[Techtalk] Software recommendation: photo database

Rudy L. Zijlstra rudy at edsons.demon.nl
Sun Dec 28 16:13:27 EST 2003

Mary wrote:

>Hey everyone,
>I'm looking for a data format and software recommendation.
>My family has become interested in family history and wants to catalog
>electronic copies of their photos, and I'm looking for software that
>will help them do this. Anyone got any recommendations?
>Essential requirements:
>    1. Data format is open and readily easy to understand (a sane XML
>    DTD would be good, CSV OK -- basically as long as the data format
>    would be fairly easy to interpret without the original software
>    that's OK).
>    It needs to be able to store the filename of the image (and maybe
>    pointers to thumbnails?), names of the people in the photo, the
>    location of the photo, the name of the photographer, and the date of
>    the photo.
>    If there is a standard archival data format that's not incredibly
>    complex, I'd like to use that.
>Highly desirable attributes
>    1. Data format can be manipulated by a free (ideally free as in
>    libré, free as in beer OK) MS Windows GUI.
>    2. Data format can be queried by a free MS Windows GUI (eg, show me
>    all photos featuring Peter Smith in 1960)
>Desirable attributes:
>    1. Data format can be manipulated and queried by free GUIs for other
>    platforms (X, MacOS etc)
>I'm willing to write GUIs if I have to, but I'd really rather not have
>to. However I'd prefer a really good (and standardised) data format with
>no free GUIs to a bad or closed one with GUIs.
Sigh, I suspect your best solution may be MySQL, which runs on quit a 
few platforms, and has a GUI available for development as well. 
Alternatively you could investigate into OpenLDAP, which may be able to 
handle this as well. You are basically asking for an open DataBase, and 
my knowledge on that is limited. Especially in the Windows arena.

>I don't need an HTML export, if the data format is sane I will write it
>While I'm asking, has anyone used any good open data format geneological
>tools? Are there any standard data formats?
On Linux i am aware of several. Under windows i've got no clue, though 
several programs are available, the best known seems to be from the 
church of the latter day (etc). Have no idea whether they document their 
file format. It can export into GECOM though, which is a standard format 
for genealogical data.

A different question is: what are you intending to do? Several 
genealogical programs can handle photo data (and more) as well, and what 
they do may be enough for your purposes. How open they are is a 
different question. Perhaps turning it around and first investigating 
whether the genealogical options can handle this is an option to peruse.


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