software for photographic slide catalog

Ernest H. Robl ehr at
Wed Jan 15 12:22:06 EST 1992

In article <1992Jan15.010840.13772 at Princeton.EDU>, unasmith at phoenix.Princeton.EDU (Una Smith) writes:
> As a biologist, I own a growing collection of slides.  For most, I want
> to record a date (year and month, at least), location, and the names of
> any people and/or scientific and/or common names of any plants and
> animals appearing in the picture.  If I were to build an old-fashioned
> card catalog for my collection, there would be many "access points" per
> slide.  Clearly, I need a computer program to handle creation,
> maintenance/updating/corrections, and elaborate searches on keywords,
> geographic names, etc.
> Any suggestions?  I've been told some bibliographic software packages
> have some options for image cataloging, but they sound pretty
> rudimentary.  I know no photographers who bother to do any cataloging at
> all.  I realize that all cataloging systems involve a lot of work, which
> may never pay off because most slides will never be used more than 6
> months after they're, is it even worth bothering with?
>    - Una

Unfortunately the cataloging software to run on small machines -- PCs
-- falls into two general categories:   (1) very limited features and
flexibility; and (2) very expensive.

I did a book on the issues invovled in organizing photographic
collections -- _Organizing Your Photographs_ -- which you should be
able to find at larger libraries.  (Or, the library can borrow it
for you through interlibrary loan.  The book is now out of print.)

(I spent 15 years working for the Duke University library system,
both in the Cataloging Dept. and the Systems [computer operations]
Department.  I also served two terms as chair of the [now defunct]
Picture Division of the Special Libraries Association.  I'm still
active in SLA.  I market a stock photo collection that now has
close to 30,000 slides.)

The only cataloging software that I have found that would meet my needs
is Inmagic, produced by a company of the same name in the bBoston
area.  The only catch?  A single license for the PC version is just
under $1000.  Of course, other people's collections may not need all
these bells and whitstles.

For professional collections -- either professional photographers or
collections maintained to support some other type of professional
activity -- I would still suggest a look at Inmagic.  (No, I have no
connection with them, and have not yet purchased the software.  But,
I do plan to.)  Everyone who has used Inmagic that I have spoken with
is very enthusiastic about it.  The Los Angeles Public Library uses
Inmagic for its picture collection.

Hope this helps. -- Ernest


"My other computer is a Nikon N8008." -- Ernest H. Robl
Ernest H. Robl (ehr at ecsvax)  Durham, NC, USA   +1  919   286-3845
                                         FAX:  +1  919   286-1696

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