[Techtalk] Software recommendation: photo database

Andrea Landaker qirien at icecavern.net
Tue Dec 30 11:36:37 EST 2003

>     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.

Hmm, well, GEDCOM is the standard for genealogical data, but I don't think it 
has fields for pictures -- it's more of a person-based data structure.  This 
format seems fairly specialized -- you might need to make your own.

>     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)

> While I'm asking, has anyone used any good open data format geneological
> tools? Are there any standard data formats?

Any good genealogical tool can import and export GEDCOM, though they all 
usually have their own format as well.  I've used (free as in beer) Personal 
Ancestral File (PAF) in the past, which is pretty good, though I think that I 
might start using gramps -- it looks like it's come a long way since the last 
time I looked at it.  I know that PAF and gramps have some support for 
inserting graphics, but again, I think that it's person-based and not 

Actually, it sounds like the closest thing to what you want is an online 
picture gallery type thing -- they usually have a date field, and you could 
put the people's names in a searchable keywords field or something.  You 
could probably modify something like that fairly easily to have a special 
"people" field, and customize a Search page to look through your new fields.  
That way you could have the benefits of a MySQL database, but with a 
cross-platform interface already built in.  The only problem might be having 
someone to maintain it that's not you, though it wouldn't need as much 
maintenance as some solutions.

Right now I use Gallery with phpNuke to do something kind of like that (though 
it's for any kind of photos, and not as specific or searchable), but I 
wouldn't really recommend it -- we've had to hack several things to get it to 
work right.  Actually, there are a lot of online services that do this kind 
of thing -- fotolog, pbase, yahoo pictures, etc., but then you have to worry 
about how long they'll be around, when they'll start charging lots of money, 

Anyway, I hope some of this was helpful.  Good luck!

Andrea Landaker

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