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Date: 12/06/19 14:31
Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: Matt_Gidley

I'm still new to slide collecting but Ive gotten ebough that I'm thinking about how to start a database to keep track and search for things.  Are there database programs or Apps that would be good for entering slide info or for digital scans, linking to the scan?  I'd like to be able to search for a particular engine type or road number and see what I have.  (So I dont keep buying the same slide on ebay- ha!) 

How do you all keep track of your collections and find things you want to see?
 



Date: 12/06/19 17:23
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: trainjunkie

I just use a spreadsheet.



Date: 12/06/19 19:32
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: twjurgens

I agree with trainjunkie, a spreadsheet works fine.  Put whatever info you want to collect (RR, engine # or subject, location, date, and whatever else you think you might want to search by) in separate columns.



Date: 12/06/19 20:03
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: lapklub

Also you could file by alphanumeric by railroad or go by date taken, or both.  I filed mine by railroad and number (alphanumeric) for years for my personal collection, but the extras I store them in the order that I shot them. 
I number each roll as I shot them in order so I know when they were.  Also I kept good notes as to when and where shots were taken.  Plus I was very strict on myself to label slides soon after I got them back from processing. 
At least get a date on them.  If need be IF YOU KEPT GOOD NOTES you could finish labeling later.  You've got to have good notes though.  My early early years I didn't keep real good notes but did keep slides in fairly decent order. 
Also keep your notebooks together.  I used to use those 4x6 pocket size notebooks.  I have quite a few of them.  And also date them and keep them in order in someplace accessible.
On thing nice with digital is with the meta data is the built in information as far as date and time, but not location unless you get into the GPS info etc.  I don't get into that though.
Even with all this you still have to look a bit when you are looking for something in particular.  Another thing nice about digital is you can make "copies" of items and store them in different places. 
You could also do this if you make scans of your slides.  It only takes TIME!!
Mike



Date: 12/07/19 10:28
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: Nomad

I use a Microsoft Access database. In some ways it's similar to a spreadsheet with more organizing and searching capability, but the learning curve is steeper. I learned how to use it at work so it made sense for me to use it at home. Adobe Lightroom also has the ability to do what you are looking for. Whatever you decide to go with, I'd just say use something you are or can become comfortable with or else it might not get kept up to date.


One other consideration is longevity. My copy of Access is the 2000 version. I doubt it will stay compatible with current operating systems for much longer, but I haven't found a good replacement yet. I detest the "rental software" model that MS, Adobe, and most everyone else has gone to, so that's kept me away from updating to the current Access version or using Lightroom.



Date: 12/07/19 12:10
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: robj

Nomad Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I use a Microsoft Access database. In some ways
> it's similar to a spreadsheet with more organizing
> and searching capability, but the learning curve
> is steeper. I learned how to use it at work so it
> made sense for me to use it at home. Adobe
> Lightroom also has the ability to do what you are
> looking for. Whatever you decide to go with, I'd
> just say use something you are or can become
> comfortable with or else it might not get kept up
> to date.
>
>
> One other consideration is longevity. My copy of
> Access is the 2000 version. I doubt it will stay
> compatible with current operating systems for much
> longer, but I haven't found a good replacement
> yet. I detest the "rental software" model that MS,
> Adobe, and most everyone else has gone to, so
> that's kept me away from updating to the current
> Access version or using Lightroom.

Rental Software is why you don't have to worry about your files/programs becoing obsolete.

Bob



Date: 12/09/19 11:01
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: hoggerdoug

Long time ago I downloaded couple of programs "RailCat Pro II" and "LIC" (locomotives I've captured) and they were by a  Ron Wischer and perhaps from 2004. The programs were simple to use and a great way to catalogue images.
I can't recall what website made these programs available, perhaps from trainorders.com or railroadforums and I cannot find them doing a google search.
Doug



Date: 12/09/19 11:21
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: ATSF5669

The professional photography world popped circuit breakers when Adobe announced Creative Cloud.  The world was ending with the photographic market being digitally raped in the process.  As it turns out that was pre-judging the benefits of CC.  As a user of Photoshop and Lightroom since versions 1, I know the annual cost to upgrade those two pieces of software, which in my world of professional photography is every time I upgrade my Canon bodies.  The $9.99/month "rental" is less than the annual upgrade cost for just LR.  People forget that upgrading PS cost anywhere from $300-$600 depending on the magnitude of the upgrade.  CC is the best deal for pro-grade software that I am aware of.  On1 produces some fantastic software that is roughly equivalent to Adobe, but I played with it just long enough to know I don't have the interest in learning another software suite.

