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Rik
05-09-2007, 07:16 AM
Hi, i'm looking for some software (windows) to catalogue my photo collection. I don't mean digital photo's but printed photos.
Anybody with recommendations / experiences in this kind of software?
if possible, i would also like to use the software to catalogue my photo books.

thanks for the help

Rik
the Netherlands

akikana
05-09-2007, 07:44 AM
Rik,

Sorry but I can't help you on the first one but for the second you may like to have a look at BookCAT at http://fnprg.com/

There's a Lenswork podcast on it http://www.lenswork.com/podcast/LW0297%20-%20The%20Value%20of%20Your%20Photographic%20Librar y.mp3

All the best
Guy

gr82bart
05-09-2007, 08:08 AM
Microsoft Access? Excel? Dunno. Good question though. I'd like to see what others come up with. There's a huge percentage of APUGers who are techno-geeks who may have a much better solution.

Regards, Art.

Rik
05-09-2007, 08:20 AM
Art,
yes Access or Excel i could do myself, but i would like something more sophisticated (and i'm to lazy..), ideally also with an export function to my Ipod...

gr82bart
05-09-2007, 08:23 AM
Rik,

This really is a good question. I wonder what a 'URS' would like for this product? Hmmm ... thinking.

You know, you probably have to tie it to some sort of labeling/numbering system too. Lots to think about here.

Regards, Art.

Rik
05-09-2007, 08:28 AM
Art,
what's an URS?

RH Designs
05-09-2007, 08:40 AM
Hi, i'm looking for some software (windows) to catalogue my photo collection. I don't mean digital photo's but printed photos.
Anybody with recommendations / experiences in this kind of software?
if possible, i would also like to use the software to catalogue my photo books.

thanks for the help

Rik
the Netherlands

I got Fotostation bundled with my Nikon scanner a few years ago and still use it. Recommended. https://www.fotoware.com/ It's image-based so you'll need to scan your images but that's really the only sensible way to catalogue them anyway. IMHO of course :) All my negs and slides are catalogued on it.

Not sure how it would handle books, although there is plenty of space with each image in which to store various details, categories, etc etc.

HTH

gr82bart
05-09-2007, 09:03 AM
what's an URS?User Requirements Specification. Sorry about the lingo, I should have spelled that out. It's a document outlining what features and functions we (as end users of the software) would want from the software.

Regards, Art.

DKT
05-09-2007, 11:57 AM
I had a longer answer--I'll try to make it more relevant & trim it down...there are some programs available for this that are in use in museums & archives. most are licensed, or have been developed in-house based on other legacy type programs. The museum I work for is within a system of other similar institutions. Years ago, more than 100, they had very simple systems that were more or less like a card catalog. As they got into keypunch machines and computers, the databases became more complex. The Federal gov't has a standardized code called MARC. In the system I work in--the archives had one called MARS. The museum had one called CUMAS. These latter two were eventually folded into computerized software that eventually became available more widely. The latter was ReDiscovery for the museum. Past Perfect is another one.

Basically you need a set of numbers that your items or images are filed under to begin with. Different places use different schemes for this--I had earlier described some of ours, but I realized how confusing my post had become & how irrelevant....so....you need a way to sequentially identify through numbers or letters or a combination--your collection. If it's prints and negatives and other textual items--then you probably need some different sets of numbers to tell them apart.

You need set locations for storage as well, and a way to be able to keep track of the stuff once it's filed and put in place physically. A database is no good, if you can't find the objects when you go to pull them. If you loan stuff out, or have to move it around a lot, then you probably need to think of some sort of trackig feature as well. Like an inventory more or less.

Our collection database used keyword searches or numerical searches. Our numbering is a legacy thing, running back many years so it's really complicated to get into the specifics there--but if you start fresh--keep it simple, but remember that you need to be able to grow, and not get locked into a program that limits the length of the file. We used 8 character max until 2000, and had to redo the program for the millenium thing for example. Our negative files still don't use four spaces for the year, we're two only. but on the computer, we have to add a 20, or a 19 to find anything.

You also need a controlled vocabularly to write captions for your word searches in the metadata. ReDiscovery excludes a huge list of words from searches actually--you have to phrase things just right to use this function, so the data entry is pretty time consuming and probably the least interesting part of the whole deal. It's the most important though, because if something is misspelled, you'll waste a lot of time trying to correct it or even find it.

one of the agencies in our dept uses a database built on Access. That program works very welll for them, and we have thought about doing a database internally for the photo dept based on that. The biggest challenge for us is that we have a large collection, stored in multiple locations using probably close to a dozen different file systems. You can;t go back & change the numbers wholesale if they've been in use for a long period of time--it gets too confusing. So--whatever system you come up with--think long & hard about it, before it gets set in stone...

my opinions only/not my employers

AllenR
05-09-2007, 08:31 PM
Rik,

DKT's evaluation of the situation hits the nail right on the head, especially when it comes to complexity, numbering schemes and controlled vocabulary. Having spent most of my working career developing and managing large database systems, I can vouch for the challenges involved in developing systems that permit a high degree of flexibility and interaction with other systems. The complexity can grow by orders of magnitude as more features are added.

