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Cataloging software for large NGO?

Hi all!

I am working for a large international NGO. I am tasked with finding an organizational wide Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) and then for each field office image cataloging software to help them organize their individual photo collections. We are pretty close to choosing a DAMS, but I would love your help with the cataloging software. Seems there’s about 100 out there now!

Each field office (there are about 40 and each has limited internet/bandwidth) has it’s own office image collection and desperately needs some cataloging & editing software (ACDsee, LightRoom, PhotoShelter) to help organize and caption it. They also need to be able to search their collections by IPTC/EXIF info. Once cataloged, tagged, keyworded, etc the field office can then send HQ those images via FTP or DVD.

For the Cataloging Software I am looking at ACDsee Pro but LightRoom and PhotoShelter have been suggested as well. I need something fairly simple to use, not too expensive and licensable.

Can anyone speak to any of these programs/services? Would you recommend any one over another? Has anyone done this sort of job before? Would love to hear any advice, suggestions here!

Thanks in advance,

by Jason Sangster at 2007-11-06 19:37:52 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Portland , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Hi Jason,
I do a similar type of work. I’ve used quite a few software solutions to manage our organisation’s photos, also with the idea in mind to export my system to other offices. A lot depends on the computers in those offices. I found a lot of my troubles were coming from restrictions on workstations in other offices. It shouldn’t be too complicated either. Photo shelter might be a good option in that regard. If not, I think iview does a pretty good job, and so does Photo Mechanic.
I’m using Lightroom for my personal archive, but I don’t think it’s suitable (yet) to manage the NGO’s archive. IPTC is so crucial in an archiving solution, you need to choose software with a decent IPTC editor.

As for our organization wide DAM, we use a hosted solution from Picdar – http://www.picdar.com

send me an email if you want more details.

by bruno decock | 06 Nov 2007 20:11 | Brussels, Belgium | | Report spam→
I used DiskTracker in the beginning, then moved onto Portfolio and now I’m using Adobe LR. I still think however Portfolio is the most powerful. LR has a lot of potential but has a terrible UI, I mean just horrible. I have 800 DVD’s of images and a dozen 500gb drives.

by bobby durston | 06 Nov 2007 22:11 | Magheralin, Northern Ireland | | Report spam→
hello ,
i think Adobe Bridge it might helpe


by Atallah Mousa | 06 Nov 2007 22:11 | Amman, Jordan | | Report spam→
For a large outfit with multiple users, be sure to check out Extensis Portfolio

Using an online archive (Photoshelter, Digital Railroad) that all could contribute to and access would probably be super handy. But depending on your asset volume, it could get expensive pretty quickly.

For straight out captioning/editing, nothing beats Photomechanic

by Jethro Soudant | 07 Nov 2007 00:11 | Buffalo, NY, United States | | Report spam→
NO doubt: iView Media Pro/ Microsoft Expression Media. MUCH better than Portfolio.


by [former member] | 07 Nov 2007 01:11 | Phnom Penh, Cambodia | | Report spam→
iView was bought by Microsoft and now they call it “Expression Media”, it’s fairly similar to ACDSee, not particularly powerful but intuitive. The main difference is you get to download free catalogue readers (both for the Mac and PC). This might save you on license fees.

System requirements for both Expression Media and ACDsee is similar. It comes down to how many computers you have in each field office. If you have say more than 3 then you might have the software installed (licensed) on one machine, but free readers on the other 2.


Lightroom is pretty CPU intensive, it can be frustrating trying to run lightroom on an old computer. An online archive can be really annoying if you are in say Ethiopia where connections is bad and the last thing you want to do is surf the net. It does mean photos will be more readily available and sharing will be easier, how often do you need to share every photo?

I’d love to help and do this kind of work in this kind of scale. Personally, I am another Mac fan boy and I breath in Aperture.


by Samson Yee | 07 Nov 2007 01:11 (ed. Nov 7 2007) | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→

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Jason Sangster, Jason Sangster
[undisclosed location].
bruno decock, photographer/photo editor bruno decock
photographer/photo editor
Brussels , Belgium
bobby durston, photographer bobby durston
Glenavy , Northern Ireland
Atallah Mousa, Photojournalist Atallah Mousa
Amman , Jordan
Jethro Soudant, Photographer Jethro Soudant
Buffalo, Ny , United States
Samson Yee, Photo Editor / Photograph Samson Yee
Photo Editor / Photograph
(Photographer based in Tokyo)
Tokyo , Japan ( NRT )


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