Best collaborative processing and tagging of a group's photo archive?

I have the photo archives of a theatre company I was involved with for 12 years. It is coming upon its 50th anniversary. I have a high speed automatic scanner, so I am going to generate scans of many of the photos — that part is not too hard. Even easier for modern groups in the digital age, where the photos are already digital and date-tagged.

But now I want members of the group to be able to rotate the photos, tag them with the names of people in them and other tags, group them into folders where needed, and add comments. I can’t do this on my own, it is a collaborative project.

Lots of photo sharing sites let other people add comments. Few sites let you add tags or let trusted other people do things like rotations. Flickr lets others draw annotations and add tags/people which would make it a likely choice, but they can’t rotate.

Facebook has an interesting set of features. It’s easy to tag photos with friends’ names, and they get notified of it and the photos appear on their page, which is both good and bad. (The need for the owner to approve is a burden here.) Tagging non-friends is annoying because when somebody adds a real friend tag you must delete the old one, and the old ones may be spelled differently. However, the real deal-breaker on facebook is that the resolution is unacceptably small.

The recent killer feature I really want is face recognition, which makes tagging with people’s names vastly easier. Even the fact that it auto-draws boxes around the faces for you to tag is a win even without the recognition feature. The algorithms are far from perfect but they speed up the task a great deal. As such, right now an obvious choice is Picasa and Picasa Web Albums. however, while PWA lets you allow others to upload photos to your albums and tag their own photos, they can’t tag yours.

There is also face recognition in iPhoto, but I am not a Mac user so I don’t know if that can meet this need.

So right now two choices seem to be Flickr (but I must do all rotates) or a newly created Picasa account to which the password is shared. That’s a bit of a kludge but it seems to be the only way to get shared face recognition tagging.

Facebook can be integrated with a face recognizer called “Polar Rose” which also works with the 23hq photo sharing site. However, Facebook’s resolution is way, way too small and you need to approve tags.

I have not tried all the photo sharing sites so I wonder if people know of one that can do what I want?

Does the Flickr API let you

Does the Flickr API let you rotate photos? You could run a cronjob that looks for photos tagged rot90 (or whatever) and rotates them.

Rotate and face recognition

Cute idea, I presume there are some libraries to let me script the flickr api in perl or similar. I have seen that Polar Rose will do some face recognition on flickr sets, oddly using your facebook contact list (and insisting on publishing your actions to your facebook feed to spam your friends about it) so it might be possible to combine things.

However, at least right now, the facial recognition tools I have seen want you to rotate the photo first before they will find the faces in it.

I may end up doing the rotating by hand. Literally by hand, in that I will take the stack of photos and deal through them putting them all in the same orientations. (one pile for landscape, one for portrait.) By hand is faster than most of the interfaces I have seen.

"Me too" - and thoughts on an option

I read this post with great interest because my need is nearly identical to yours - just substitute "kids' summer swim team" for "theatre company." I don't have the photo rotation problem, though, so I'm excited to look into Flickr's features.

My leading idea until finding this post was to create a new Google/Picasa account and share the credentials with my collaborators. I'd be in charge of uploading the photos, but I would ask my collaborators to log in and add face names. I like that I would be able to use the features of the Picasa application for additional organization, editing, etc. But my issue with this approach is keeping the team's photos separate (in Picasa) from my own; I already use Picasa for my personal photos and I think I can't use different Google accounts with one Picasa app; and even if I could I don't want to commingle my personal photos with the team's.

Flickr update

I looked at Flickr's people feature, and it's not a fit for me. The people tags must be of Flickr members. Here's the relevant help text:
http://www.flickr.com/help/people/#1118792
Can I add someone who isn’t a Flickr member to a photo?
People in Photos is all about featuring our current members.

I suppose you could use the "note" feature instead, but that's free text, so it's burdensome, and you get all the associated problems (like spelling).

need to create a collaborative account

Hi Brad I need to use something like Picasa Web Albums for wild animal photos. We want the public to help us do a photographic census and then share these photos online. We also want to allow the public to tag their photos and other people's photos. The problem is that I want to make it as simple as possible and don't know how to do it.

I can give them all the same picasa account number. Somehow I need to create a collaborative group.

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