To address your specific question, I don't know of any commercially available, moderately priced, database systems that are targeted at cataloging and managing a physical collection of prints. I looked at a lot of systems and ended up developing my own. It specifically address the issues revolving around managing my own work, but is far from being any sort of a universal system. Individual needs can vary significantly, and if you want something that will address your specific needs you are probably going to have to create it yourself.

Rik
05-10-2007, 04:23 AM
Thanks for the input sofar. I was hoping there would be some low priced commercially available alternative.
At the moment my collection is not so large, say 50 prints and probably 150 books and then there are negatives of my own work and other related items such as printed matter and camera's and lenses. but it will grow i'm afraid..:)
I want to be able to have a structured overview of this. Maybe the best thing to do is to start something myself in Access and see of that works for me. I understand the decisions that need to be made before starting this, and will think about those.

If someone has experience with commercially available software, please chime in..

Rik

juan
05-10-2007, 06:49 AM
I use the program I use to create web pages, Citydesk (http://www.fogcreek.com/CityDesk/) . I basically create a website on my hard drive. I put a large scan of each negative on a page, and put the BTZS data from my Palm in a sidebar. I create index pages by year, negative size, and a few by topic, such as "Driftwood."

The software allows me to sort by keyword, so I can have each image show up in whichever indexes I want. I also put thumbnails on the index pages so I can quickly scan through my images.

To find the negatives, I simply number them sequentially by year and put them in a file drawer.
juan

Sparky
05-10-2007, 07:00 AM
I've done some pretty extensive research into this actually - and I find that the software best at cataloguing/tracking digital assets (photos) are probably the best for your hardcopies too! I've tried extensis, canto and other products. One of the most intriguing I've found, I have to say, is also the cheapest - iPhoto (bundled with mac systems). You can search by many variables. It's suprising how flexible it is. AND you can store tons of information about photos (exposure, printing, etc) on different levels (within iphoto - or by system level, searchable outside of iphoto...

if you're interested - let me know... I'll fill you in on it.

DKT
05-10-2007, 08:01 AM
this program I described using Access--they were able to customize a spreadsheet layout that let them enter the accession and/or receipt numbers of items, the physical location, and the descriptions, plus images. but they already had a collection in place, using this information.

the numbering--you can find a lot of information about the conventions for this if you look at archival management sites, or go to the library. there are style books on vocabulary, books on MARC etc. websites too.

we started to use Adobe Bridge at work, for our scans of our analog files. Using the accession numbers as the file name--we place a condensed description of the item first, then the number. For multiple views, we use a lower case letter, starting with "a". The ReDiscovery program works that way, so we can generate thumbnails and use the images in the database. In the File Info part of the IPTC metadata--we enter all the source info and usually write captions based on the curatorial info from ReDiscovery. You can also input any usage restrictions as well.

when we need to find something--what we need is a number. Not a thumbnail, or a print--but a number. A description means nothing. Everything is filed in enclosures in cabinets, sequentially by number. A picture of a gun might be next to one of a coin and so on.

There are multiple sets of numbers within the same files, meaning different things. Some are the *exact same* number, only with a different prefix, adding to more confusion, unless you know the numbering convention.

To access this--you have to look on the database--ReDiscovery--find the number and then go to the file. It's the same with trying to find the physical object as well. Same there--without a number, you won't find it, unless you just want to start digging out of curiosity.

ReDiscovery is flawed as an all purpose database, because it was set up to handle the written files. The images are low res thumbnails, less than 15K, and often are poor quality snapshots. Yet--that is the database used by the general public online as well as internally. The internal version has more fields--covering conservation, management, curatorial etc. The one online is very simple actually. The problem comes in educating people that what they see there as a picture is not what is in the actual Photo Dept. records. It's the gateway to those records, because it gets you the numbers.


The archive has one collection--newspaper negatives, 70 yrs worth--that can only be accessed by date. If you don't know the date *of publication*--you have to look at reels of microfilm copies of the newspaper to find it. Inside the file for that image, there may be more than one negative, there may be more than one roll even. But you won't know what those alternate shots are, because the only way they're filed is by date of the image used in the paper on that one day. This is an inherited system from the company that donated the images, but it's an example of something that worked for what they needed, but now, is rather time consuming in use.

