I work at an organization that makes extensive use of photography and we need an better way to organize all our photos. We have several staff and volunteers who take photos regularly. Then we use these photos in a variety of different media throughout the year.

We currently have about 50k photos stored on a shared file server, but it's very difficult to organize. I'd like to have a database to keep track of the photos so that each photo can have fields that we populate with our own data. For example, I'd like to be able to easy query the system for requests such as "all photos within a date range", "all photos shot by a particular photographer", "all photos taken at a specific type of event, across multiple years", "all the top rated photos within a date range", "all photos featuring a specific person" etc.

For personal photography, I've tried digiKam and F-Spot, which are great, except that they're only designed for one user. We need a more collaborative solution that will allow multiple users to interact with the system simultaneously. Ideally it would be web-based. Free and open source would be another plus.

  • Did you try Picasa? When you have setup the meta data correctly for the photos, you can search in different ways easily.
    – Ninthu
    Jul 31, 2014 at 11:12
  • Did you try galleryproject.org? It support extensions for an easy way of adding new features.
    – cybernard
    Aug 2, 2014 at 18:01

2 Answers 2


Alfresco can do this, and it is Open Source.

  • Can handle huge amounts of data
  • EXIF data is automatically extracted and stored as metadata
  • Alfresco remembers who uploaded what when. If the uploaders are not the photographers themseleves, the photographer's name or id can be stored as metadata.
  • You can use tags and categories. Very useful for classifying. The difference between tags and categories is that categories are hierachical. For instance, a pictures of a kid with a dog in Havana could be found in the category Regions>Caribbean>Cuba>Havana with the tags kid and dog.

What makes Alfresco extremely powerful is its search feature:

  • Search by filename
  • Search by metadata (for instance author, date, etc)
  • Search by category
  • Search by tags
  • Search by a combination of the above

If you need, document types/search/UI can be customized, see for instance:


Alfresco gallery

Detail of the picture properties:

Alfresco edit picture properties

Detail of the search dialog:

Alfresco search

Search facets

When you perform a search, you can filter by date, type, and pretty much anything you want:

Alfresco facet search


This is a field known as Digital Asset Management or DAM.

A google search for multiuser digital asset management software comes back with lots of hits.

The Yahoo group Controlled Vocabulary (Related website) has dicussions about this all the time, and the sort of issues that come up with DAM.

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