metadata, scanning, imaging, home, personal

[1] In 10 years I may do this again with 2014 technology. Then it will be lossless. I am also consider JPEG 2000 for the better color management.

[2] I have thousands of unfiled family photos. I plan to image the negatives and then manage digitally. I'll discard the prints and keep the negatives. After imaging everything, I expect to delete at least half the images over time.

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