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I have thousands of meme images. Unfortunately, unorganized. Whenever I could need a specific image, it’s nearly impossible to locate it. Now I want to organize my collection by manually adding metadata for each image.

I want a single tool that focuses on

  • searching for indexed images, and
  • editing the metadata of an image.

I know that many image editors offer both of these features, but then it’s often only a secondary feature, e.g., "hidden" in a sub-menu or something like that. The tool I’m looking for should, at best, let me search for images directly after starting it.

Formal requirements

  • The tool MUST be Free/Libre Open Source Software.
  • The tool MUST run natively on GNU/Linux (whether as a desktop client, or as a web-application).

  • The tool SHOULD support these image formats: PNG, JPG, GIF (animated).

    • It MUST support at least one of these formats.

Metadata

  • The tool MUST NOT save the metadata in the image’s file name.
  • The tool MAY save the metadata in the image.
    • If that’s the case, then the tool MUST use a standardized metadata format (e.g., XMP).
  • MUST: I need several fields (like "Language", "Visible text", "Category", "Keywords"). The tool should either allow me to define name-value pairs separately for each image, or I define the names globally and only fill in the values for each image.

Search

  • MUST: A simple full text search, which always searches over all fields, is not enough.
  • It SHOULD allow me to search in selected fields only.
  • It SHOULD offer boolean search operators (like AND, OR, NOT) and phrase search ("").

It would be really great (but not required) if the tool came with some kind of browser for drill-down or faceted navigation, so that you can find images by clicking instead of having to know&type the search terms. For example, it could use the "Keywords" field and separate its values on commas, and then use them as "tags".

  • Your 'must be in the metadata' requirement makes your search difficult. Can I suggest two different approaches in case no suitable candidate turns up? -> 1) Add files with a structured data format (like XML) next to the image files; these are searchable and maintainable, and there are likely tools for that available. 2) Use some sort of tagging software; downside is it will keep the tags in a separte (monolithic) structure. – Jan Doggen Feb 12 '14 at 10:04
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    @JanDoggen: Which metadata requirement do you mean exactly? -- If I understand solutions 1) and 2) correctly, they both seem to be valid answers according to my requirements. – unor Feb 12 '14 at 13:22
  • @unor Sorry, misread you requirement, it says 'may'. You're still left with the difficulty that XMP is not supported in/for all formats. but maybe that's not neccasry for you. – Jan Doggen Feb 12 '14 at 14:28
  • @JanDoggen: If the tool writes the metadata directly into the files (instead of using a database etc.), I want it to use a "known" format, i.e. a format that other tools would (principally) be able to read, so that I’m not vendor locked-in. – unor Feb 12 '14 at 14:58
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While not 100% solution Geegie is a tool which can offer great support in meta-tagging your meme images. Geegie is image viewer for Unix alike operating systems and a fork of old and defunct GQview. Geegie support various image formats including .jpg. png. .gif and is open-source software licensed under GNU general public licence.

Note I don’t have any meme to check it out but tagging and playing with regular images metadata is visible in other photo managment apps (Darktable, Aftershoot Pro) Geegie start screen

This software is able for EXIF, IPTC and XMP metadata browsing and editing. In configuration menu you can chose to write metadata in image file or in a sidecar XMP standard and non-standard. Metadata configuration

Search feature can be easily tweaked to recursively search in base of similarity, size, comment, keyword, date, dimension, etc of item/image and rules of search can be arranged in any way you want (i.e search for image abc with xy keyword of specific dimension with 50% similarity to image abcd). Search Configuration

Geegie does not offer all required fields as per your question ("Language", "Visible text", "Category", "Keywords") but as solution this pattern can be used:

  • Keywords/Tags can be categorized,
  • Comments section can be used for Language field
  • Title section can be used for Visible text field
  • Geegie also offer to sort images in Collections

As an extra feature not requested in question, I would mention an excellent find duplicate tool able to search for high or low similarity, name, checksum, path etc. Considering you have thousand s of meme-images search for duplicates can be really time consuming. Find duplicates in Geegie will reduce this to minutes.

Geegie have a lot of different tools and features so I would suggest to check user manual should you decide to try it.

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