I have been looking for quite some time for
good great software that is free low cost, user friendly, downloadable (i.e. not a web based system like flickr, webshots, etc.), has commenting features, and does not need a lot of admin knowledge.
I have read a number of articles, checked out discussion lists and downloaded many trials.
Here is what I have found so far:
Omeka – this looked great. I got all excited. Then our IT people informed me that you need to have running Linux, Apache, PHP5 and MySQL5 and they were not willing. All that is beyond me. If it is not beyond you, this looks like a perfect solution.
“Omeka is a free and open source collections based web-based publishing platform for scholars, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, educators, and cultural enthusiasts. Its “five-minute setup” makes launching an online exhibition as easy as launching a blog. Omeka is designed with non-IT specialists in mind, allowing users to focus on content and interpretation rather than programming. It brings Web 2.0 technologies and approaches to academic and cultural websites to foster user interaction and participation. It makes top-shelf design easy with a simple and flexible templating system. Its robust open-source developer and user communities underwrite Omeka’s stability and sustainability. Until now, scholars and cultural heritage professionals looking to publish collections-based research and online exhibitions required either extensive technical skills or considerable funding for outside vendors. By making standards based, serious online publishing easy, Omeka puts the power and reach of the web in the hands of academics and cultural professionals themselves.”
Gallery – This one also looks good, however it also requires PHP and a web server, etc.
“Gallery is an open source project with the goal to develop and support leading photo sharing web application solutions. The Gallery project develops open source software licensed under the GPL, and is maintained and developed by a community of users and developers. The development is a distributed effort, with collaboration from around the globe. The team is well organized, with weekly meetings, and constant communication. Serving millions worldwide, the Gallery project is the most widely used system of its kind. Gallery is free to download and use. Gallery is also the name of the main product, an online photo album organizer. Gallery gives you an intuitive way to blend photo management seamlessly into your own website whether you're running a small personal site or a large community site.”
Extensis Portfolio – this one is not free, but it is reasonably priced. However it also got some less than rave reviews. I’ll have to try the demo. It is used by a few very well know places.
Canto Cumulus – no pricing on their site.
“Search and find images across your entire organization. Cumulus makes it all available and searchable by subject matter, creator/photographer, campaign, model or any other custom metadata you define— even if the original image source is offline. Cumulus makes it easy to share all your images, or just those you choose. Provide easy self-service access to the latest approved version of every image you want to distribute… in whatever resolution or format your users need.”
Microsoft Expressions Media -- $199
This one got bad reviews, so I did not spend too much time looking at it. Perhaps a demo??
IDimager – at $129 for the professional this one looks very good. It has all the features I was looking for. It has a free 30 day trial so that is next. One feature that I am really lookign forward to is “area tagging” like in FaceBook. You can then tag people in the photo directly so everyone knows who is who. Other features are: Revolutionary search system; Fast image collecting; Versioning and Stacking; Area tagging; Relational labels; Easy metadata management; Archiving; Open architecture; Unicode™ support
“imaging software that is complementary to your digital imaging equipment. Its many features will make it easier to maintain the large number of photo files that you will produce. Some feature examples are: acquire images from a digital camera, browse, organize, catalogue, version control, archive, edit, e-mail, print, find, slide shows, publish images to the Internet... and more.”
Article I found of great value -- Systems for Managing Image Collections http://www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk/stillimages/advice/systems-for-managing-image-collections/