Lazy Photo Annotation

I was taken to task by my mother over Xmas. She’d been browsing my website during her lunch hour and had neglected to find any new photos, and precious few of her latest grandchild.
After setting aside thoughts that I’d slipped into an issue of The Onion I realised she was right, and that those dozens and dozens of images I’ve taken with my spangly new digital camera really ought to be published somewhere.
But I don’t want to do it half-heartedly, I want to publish as much metadata as possible along with the images themselves. There’s lots of fun to be had with co-depiction and rdf annotation.
But I’m essentially a lazy person so want a really, really simple way to publish and annotate the photos. So far I’ve been able to think of two, each with it’s own merits.

JAlbum is a java application that generates online photos albums using a simple scripting language and templating system. It’s straight-forward to customise it to spit out RDF instead of, or as well as HTML.
As JAlbum already understands EXIF data, it’d also be easy to generate additional metadata taken from the JPEGs themselves.
The second option is to use Moveable Type. This article, “Beyond The Blog“, opened my eyes to a lot of ways to hack MT to be a more general CMS system. Using such a hack to generate RDF would also be straight-forward. Not quite as flexible as JAlbum but it could handle a good 80% of the functionality I want (descriptions, people, depicts).
Happily other people have been through a similar process and implemented RDF annotation solutions for both of these approaches. Phil Wilson has documented his RDF-skin for JAlbum; I’ve corresponded with Phil and suggested some improvements and alterations to the skin. Bryce Benton has also written up how he’s doing RDF annotation with Movable Type.
I’m going to adopt the Movable Type approach, it’s a tool I use pretty much daily and I think my wife would be happier using Movable Type for uploading and publishing the images. It’s either that or a combination of JAlbum plus a SFTP session to upload every image and annotation.
So mum, if you’re reading this, I’ve still not got any new photos online for you to look at, but at least I’ve selected the technology!

3 thoughts on “Lazy Photo Annotation

  1. That’s interesting – when I read Bryce’s post, it actually reinforced my initial feeling which was to go the JAlbum route (a very large part of my last job was managing and navigating large online image libraries, so maybe that’s why for my own stuff I prefer the desktop approach 🙂 ).
    I need to seriously rework my RDF template, and it’s been on my todo list since I first made that post (and especially since we emailed about it), but what with Christmas holidays and moving jobs everything web has suffered (no blog posts since December! must rectify!).

  2. Photo metadata (using social software)

    Norm’s talking about Shadows, Mirrors, and Metadata, mentions a GUI tool he’d like to handle this. Meanwhile, Leigh’s been talking…

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