Penny Wiegert, Editor, The Observer, Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of
Our diocesan research and planning office has been put in charge of archiving photos and other
items for the diocese and asked for The Observer's help. They are in the process of writing a
program to do this. However, I was wondering if any of you know of software programs, etc., that
already do this kind of work that I could recommend to them to make all our lives easier? I know
this question has come up before, but I guess I neglected to save that roundtable discussion.
Marylynn Hewitt, Archdiocese of Detroit
I’ll jump in right away because I’ve talked to someone in our archive department about photo
storage-and-retrieval programs. She knows archivists at a number of local university libraries
and this was her response: “The suggestions were that you acquire an easy-to-use database for
indexing the photos. The database would allow you to create your own fields, such as subject,
date, date run in paper, photo #, photographer, etc. Each field would be searchable so you could
find photos by a variety of criteria. If you number your photos (or the database can do it for you),
say by year and a number, you’ll be able to cross-reference from the database to the photo.
People suggested Access, which is a Microsoft product; it is commonly available, and fairly easy
to learn. Another option is FileMaker Pro. Both also let you have a field for an image, so you
could upload a thumbnail of each photo as a 1” by 1” 72dpi shot. You’d have to speak with the IT
people to see how much storage space you’d need on a server for the photos themselves. Tiffs
are more stable, but jpegs are smaller. But it would take time to create the database; each
photos information would have to be entered.” //5-2-08
Penny Wiegert, Editor, The Observer, Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of Rockford
What protocols do you use to archive photos and what software, if any do you use? //12-15-08
Ed Foster Jr., Web Content Editor, Florida Catholic Online Edition
What protocols do you use to archive photos and what software, if any do you use? All digital
files entering the Florida Catholic’s system include, or are provided with, IPTC Photo Metadata in
a manner consistent with the International Press Telecommunications Council’s current
standards. The minimum data includes date, location data, keywords, photographer, caption
information and copyright. Staff typically uses Photo Mechanic for inclusion of the metadata.
Files that enter the system are typically received as “jpg” files and the original is
preserved as such. After any post processing that may need to occur in preparation for
reproduction, files are saved in an uncompressed “tif” format, and one copy is repurposed for
reproduction in “jpg” format.
During gathering and post processing all files are saved to two separate hard disk drives
utilizing RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) software where complete copies are
saved to two independent drives (Level 1). The RAID drives are backed-up weekly to a separate
hard drive that is stored in a moderately secure location.
Retrieval from any of the drives is typically performed through use of Adobe’s Bridge via
keyword searches. //12-17-08
Annie Grunow, Photograph Indexer, ONE magazine, CNEWA-Pontifical Mission
ONE magazine contracts freelance photographers to illustrate our magazine. The ongoing
conversion from print to digital photography demands an accessible and secure digital storage
system (in addition to storage of physical images) for our extensive and valuable photograph
Our collection contains both physical (slides, prints, and film) and digital image files.
Images are all stored in files, either physical or digital but sometimes both, as most of the physical
images were scanned so that a digital copy was available for reference, research and access.
The files are named according to photographer and project. Each project is assigned a project
number and each item within that project an item number.
Almost all photos are now submitted digitally and are stored as jpegs on our private
network server. We keep high and low resolution versions of all photos and store them in
separate files. The original (high) resolution file is used in final production, while the low
resolution is used internally for research and layouts.
Contracts for photographers stipulate that photographers must submit photos embedded
with metadata so that information (such as caption, date, photographer) is not lost and is part of
the image file. However, many “orphan” digital images (born-digital and physical) exist within our
digital photo archive and require indexing and research. At the minimum, the most important
metadata for my purposes are photographer, project number, location/description of project, and
rights usage information.
We use iView image viewing software to circulate low-res images among staff. I create iView
albums for individual projects and maintain one all-inclusive (optimally) album entitled “archive”
that contains 13,000 images (both physical and born-digital). The “archive” album contains
keywords, making it searchable by custom terminology or keywords. The goal is to have every
photo submitted to ONE magazine and its publisher, CNEWA, in this album. iView allows for
some image and metadata editing, although I prefer to use Adobe Bridge because it allows you to
work with the original files rather than a link to the original file. I have found Adobe Bridge makes
editing faster and more reliable. Adobe Bridge also has a search function. //12-17-08