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The situation:

I have several boxes of old photos that I would like to scan, preserve and organize digitally. In addition, I have around 70GB of digital photos for my own family. In addition, other relatives have expressed interest in storing/organizing their photos as well.

Being a computer programmer by trade, I'm starting to dream of a software that could handle all these needs. It's kinda like a cross between digital assets management and social networks. Here are some ideas that I've come up with what it could do:

  • Photo upload/download in bulk
  • Editing of photo metadata (where, when, who's in the picture, tags, etc)
  • As much metadata as possible saved within image files themselves
  • Metadata editing history (to revert vandalism)
  • Easy backups & incremental backups
  • Searching of photos by various metadata
  • Walled community - needs invites to get in (this is for private stuff, not another Instagram)
  • Users split into groups (families)
  • Photos can be completely private, or limited to a group, or shared to all users
  • Chat/forum at each photo
  • Email notifications for chat/changes
  • Privilege system where certain users can be denied chat or metadata editing functions; or where pictures can be locked down to be edited only by group admins

Is there a software out there already that can tick off most of these boxes?

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  • Have you looked into github.com/pixelfed/pixelfed? Maybe you can join the dev team to add the missing features
    – k3b
    Jun 11 '19 at 15:02
  • @k3b - Wow... This is like a gateway to a completely new world. I never knew there was any effort to make a decentralized social network (though the idea had often crossed my mind), let alone that it had progressed so far. I'm intrigued. And I'll check out PixelFed.
    – Vilx-
    Jun 11 '19 at 18:45
  • @k3b - Ehh, I'm afraid it's not what I'm looking for. This is just a basic photo sharing platform. There's nothing about structured metadata and collective editing of said metadata. There isn't any "group" functionality either. All these functions could be added, of course, but it would take the project in a completely different direction. And there wouldn't be much that could be reused anyway.
    – Vilx-
    Jun 11 '19 at 19:01
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I have heard of a tool that sounds like it can do what you need. It's called Storyark and it's still in development. But you can sign up for a waitlist for early access.

I think the basic idea is to share photos with family and friends in a secure way. But not sure how strong the tool is with handling metadata.

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  • 1
    Nice, thanks! :) Could be also a scam to gather email addresses, but seems rather unlikely. Signed up for the newsletter, will see what it turns out to be.
    – Vilx-
    Jun 28 at 7:53
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I helped create DBGallery web app that can handle most items from the list.

  1. Photo upload/download in bulk. Yes.
  2. Editing of photo metadata. Yes. GPS, IPTC metadata and tags, keywords are available. Nothing special for "who's in the picture", but it can store names in tags, notes, description or custom fields. enter image description here
  3. As much metadata as possible saved within image files themselves. Yes. IPTC, Exif and GPS are written into the files and stay embedded in the downloads.
  4. Metadata editing history. Yes. Can view changes history and can restore older versions. Admins can also see audit log of all activities.
  5. Easy backups & incremental backups. Yes in the SaaS offering but No if self-hosted. It's a MySql database and a folder with images that's not difficult to backup yourself though.
  6. Searching of photos by various metadata. Yes. All text fields are indexed and searchable. Filtering on specific fields is available for certain fields only though.
  7. Walled community. Yes. Administrators have to create user accounts and grant permissions by assigning roles to new users. No invite system.
  8. Users split into groups. Yes - they are called roles.
  9. Photos can be completely private, or limited to a group, or shared to all users. Yes. Access restrictions can be configured on entire folders and collections. Images can be visible to all users, specific roles only or made private. Images can be shared with guests that don't have an account too.
  10. Chat/forum at each photo. Yes It's possible to comment on every photo and reply to comments.
  11. Email notifications for chat/changes. Yes
  12. Privilege system. Yes. Different global and folder-level permissions can be assigned to a role. It can handle restrictions on data editing and commenting for certain roles and folders/collections.

You mentioned 70GB of files but the number of images and formats used will affect performance and system requirements more than the storage space alone.

I hope that helps!

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