Cataloging them Photographs
February 4, 2006 7:00 AM   Subscribe

Photographfilter: Due to my current work as a graduate student and forays into archives, as well as my girlfriend who works at a museum with a massive photo collection, I want to catalog my personal photographs.

In the process, I'd also like to use a program (preferred free) that will allow me to create a searchable database by subject. My current photograph collection is rather small, so I figure I can start now with little problem and add on with less problem later. Question is, has anyone else ever done this? Any programs to suggest? Or techniques?
posted by Atreides to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
posted by Gator at 7:03 AM on February 4, 2006

Are these digital photos? If so, I would suggest Picasa, which has several ways of categorizing stuff (hierarchically, with assigned keywords, or free-text captions). If they aren't, I'd suggest scanning them and then using Picasa.
posted by grouse at 7:04 AM on February 4, 2006

Any photo software that allows for tagging seems as if it'll work for you. I know Adobe's Photoshop Album 2.0 allows you to add multiple custom tags to images, and then perform searches and browsings based on tag criteria (contains "restuarant" and "luke") as well as searching by caption. It's pretty affordable, and they have a free version that's slightly less feature-adept.

Google, of course, offers Picasa, which also offers tagging and a host of other neat features. Being Google, you know it's free.

Flickr is the quintessential online offering, allowing you to build "sets" (basically albums), and offering the easiest way to throw your pics online and share them with whomever. They cap your bandwidth for the free accounts, and charge a small fee for anything over that, so it might not be practical for you. Plus, you'd have to upload everything—the other programs I mentioned grab everything from anywhere you tell it.

You do say "photograph," so I wonder if you're, for some reason, talking about physical photos instead. I'm not sure what sort of indexing system one might use that could easily correlate with a real-world album (that isn't something you'd have to build in Access or through a web-db) but that could be a neat little project... Maybe an inventory control system?

Anyway, good luck!
posted by disillusioned at 7:08 AM on February 4, 2006

I've created a couple of photo archives for a client, with roughly 3000 images each, using Extensis Portfolio. Found it easy enough to use after a few minor initial confusions.
posted by zadcat at 7:43 AM on February 4, 2006

For something a little more robust (and not free) you should check out Photo Mechanic. PM will allow you to edit the IPTC info of your files by keywords, date, place, etc. You can also apply crops and tags to images as you import the files into dated or named folders. If you intend to keep shooting and archiving your work spend the money on PM.
posted by photoslob at 7:51 AM on February 4, 2006

Response by poster: My apologies for not specifying the media, in my post, I meant non-digital, hard copy, photographs. Though, I due have a large number of digital pictures, which I certainly may use Picasa to organize (right now its rather haphazard).

As for inventory system, I was visualizing creating some form of filing system. Each picture gets its own unique number, but additionally, I enter in a few keywords so I can at any time search up pictures with specific content. For example, if I want pictures I've taken of Monticello, I can search Monticello, and it'll give me the numbers and descriptions of pictures I have from visits in 1999 and 2002 (just examples).

However, thank you for the answers so far, I do appreciate it.
posted by Atreides at 1:21 PM on February 4, 2006

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