Purpose of this application
fotoalbum can be used to quickly view, organize, describe, tag, rate, rotate, edit pictures and related files. It contains advanced features to search and find pictures, too.
Big collections can be handled easily (mine has grown to about 18000 pictures now).
You can export single pictures or groups of them with various options (with/without thumbnails, html indexpages, original size/shrinked, set IPTC/XMP metadata, ...).
Many people can edit a single album from many computers concurrently if an advanced user is involved -- even if they are not always connected to the same network.
Why use it? What is so special about it?
There are some special concepts behind fotoalbum which lead to some advantages. But there is a reason ordinary Joe User might not like this application:
There is a step-by-step example included in the help which explains the basic concepts and shows how to use this application.
- To benefit from using it, Joe User needs to understand some concepts like files, directories and less simple things described below. This might not be a problem, but have you ever tried to make your parents (age 50+, little or no computer experience before) use a computer and tried to tell them about files and directories?
Additional information may be stored in the picture files, but it is not mandatoryOnce you have rotated and maybe edited the picture (red eyes, brightness, contrast, ...) the file is left untouched. So if you change the pictures comment, date/time or keywords afterwards (metadata is read from picture file initially) the original file is still the same. There is no need to backup this file (which usually is big in terms of disk space) again.
So this is an advantage if you care about backups. You really should care about backups if you like your pictures.
Furthermore, there are some file formats which are not able to contain additional data (comments and keywords). Using such file formats is no problem with fotoalbum.
However, it is possible to write back your keywords and comment into the picture file using standard methods (IPTC, XMP).
Organisation of groups and pictures in the album is independent from organisation of directories and files on the filesystem
This is for easy backups again. I'll explain it by showing how I organize my pictures on disk.
Everytime I get a bunch of new pictures, they are simply put into a hierarchy like this:mypictures + 2002 | + 02-23 | | + img0001.jpg | | + img0002.jpg | | + img0003.jpg | | + img0004.jpg | + 03-25 | + img0005.jpg | + img0006.jpg | + img0007.jpg | + img0008.jpg + 2003 + 01-18 | + img0021.jpg | + img0022.jpg | + img0023.jpg | + img0024.jpg + 03-25 + img0105.jpg + img0206.jpg + img0407.jpg + img0508.jpg
So I have a directory for every year with subdirectories with the pictures I got one day. So when I create a new backup CD, it is easy to find out which directories have not been backed up yet. It is important to never add a picture to an old directory or edit a picture in an old directory once you made a backup. Just create a new directory and picture file.
Of course this hierarchy is not how you want your album to look like. But this is no problem, as the hierarchy in the album is completely independend. In the album you create groups (similar to folders or directories on your filesystem) as you like and move the pictures, which correspond to certain files on your disk, around in those groups without changing anything on your disk.
Hyperlinks can be used
In the descriptive text for a group or picture you can include links which point to other groups/pictures. By clicking such a link, you will be shown the referenced element.
You can also link other files, like big text or html files describing some event.
Symbolic links can be used
I'll explain this with an example, let's call it 'Best of'. You have a group with all your pictures of the summer holidays, far too much to show to your friends (some boring ones in between, but you like to keep them).
You create another group, which is a link to the group mentioned before. The new group does not contain any pictures yet, but it shares the comment and keywords with the original group. So when you edit the comment or keywords on one of them, the change takes effect for both of them.
Inside of the the new group you create links to the original pictures you want to show to your friends. Again, if you edit comment/keywords/date/time on the link or on the original picture, it takes effect on both of them.
The possibility to use links means less work for you and less disk space usage.
Note that you can have some 'Best of' more easily by rating pictures and creating a search.
Advanced search features
You can search for
- words in a group's or picture's comment and keywords. To make this even more useful, a browser shows existing keywords.
- date, time
- exif data
- every other meta data
Every search creates a new group and is saved in the album. This way you can create something like a 'best of' or selections in order to export them to the internet or whatever.
Powerful little helpers
There are some other features which might not exist in other albums, like
- batch rotating
- good support for hierarchical keywords/tags
- metadata can be imported from/exported to jpeg comment/exif/iptc data
- adding keywords to a set of items at once
- (batch-)timeshift, so if you got pictures from a friend with date/time being off by some amount, you can correct all of them in one step
- Powerful plugin interface
- Maybe more, but I won't list every little feature here
Picture files can be grouped and groups contain metadata, tooToday most programs do just care about metadata related to a single picture. However, I think it's handy to put pictures into groups (one picture may be part of many groups without using significant disc space) and assign metadata to those groups, too.
Related applicationsThere are some which I didn't mention because they are not maintained anymore, simply not powerful enough or web based.
Others (no particular order, list not complete of course):
Useful to improve pictures, but not to manage a collection.
Uses perl/tk. Hierarchical IPTC keywords. Stores metadata in picture file.
Written in C#
by google, closed source
04.07.2010: link is dead.