What image database software do I want?
July 16, 2008 11:25 AM   Subscribe

What software should I use to manage a small charity's image collection?

The small charity I volunteer for has a collection of images (10,000+) that are pretty much just sitting on a hard drive. These are mostly photos contributed by volunteers and members and it would be good if we could put them to use. So I want to start organising them, keep track of (and search the images by) contributors, the terms under which we can use them, keywords/tags, etc.

This seems to fall under digital asset management and there's plenty of enterprise level solutions out there for this. But we're not all that enterprising and they're complete overkill for our needs. Our total computing resources are two recent-ish desktop computers running Windows XP, linked together as a home network. On the other hand, personal image management programs like Picasa seem a little under-powered. I know you can tag photos in Picasa, but the process seems kind of clunky and since I'll be adding keywords to about 10,000 pictures, clunky does not appeal.

Free is better than cheap, although cheap may be an option; expensive's right out. A simple interface that non-technical people can use to add photos or search for them would be nice. And I'll be happier if I can avoid having to install any other software. (For example, although it's intended as a web application Coppermine does much of what I want. However, I'd have to install a web server, PHP, MySQL and ImageMagick which is slightly more work than I want to do. Especially the MySQL bit.)

I've looked at these previous threads, but the requirements are rather different.

Anyway, I'm totally open to advice and suggestions, whether it's how to use Picasa to do this stuff, or that Coppermine is worth the hassle, or the software you use for managing your images.
posted by xchmp to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well I would say "Coppermine is worth the hassle".
If it's too technical for you find some nigh school kid and u can pay him 40-50 bucks to do it. It's that simple.
posted by WizKid at 11:34 AM on July 16, 2008

Windows Live Photo Gallery is free, as is Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition. I use Photoshop Elements, which has similar organization engine as Photoshop Album. The nice thing is that you can drag and drop groups of images onto tags and tags onto groups of images. This makes tagging lots of images quick and easy. Pictomio is a nice-looking app, but I haven't used it and the screenshots make it tough to tell how well tagging works.
posted by cnc at 11:40 AM on July 16, 2008

I knew there had to be a "one-click" install; I found XAMPP:
XAMPP only requires one zip, tar or exe file to be downloaded and run, and little or no configuration of the various components that make up the web server is required.

Installing XAMPP takes less time than installing every installation contained in the package as a separate install.
(which also may run portably without installation) and WAMP Server. Both applications are free (as in freedom, and as in price).

I've never installed or even ran any sort of *AMP installation, but those pages make it sound easy enough.
posted by philomathoholic at 12:11 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

I would just say Flickr. Less than $30 a year, you can have as many images as you want, you can tag the images, you can set copyright, you can divide them into sets. If you don't want anyone else to see them while randomly surfing, you can set them all to private or "friends only."

You can tag more than one photo at once too.

And, if you need to do simple things like crop or rotate, Flickr is paired with Picnik now and allows you to do that.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:16 PM on July 16, 2008

Thanks everyone. XAMPP does make the process of getting Apache/MySQL/PHP up and running really easy, so I've been playing around with Coppermine. I looked at the standalone programs too, and Adobe Photoshop Album looked like the best of these, but I think I prefer the way Coppermine handles keywords and searches, so that's probably what I'll be using.
posted by xchmp at 4:31 PM on July 17, 2008

Finding the right DAM software takes a time. If you have multiple users who you want to have simultaneous access to the same catalog of images, typically most solutions require a server connection. That would quickly put it out of your price range. I'd recommend checking into single-user solutions, and while you wouldn't be able to access the catalog simultaneously, it would give you the most metadata manipulation and search functionality that is available in more powerful asset managers.
posted by jkidwell at 12:57 PM on October 20, 2008

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