Sunday, October 15, 2006

FileBrowse and my attic cognitive map and catalog system

I may have a use for FileBrowse. I catalog our attic using a combination of filesystem metadata, full text search, using the OS X folder layout as a map to domains, and storing images of boxes, bins and bin contents in folders. The result gives us cross-platform support, very rapid data entry, and anb inexpensive combination of spatial indexing (move folder icons about in folder view) with text search and low cost inventory capture. I think of it as somewhat similar to the way my memory would do this -- if I only had a memory.

The strengths are match to human cognition and speed of data acquisition and entry. The disadvantages are storage (far more disk use than a traditional database, but, OTOH, much less than a few hours of family photos or a minute of video) and image browsing -- I have to open folders to see images. Ideally I'd like a flattened view that would show images and image data.

I might try using a saved spotlight search to do something similar but I'll also test Filebrowse. (I could dump all the images in iPhoto, but it's awkward and I have to redo every time I add an image to folder.)

Update 10/15/06: FileBrowse can't view all files contained in subfolders, so it didn't work. A Spotlight smart folder showed all images very well (flattened the hierarchy), but I can't get the icons beyond 128x128, so they're not quite big enough. Preview will ALMOST browse a smart folder -- but not quite. Maybe in 10.5. Smart Folders in 10.4 seem to be only accessible by the Finder.

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