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Old 10-03-2006, 11:19 AM   #1
iamback's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Amsterdam, NL
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Default DAM organization - getting there but a few ??

I'm finally making real progress setting up my data structures for my DAM (Digital Assets Management). I had to, since I came back with a ton of digital images from my last trip!

The problem was that the literature generally assumes all your files (images) come from a single source (say, a scanner, or a digital camera) but I need to combine files from a range of different sources into one data structure - and then to manage it all with a single database.

For example, I have negative film (images to be scanned, some scanned with an old film scanner), contributed and inherited slides (to be scanned), scanned prints (of my own photographs - to be substituted later by scans from negatives); contributed images provided as digital camera files, negatives (to be scanned), prints (scanned or to be scanned) and downloaded (public domain or used with permission). I've used two flatbed scanners, and two film scanners (one of each current but I have files from all). I also have digital files from cameras, two camphones (one current) and now also the Fuji Finepix F30 compact camera. And then are the files I myself create on the computer, directly, or via screen capture. That's the summary. ;-) You get the idea.

The "DAM Book" (can't find the thread where I mentioned it - "Search" seems to be essentially non-functional now) suggests using "buckets" to archive images in - folders that grow to a size that just fits on a CD or DVD and then get archived to that media. I like this idea, but it is simple only when it all comes from a single source and you can work sequentially - but I can't and still wanted to use this useful concept.

So, I finally hit on a system that combines my "origins" (where the files come from) with the "buckets" idea for archiving; I've also devised a file naming system that supports this (with prefixes also indicating "origin" but otherwise in principle keeping original file names). Mostly, it works, and I've been busy moving a lot of stuff that I already had (and had already catalogued in IMatch - the DAM database program I'm using). But now I'm hitting a few snags that I'd like your input on.

Basically, my directory structure now looks like this (see attachment): a DAM directory, with three main directories below that:
  • RAW - contains files as they get into the computer (not necessarily "RAW" format, but the very first digital form I get my hands on)
  • Master - contains files derived from RAW files that are used for as the basis further processing rather than the Raw format (for instance, the rotated form of portrait-format images, or a straightened or perspective-corrected image)
  • Derived - all further processed forms based on either Raw or Master files
Only RAW gets further subdivided into "origin" categories - see attached image:
  • Scan - for scanned images
  • Digital - for files from digital cameras
  • Ext - for files that are contributed or downloaded; one directory per copyright owner (initials or domain, plus 'NN' for unknown) and again further subdivided: for instance under koningaap.nl I have both downloaded and scanned route maps that I use on my travel blog (with permission)

Each of these nodes will then get its own series of "buckets", named RBnnnnnn, MBnnnnnn and DBnnnnnn (raw/master/derived) where 'nnnnnn' is a serial number within each of the groups (that means the names are all unique and can directly be used as volume names for CDs/DVDs).

Now for the two snags - two things that are not very well integrated yet, or I can't decide how to integrate, that I'd like your input on:

1. So far I have only a few files archived that I created myself (but I have tons to be integrated); I've called the directory "Draw" but that is not a very good name. There would be logos, drawings, screenshots, icons, and similar. Suggestions for a better name? And this should probably also be subdivided into directories before getting to "buckets" - by creation method? (drawing, screenshot, icon...) Something else (image format)?

2. I also encountered a file (and I'll have many more of those) that I created but dows not usefully fit into the class above: I found that specific cameras or scanners may have particular image characteristics that always need the same corrections. For instance an adjustment layer, or set of adjustment layers to remove a color cast; or a preset to correct distortion of a particular lens; etc. Rather than classify these by origin as "created", I think it would be more useful to classify them by target: files of a particular origin that they may be applied to. So they don't logically fit into the RAW/Draw branch - but where to put them? A fourth directory below DAM (with further subdivisions maybe)?

All suggestions and comments welcome!
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Marjolein Katsma
Look through my eyes on Cultural Surfaces (soon!), My ArtFlakes shop and Flickr.
Occasionally I am also connecting online dots... and sometimes you can follow me on Marjolein's Travel Blog
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