Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Databases (again).

As the long-term readers among you might know, I am using Endnote for my references and bibliography, and a programme called Fototime FotoAlbum. Both have been on my system for years now, so I have gained a bit of experience with them.

FotoAlbum is making a good job of sorting and handling my image database, and their online support is one of the best I know. There was no instance where I didn't get a speedy reply, and things were taken care of whenever possible (I realise that not all my requests would fall in line with the needs of the normal customers, so it's understandable they are not adapting the programme just for me).
The programme allows notes and comments, ratings, copyright notes, keywords and captions; it has filters and an "album" system that makes it possible to store pictures in a given folder structure, yet have them as part of several albums. There's also the possibility to define smart albums, automatically putting pictures in there if they have the right keywords, date, or other defined thing.

Speaking of dates - I use the programme to sort my picture database which, logically if you are working about medieval stuff, consists mostly of old things. The photo timeline is quite generous, since it allows to go back until 1700 (there were no photos before that time, right? Right? Yes.). For stuff from the 9th or 12th century... that's a bit late, though. So I developed my own system that has been successful for years now: I use the 1700 as code for my centuries, as in 1708 - eighth century, 1715 - fifteenth century. And I even have a months key, for example January 1713 means from 1200 to the 1220s. The months key is not perfect (due to my less than perfect definition, that is) but it works fine and it allows me to sort all my pictures by date. And I have a lot of pictures.

So if you are in search of a picture database, I can fully recommend the programme. I use the paid-for edition, due to a few reasons of my own, but FotoAlbum is also available in a free edition that will already serve for most database-related needs, including handing out your pictures or a selection of them, with all the data attached and viewable, to someone else.

As for Endnote... that's something to write about tomorrow.

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