Just my thoughts,
Jerry



Date: 12/10/19 07:10
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: Matt_Gidley

Thanks for all the tips! I've got some research to do now...
 



Date: 12/11/19 09:47
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: jimB

In the early '90s I was looking for a way to label slides that wasn't hand writing and capture that information for other use, such as locating a growing inventory of slides. When MS Access 1.0 was released, it met my needs and I built a system using that that I am still using.

I capture a Road Name, Identifying Number (Usually an engine Number but can be anything), Photo Date, Location, Storage Location (Initially Box Number), Equipment Type (Usually an engine model, but can be other things) , Photographer and Remarks, all of which are searchable. When I started shooting digital and scanning slides, I added a table linked to the first that carried the File Name and Path of digital images since one photograph may result in many image files.

MS Access is probably a better tool for large amounts of information than Excel given it's excellent searc capabilities, but as stated above is also more complex and requires an MS Office Pro license. I have never used Filemaker so I can't say how that would compare. If I was starting on this today, the LightRoom catalog might be very appealing but then you are tied to LightRoom .

I should also mention that in my case, since I have been a programmer and then a database designer professionally, learning MS Access was an easy step for me but maybe not for everyone. I actually bought MS Access because at the time I was still working with earlier mainframe databases and wanted to get some experience with the then newer relational SQL database technology that soon became dominant. My little system is somewhat over designed because I used it to prototype some design concepts, but I think the basic principles apply on what needs to be captured.

Jim B, retired geek



Date: 12/21/19 17:22
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: cn6218

Luckily, before I had shot too many rolls of slides, I stumbled across M-S Excel, and came up with a plan to number each slide, and then enter additional data (far more than could fit on a slide mount) in the various fields.  As others have pointed out, what I really should have is a database rather than a spreadsheet, but this does have rudimentary search functions, and I'm told that I can migrate Excel files to Access, if I ever feel the need to do that.

Each slide gets a unique number (roll number and frame number, columns A and B of the spreadsheet), and then I add all the other data I need in other columns.  With Excel I can add more columns if I need to (I have done that several times), and searching a single column for a piece of data is very quick.  More complex searches can be done by re-ordering the data in the cells, which isn't quite as simple.  At last count I have about 39,000 slides filed, and the Excel file is only about 4 MB in size.  Since they're relatively small, I keep at least 10 older versions in case something gets corrupted, and I do backups on a regular basis, since most slide mounts have nothing more than a compound number written on them (ex. 456-23).  I'm about 20 years in on this project, and the original data is still there, and I can determine very quickly whether I have a slide of a particular unit (or any rolling stock) in my collection.  Slides that I've obtained from other people get filed in the spaces that are left over, frames 37-40 of any particular roll.  Since all the data is in the spreadsheet, there's no need to make sure they are filed (virtually or physically) in any particular place or chronological order.

GTD



Date: 12/22/19 07:20
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: blueflag

I have used MS Excel for cataloging my images since 1997.  First it was color negatives by roll and frame number.  Then purchased slides and prints were added.  Now the same file houses the catalog of all my digital images too.  The original digital image (and corresponding RAW file if I took one) get a simple 6 digit number as a filename (for now).

With the new xlsx file format I have over 250,000 images covered (it can handle over 1,000,000 rows now).  When searching the catalog for a particular engine or car, one column houses a link that can be clicked on to open the image in question.  If I decided Excel isn't my program of choice anymore, I'd switch to LibreOffice, a free open source software.

The success to any index is having a way to "link" the index data to the physical and or digital file.  By link I mean a key or addressing system to find what you are looking for.

Jeff Eggert

 



Date: 12/22/19 15:14
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: jridge

blueflag Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> ......  When searching the catalog for a
> particular engine or car, one column houses a link
> that can be clicked on to open the image in
> question......
> The success to any index is having a way to "link"
> the index data to the physical and or digital
> file.  By link I mean a key or addressing system
> to find what you are looking for.
>
> Jeff Eggert
>
Jeff-
How to you get the link to the photo/image to put into Excel?  I know how to get the link to the folder it resides in, but not directly to open the image.
Thanks,
Jeff



Date: 12/22/19 16:38
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: jimB

You can create a hyperlink to a specific image file using the Excel Insert menu, Insert a hyperlink and within that dialog, browse to the specific image. I tried it in Excel 2013 in Win 7 & 10. In MS Access I automated that somehwat through some VBA code so that from a File Selector Dialog it adds the link to my table and renames thg image file to it carries the ID number from my Photo Table and some descriptive info. Maybe overkill but works well, is very useful and feeds the inner geek. I haven't tried doing that in Excel VBA but it should be possible.

