Tag Archives: flickr

What would do you do with 50,000 digital images?

We have a problem that is probably common at similar institutions. Now that we’ve begun to produce digital media, what the heck do we do with it? For example, the University photographer at IWU has thousands of digital images that need to be distributed around campus for various purposes.

These images need to be placed in the hands of our corps of web contributors. There are a few individuals in every department that work on the web to varying degrees. It isn’t practical for the photographer to e-mail relevant images to each department, or even to produce proof sheets. New digital images come in faster than they can be sorted.

To solve this problem, we began to use a product called iView Media Pro. This software was designed to catalog media files. It can store and categorize sound, video, still images, and other digital stuff. Catalogs include thumbnail images, keywords, categories, and a connection to the full-sized image.

The Pro version of the software was purchased and installed for the photographer, and others around campus got the free Reader application that can open and browse these catalogs. The images live on a Mac OS X server where all the end users get read-only access.

This worked great until the Mac server crashed and was replaced with another newer Mac server. Now the catalogs that are made on a Mac and stored on a Mac can’t be correctly viewed from Windows. The images haven’t moved. The thumbnails and metadata are there, but the Windows computers looking for them can’t find the full sized image.

Did I mention that somewhere along the line Microsoft bought iView and changed the name? Now it is called Expression Media. They have issued two versions and a service pack update under the new branding. We’ve tried the new versions to see if the Windows bug is fixed, but tech support indicates it is under investigation.

I can’t shake the feeling that there should be a better way to do this. At home I use Flickr to catalog and share images and couldn’t be happier. Another web-based tool is SmugMug, which is powered by the Amazon.com cloud computing platform. Unfortunately there is no way to directly import the iView images into these services without losing the valuable metadata – keywords, categories, and other tags would be separated from their images. I can’t imagine how many hours it would take to redo this work.

For now, I’ll wait for the Microsoft techs to fix this bug. Anyone have other ideas on storing, cataloging, and sharing large amounts of images?

think you are too connected?

The interactive web has been featured on NPR in the form of Twitter. Twitter is a blog-based service with no potential revenue stream. It allows everyone to post what they are doing at any given moment. The attraction? It is easy to post a tiny blurb via IM or phone. I get the feeling that people are tired of reading digest-sized voluminous blogs. Twitter is more stream of consciousness and more apt to be adapted in ways like Twittervision. I personally like Flickrvision better as a timewaster, but Twitter itself allows you to set up friend groups to narrow your focus.

Another “connected” site is Hype Machine. Hype Machine is a blog aggregator that focuses entirely on music blogs. This way you can find out what is hot just as it is warming up. Many of these blogs link to MP3s, and then Hype Machine caches them. That way you can stream a flash version of songs directly from Hype servers and click a link to buy via iTunes, eMusic, or Amazon. Alternately you could use the Hype Machine to link out to various blogs and do your own reading and listening. I fail to see how any band today could remain “underground” for more than a day or so. Today’s hipsters can be into new trends before the bands even get together!

Some of my friends express dismay at the two-way web. One fellow said that he feels increasingly insignificant in the face of this very big interactive world. Is anyone out there still expecting privacy or anonymity?