The rest of their collection is filed with standardized numbers--some are like PC for photo collection, N for negative and so on. Similar to our accession numbers. Year first, period, number of collection within that year, period, number within that collection. For example N2006.100.1. For the databases, you generally use an underscore for the periods. N2006_100_1.

It's confusing--but there's a wealth of free information out there if you look. almost all these archives are gov't--they have their collections info online as public documents. If you want to learn more, just check out their websites, or go visit.

good luck

my opinions only, even at home.

Ian Grant
05-10-2007, 08:04 AM
I had something very sophisticated written in Access. It began as a shareware program, but was then given free by the author, it was written in the first version of Access, I updated it a couple of times to newer versions but now it needs rebuilding.

Ian



Art,
yes Access or Excel i could do myself, but i would like something more sophisticated (and i'm to lazy..), ideally also with an export function to my Ipod...

Rik
05-10-2007, 08:38 AM
Hi Ian,
that Access database you had, is that still available? It's allways easier to have a start than to start from scratch...

Rik

Krockmitaine
05-10-2007, 08:45 AM
Hi, i'm looking for some software (windows) to catalogue my photo collection. I don't mean digital photo's but printed photos.
Anybody with recommendations / experiences in this kind of software?
if possible, i would also like to use the software to catalogue my photo books.

thanks for the help

Rik
the Netherlands

May I suggest Jigsaw (http://www.w3.org/Jigsaw/)? It's a project from the W3C. Jigsaw is a java server for images. It uses Dublin Core for classification. DC is flexible and extensible so you can index your catalog to your heart's content.

On the plus side, it's free, platform independent and developped by the World Wide Web Consortium.
Down side, well, it's a W3C project! The documentation can be a daunting task to understand.

Marc

DKT
05-10-2007, 08:46 AM
prints and probably 150 books and then there are negatives of my own work and other related items such as printed matter and camera's and lenses. Rik

one way to do this would be to treat the books, cameras, lenses etc as all one type of item. treat them as objects. treat the negatives as a separate item--give them an N number for example. the prints would keep the same number as the the negative file number. This is what we do for our prints, same with the archives for prints generated off negatives or slides etc. For roll film--you can add the frame number to the file name. we use a prefix for the type of record as well, for roll film. For example here's a number for a picture of a conservation shot: C (conservation)--C2007_0509_1(13A). That's today's date, the first roll in that group, and the frame number.

The objects--you would start your accession numbers with the year they were acquired. the next number is sequential as the collections fall within the year, then the next number is the number of items within that collection. So let's say you get a new camera, and it's the first one you get this year. It's 2007_1_1. The lens that's on it, get's a number as well. 2007_1_2. The hood gets a number. 2007_1_3 and so on. Let's say you get a flash next, only it's acquired later. It becomes 2007_2_1.

You can group items pertaining to something within the file this way--or let's say you're given a whole closet of camera gear. It would take the same number in the first two fields, except the last set of digits would change. 2007_3_1-150 for example, and you'd break each out 1,2, thru 150 for example.

A receipt is something that has just been acquired and is in a holding pattern--maybe you'll keep it, maybe you borrowed it, or maybe you decide to give it back. These numbers just start at 1 and go up. If they become part of your formal collection--they get an accession number. In your database, or log book or whatever--you have a field for this change in numbering. This is very important in terms of photos--if you have something that you have copied this way, and the *copy* remains in your files, with the original being returned--it will always be this receipt number.

so--if this makes sense?--start with your negatives. try to set up the system for them, identify the prints made from them and use that numbering scheme. it's like building a pyramid (or a house of cards...) start small--lay the foundation.

that's collection management 101 from a museum photographer--not a registrar....

Rik
05-10-2007, 08:52 AM
DKT
thanks for your elaborate posts ! i will have to print them and carefully read them again, but i do start to understand the complexity and need to do 'pre-work' thinking. As stated, once you started with a system, its hard (impossibe?) to change it again.
thanks again for your valuable input!

Rik

waynecrider
05-10-2007, 09:17 AM
Hey Rik, I am always working in files and folders on my Mac machine which presents a pretty straight forward if not filing cabinet type of access. Folders can obviously be labeled anything from year to subject matter to whatever. Keyword searches thru the O.S. present the fastest way of finding a particular picture, book or whatever. All files can be viewed at once or based on any criteria and in the Mac system thumbnails can be attached. Just a kind of down and dirty way to go....Juans suggestion of creating a website on your harddrive is another excellent way to go since you use the metadata to search by. Many word processing programs also automatically create web pages which can be stored in a file and accessed thru your browser.