You can import or link to and excel spreadsheet from MS Access and then use the Access query facility, which is very powerful. An Access Table and an Excel Spreadsheet are pretty similer in many ways although each has some unique capabilities. Access' has features in terms of search and data linking are ideally suited for this sort of application but Excel works well too and is cheaper and simpler. I'm at about 27,000 Slides and Digital Photos and it helps to be able to locate the photos when I need to.

The above posts sound pretty sim ilar in concept to what I've been doing and sound well thought out.

Jim B



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/22/19 16:48 by jimB.



Date: 12/22/19 17:48
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: JimBaker

Is it possible one of you experts out there could make up a format that could be used in Access for a Slide or photo file?
I am completely at a loss for designing anything that would be useful.
Many thanks for any help you can give.

James R.(Jim) Baker
Whittier, CA



Date: 12/22/19 22:01
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: jimB

I can put together a couple of tables in a dtabase and a basic update form.  Probably be a  few days.

Jim B



Date: 12/24/19 14:35
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: blueflag

The HYPERLINK formula is is what I use in Excel. The file address is made using the CONCATENATE formula by building the address from various parts, some being a stable folder name, others being variable based on the photo number. I'll see if I can post an example of what I do. Main reason for this method is because I'm not real familiar with VBA, and it uses built in functions.

Jeff Eggert



Date: 12/25/19 11:01
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: blueflag

The images below show the basic premise of how I catalog my photos in a spreadsheet.  The photos get a number, a description (largely reporting mark and number as that is my main interest), location, and date.  Cataloging is not one size fits all and different people and applications may need more columns.

In the first photo, you can see the HYPERLINK function in the formula bar.  The highlighted cell is B147330.  When the blue text in the B column is clicked on it opens the photo when my photos external hard drive is plugged in.  For actual use of the formulas and how to set them up, Google is your friend, there are lots of good explainations out there already.

In the second screen capture, the CONCATENATE function builds the link to the file as shown in the forumla bar.  All the parts to go in the formula are shown in the image.  The drive letter P, which I happen to use for my photos drive, is in column AG.  The drive is stable as I set in the Computer Management area of Windows, so it is always drive letter P.  The drive letter is set on another tab and referenced into column AS so if the drive letter changes, I can change them all at once.  If the index file resided on the same drive as the photos, you can use a few other functions to "mine" the drive letter and automate it.  The & also works here in place of the CONCATENATE function.  I haven't determined a benefit of one or the other, other than it being a personal preference.

Another benefit I've found is further using the CONCATENATE function is to build a pretty filename with automation such as this:GATX_041384_RICHMOND_VA_2008-02-03_JE277248.jpg
The benefit here is the Bulk Rename Utility program can be used to automate a large group of files at once when the proper format is built and pasted into a txt file.

Formulas like this add a lot of data to a simple spreadsheet.  My catalog file is 72 MB for an xlsx file, which is pretty large and takes a half a minute to load, however once open, it works fast and is easily searched.

Jeff Eggert

 






Date: 12/25/19 16:05
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: jimB

The following photos are of a simplified version of the system I have been using for 25+ years using MS Access. There are two tables in this version. I hope the images are readable here.
1. Photo Table (PhotoTB) which stores the what, when, where, who info on each photo, digital or slide. The unique identifier for a photo row is a system generated number, PhotoID.
2. Image Table (ImageTB) Stores the information on each digital image file, and is linked to the ImageTB through the PhotoID. Images can be from digital photos, slide scans and edits of other images.
The Tables are joined through the PhotoID so data from both can be combined in a display. The reason for two tables is that there is a one to many relation between Photos and Images (I may have a raw, tif and/or jpg for a given photo) which is hard to express in a single row. The third photo shows a representation of the relationship.

Jim B
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/25/19 16:09 by jimB.








Date: 12/25/19 16:07
Re: Indexing your slides/ scans
Author: jimB

In Access, you can work with the tables directly or create Forms to work with the data. I have created the Photo Form for adding, updating and displaying PhotoTB data, as well as selecting one or more Iimage files and creating an ImageTB row for each that is linked to the PhotoTB and displayed on the Photo Form. I rename the image when linked to have the Road Name, Number, PhotoID and ImageID as well as the original file name so I have a link between the actual image file and the database. The form displays the first jpg image in the list, although clicking on the other Image Links, which display as hyperlinks, will display them instead. Access has trouble displaying large tif files and does not support raw formats that I know of.
I also have an Image List form which shows one line per PhotoTB row and a Photo Search form that can display the rows selected according to the entered search criteria on one of the above two forms in the selected order.
 








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