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Photo Database Options

I have a stack of CDs full of photos. I need to store all of them on an external hard drive with detailed information about each photo. The information I need to keep track of for each photo is as follows:

Photographer
Date
Event
Location
Keywords

I need to be able to search the database using that criteria as well.

In addition, I would like to be able to maintain a web version of the database that is searchable by all those details, but only features smaller thumbnails of the photos.

Is something like this possible? What kind of options do I have?
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jfredrickson
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jfredrickson
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Typically, the best thing to do is store the PATH to the image in the database, then fill in the blanks for the other fields, photographer, date, event, location, keywords (and for administrative purposes, I STRONGLY recommend adding PhotoID, DateEntered, LastUpdate, EnteredBy, UpdateBy - which in turn requires a user list).

As for options, Access, MSDE/SQL Express, MySQL, SQL Server, and others can all be integrated into an ASP or PHP or other web programming language page.  But of course, you need to develop it.
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jfredricksonAuthor Commented:
Sorry, I forgot to mention that I need to be able to view previews of the image along with the cataloging information.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
So?  You store the image path and then reference the image in whatever app you use to store the data.

Note: with the exception of Access, all the database technologies I mentioned are really back-end only.  You need some kind of front end to store the data.
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jfredricksonAuthor Commented:
Sorry, I am not really a database pro. How is it possible to store all this information so that I can search it with photo thumbnails? What do you mean I need some kind of front end to store the data?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
What I mean by backend/frontend is that a frontend is the interface that YOU use to enter the data.  IT could be a custom written program, a web page, or something else.  A backend is the database where the information is saved.

Access can do what you want.  I don't like it - I don't consider it reliable.  But it can do what you want.  But if you want to do this on the cheap, use access and the access wizards to create this.  If this is important, and you want it done correctly and reliably, hire a database programmer/consultant (one who does NOT work with access) and have them build the front end and back end for you.  A GOOD database that is accessible via the web is not going to be something you'll be able to do without having SOME reasonable knowledge of web programming and SQL database languages.

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jfredricksonAuthor Commented:
Hmm... So I need a database manager like Access to do this? Unfortunately I am on a Mac and there is no Mac version of Access. Do you know if there are any good Mac alternatives that can achieve these same goals?
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jfredricksonAuthor Commented:
Is there really no simple program (for Mac) out there to handle the importing, cataloging, and searching of a large photo library?
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garycaseCommented:
Hi jfredrickson,

There are many programs designed to manage collections of photographs; however, I am only familiar with PC-oriented ones.   You CAN, as leew suggested, store the details in a database, and then you would have virtually unlimited search capabilities -- IF you had all of the detailed data for every photo entered in the database.   But remember that it DOES take time to get all of the details in the database.   ... and if I'm reading your question correctly you're looking for a solution that doesn't cost thousands and require extensive database programming.

To answer your last question:  "Is there really no simple program (for Mac) out there to handle the importing, cataloging, and searching of a large photo library?" =>  I'm sure there is.   In the PC arena there are many options -- just do a Google of "photo cataloging" and you'll find several options.   This one looks nice, for example:  http://www.cywarp.com/digitalphotosoftware.htm
I am sure there are equally good options for Macs -- I'm simply not as familiar with them.  This article is a bit dated, but should be a good starting place -- and most of the programs discussed are still available in updated versions:  http://graphicssoft.about.com/cs/imagemanagement/tp/photocatalog.htm
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jfredricksonAuthor Commented:
Thanks Gary. I was just getting more and more confused, but now I think I understand. I do some more research to see what I can find.
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