Organizing and cataloging photos

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Tom

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I'm sure most folks have more photos than they know what to do with, both film and digital. I'm not going to discuss the film issue right now, but I do have a question about digital photos. Let me start by describing what I have and maybe my dilema will become obvious.

I have photos stored in/on all of the following:

  • 3.5" floppies from an earlier camera that wrote directly to floppies.
  • Pocket CDs - small CDs that store photos directly from a CD writer in one of my cameras.
  • Regular CDs, which contain photos from various sources, including the above.
  • My internal hard drive, typically current or recent photos, but still a lot of them. For the most part, they're organized in named directories/folders and sub-directories, although the vast majority still have the numeric file names assigned by the respective camera; A number have been renamed..
  • External hard drive (250Gb), which includes directories/sub-directories, backup copies of directories/sub-directories from my internal hard drive, and backups of entire drives of other notebooks and desktops.
  • Reduced-resolution copies of higher resolution photos, used for emailing and web applications.
  • Scanned film photos which might be stored in any of the above.

Inevitably, there is considerable duplication of photos among the various media. How in the heck do I create a single catalog to capture the file/photo names, the event, and where they're stored? Ideally this would include thumbnails of the respective photos.

I'm seriously thinking about getting another large external hard drive just for all my photos, but I'll still have the catalog and duplication issue. I'll also have the issue of backing up the stuff; Many of these photos are irreplaceable.

TIA.
 

Ned

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First, I would try to consolidate all the images in one place. ?Your external hard drive is probably large enough to handle it. ?Then I would use something like Thumbs+ or Picasa (from Google, free) to do the indexing. ?Lorna likes Thumbs+ (it was free for CIS sysops) but if I didn't have any indexing program, I'd probably use Picasa. ?Adobe has an indexing program too, but I didn't like it as well. ?It's worth a look though.

The big advantage of an indexing program is you can assign key words to the photos so you can index them logically regardless of where the images physically reside.

Of course, once you get organized, back it all up at least twice :)
 

Tom

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Ned said:
First, I would try to consolidate all the images in one place.

That's the pill I haven't yet swallowed and I guess there's no shortcut. I really should do that before I resume my project to get all those boxes of film photos scanned. The more I think about this, the more I'm thinking of getting an additional external HD just for photos.

The big advantage of an indexing program is you can assign key words to the photos so you can index them logically regardless of where the images physically reside.

That's really the feature that I'm looking for.

I know Steve is/was a big fan of ThumbsPlus, but I rarely used it. I have PS Elements on this machine and, every time I load a CD containing photos or plug in my camera, it automatically opens up and creates thumbnails. But, of course, it doesn't "know" what is in the various locations unless/until I Specifically navigate to those directories. So I usually shut it down and proceed to do whatever else I was doing.

CompuPicPro has been my primary photo manipulation tool, simply because of ease of use, but it doesn't have all the features of PSE. I've tended to use it (CPP) by opening the directory where I know/think a photo resides, but all too often I end up searching numerous directories and CDs. Presumably, I could consolidate the manipulation and the indexing in a single program with PSE or PS. Haven't yet looked at Picasa.
 

BernieD

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Tom

Marlene has been scanning a lot of her family photo albums into the computer. She uses Picasa2 to organize. There is also a program called Bulk Rename Utility. The name says it all  :) Could be useful for all those digital picture files. The writer is a Brit but I am sure you won't hold it against him, it'll be easier for you to understand his presentation  ;D ;D http://www.bulkrenameutility.co.uk/Main_Intro.php
 

Tom

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Thanks Bernie. Sounds like another vote for Picsasa. Presumably Picasa2 is just the latest rev (?) Thanks also for the link to the bulk renaming software. I have their web site open in another window, but haven't yet digested it all. Looks like a useful tool, although I detect it could be dangerous to your file names.

I previously (at different times) had a couple of projects going:

  • Genealogy software running with photos, where available, linked.
  • A directory tree of selected photos of family members.

The kids really appreciated the latter because they got to 'see' ancestors they never knew. My Dad was an avid photographer and a bit of a historian.  I rescued a box of old photos from his attic some years ago when he passed away. Some of the photos are very old and, in some cases, there's nobody still alive in the family who can identify the people. I can recognize family features from both my mother's and father's side, but that's as far as it goes. So I have a separate "unkown" folder.
 

BernieD

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Marlene works with Picasa2 (just the name of the program when Google put it out, can't say whether v2 or not) extensively. She has really gotten into the genealogy kick and is in constant communication around the world with people researching the same trees. There is one branch that has a couple of hundred researchers going.  As I said, she has scanned her parent's and sister's photo albums into the computer and sends copies to the other people for identification. She is still working on files, attachments, movement skills but hasn't used the Bulk Name Utility yet. BNU looks pretty detailed but eventually we may be able to start using it effectively.
 

Tom

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Based on Bernie's comments, I went ahead and downloaded Picasa. As I write, it's busy catalogging all the photos on my internal and external HDs. I really like the way it shows the backup/duplicate folders of the same same photos under each other, irrespective which drive they're on. This makes it really easy to see which are backed and which aren't. A few things (probably a few of many) that I haven't yet figured out:

  • What happens if/when I add subsequently photos to an existing catalogged folder? Does Picasa have some way of knowing which folders have been changed without having to search all my drives again?
  • If I pop a CD of photos in, presumably there's a way to tell Picasa to add the contents to the catalog. Does it ssomehow identify the CD  by number or some such so that, if I want to view one of the photos later, I know which CD to insert in the drive?
  • Part way through this initial scan I clicked on Options and realized the default was to skip .gif and .png files. I've now checked them, but I assume Picasa doesn't go back to the prior folders and look for thise file formats.
  • Briefly scanning the images catalogged so far I see that Picasa has included any kind of icon also, although I wouldn't normally include them a photo catalog. Presumably that's because the file format was one of the default/checked ones.

So far I like what I see and it's fast. One thing that made me nervous during the install was a Picasa file named pay69.xxx wanting to connect to the outside world; Although NAV was telling me to go ahead and allow it, I really had no way of knowing what it was or what it did. If I disallowed it, the installation aborted.
 

Ned

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If Picasa works like Thumbs+ it will detect any changes in the folders and update the index automatically.  I don't know how it handles CDs, but I would try the help file :)
 

Tom

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LOL Ned, you expect me to read the help file  ;D
 

BernieD

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Tom said:
  • What happens if/when I add subsequently photos to an existing catalogged folder? Does Picasa have some way of knowing which folders have been changed without having to search all my drives again?


  • Whenever you open Picasa2 it searches for new/changed files and catalogues them. There is an option for that I believe.

    [*]If I pop a CD of photos in, presumably there's a way to tell Picasa to add the contents to the catalog. Does it ssomehow identify the CD  by number or some such so that, if I want to view one of the photos later, I know which CD to insert in the drive?

    See answer to Question 1

    [*]Part way through this initial scan I clicked on Options and realized the default was to skip .gif and .png files. I've now checked them, but I assume Picasa doesn't go back to the prior folders and look for thise file formats.

    See answer to Question 1
    :)

    "See Answer to Question 1" refers to Options.



    Enjoy
 

Tom

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OK thanks Bernie. I don't appear to have the same options choices.
 

Tom

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"Look" is the operative word Bernie  :)  The "Watch for changes" is under the folder manager. Looks like you can set that individually for each folder.
 
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