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How to build & organize a large digital photograph library:
Here we recommend designs for a database of digital photographs with focus on technical microphotography used to form a forensic particle identification data system - at low cost with easy to use tools.
This article series discusses the selection of cameras adapt well
to microscope eyepieces or trinocular heads, and on camera settings and procedures to obtain best quality photographs.
Photo at left: demonstrating the use of a local cloud device or network-attached storage to permit access to the photographic data base from any device and while in any location.
I also discuss image resolution and size settings and make recommendations. Cameras used as examples in this paper
include the Nikon Coolpix series 990, 995, and 4500. The techniques discussed in this paper work well with digital cameras and any type of microscope,
low power stereo zoom to high power forensic polarized light microscopes.]
Selection of a photo library management program for Digital Photography through the Microscope
Library design is critical if a large number of photographs are to be stored and ever found again. we have found
that general purpose PC-type software such as the Thumbs Plus photo management software by Cerious (www.cerious.com)
is particularly suited for this purpose for these reasons which also will describe what we consider important in
photo library software:
The program permits ready directory creation, image movement, copying, and deletion without hogging disk space by keeping
multiple copies of each image every time one is moved or changed. [The Mac iPhoto program is the world's worst
offender in this regard.]
Basic image manipulation such as rotation, cropping, enlarging, jpeg cleanup, image enhancement, color balance,
saturation, contrast, brightness, are readily at hand.
Image file naming and image clean up or manipulation functions can be applied either to individual photo images
or can be applied to groups of pictures. This makes the assignment of meaningful names to images a snap as it can be
done en masse rather than having to type in individual photo names.
Directories can be scanned for duplicate or similar images
Annotations and keywords can be assigned to each image, recording technical or descriptive data for each photo.
Data base functions are provided, permitting searching for images based on name, assigned keywords, or annotations.
Library design for digital photographs through the microscope
Build a file or disk directory library of folders which organize your photos according to your
reference library schema. Example, if you're an aerobiologist, mold, or pollen specialist, create folders for:
Microscopy Pictures - a sample library organization
to be sorted - this is a general import photo directory
Ustilaginales SMUT MILDEWS
Animals, Fibers, Insects, Other
First Pass Screening Microscopic Photo Collection by Family or Type
Using a schema similar to the above, we place one or two representative photos of each spore of a general class (Ascomycetes) in the
root directory Ascomata and then place all of the additional reference photos of each Genera/Species within its own
On recognizing a spore as an Ascomycete, we can quickly scan through the Ascomycete library of
representative photos, pick candidates, and look at more photos in their detailed subdirectories where there will be
photos of more spore variations and details.
Saccardo organization for Mold Spore Photographs
we have experimented with forcing my higher level reference directory photos into a Saccardo schema, particularly under
the Mitospore category, but it's been tough to maintain this order. Scrolling through the library is so fast that
it's easy enough to spot and scan, for example, hyaline allantospores that we stopped forcing those photos into a
false order and just order them by their individual names.
Using annotations, keywords, and data base search. we include keywords, annotations, comments, with each photo to
assist in identification, such as remarks from reference sources about distinguishing characteristics, habitat, etc.
I find the annotations extremely helpful, the keywords and search functions we use very little in my lab.
Typical photo annotations include:
Unique identifying features to look for
Other similar spores or pollen grains to cross-check against
Reference text citation
Let me know how you succeed, or if you're having trouble obtaining successful, sharp photos with
good exposure, email me a photo or two. Sometimes by looking at a bad photo we can figure out what
camera or microscope changes might improve results.
We are working on a visual spore and pollen key, and currently have about 250,000 images on hand, but still I'm lacking
many of the common spores and pollen grains. Anyone willing to collaborate should send me a note.
Image file backups on trips
In the lab we make daily backups of my image library onto a second or even third device. One of these
is portable and is carried home each night so that we have off-site backup data. Once the volume of images
becomes substantial, use of a portable hard drive is more practical than writing CD's or DVD's.
We also carry an external hard drive on critical excursions, so that we can back up my photos
in at least two different media/physical devices. With a laptop along one can also write a CD or DVD for
non-volatile storage as well.
Photo Library Images Accessible from Anywhere
While cloud data storage services make it easy to access your digital photo library from anywhere, if like me you have hundreds of thousands of images, the cost and upload time may be a bit unwieldy.
A solution that I prefer with current technology is the use of a network-attached storage drive or NAS - also known as a "private cloud" data storage system. We illustrate the effectiveness of the private cloud device for storing a photographic database at the start of this article.
Western Digital provides both hardware and fairly simple software that allows complete access to all of my images all the time from anywhere, and from any device: office or laboratory computer, remote computers (secure password required), iPad, Android cellphone, etc.
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References for Digital Photography Through the Microscope - Micro Photography
A Short Course in Nikon Coolpix 990 Photography, Dennis P. Curtain, http://www.shortcourses.com - RECOMMENDED
Resolution of Digital Photomicrographs from Scanned Film, Theodore M. Clark, Microscopy Today, Feb/Mar 2001
Light, Michael I. Sobel, University of Chicago Press, 1987, ISBN 0-226-76751-5
ThumbsPlus image software, provides highly functional image database including basic editing, cropping, enlarging,
enhancement of photos, image organization, keywords and comments attached to each image, and search capability -
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for PC platforms. Typically less than $100. Network support available.
PhotoShop image editing software, provides sophisticated image editing, available for PC and Macintosh computer
platforms. Not recommended for reference library use - this is overkill for image editing and lacks good database
functions. Typically more than $400.
iPhoto image software, provides easy user interface and limited function to organize and print photos for MAC computer
platforms - not recommended, limited function, very wasteful of disk space, lacks good database functions. Free
included with new Apple computers or operating systems.
Photo Explosion image software - free from Microsoft with other OS purchases. Untried.
Picture Easy software from Kodak - free with some Kodak cameras, simple organizing and photo manipulation.
Nikon View software - free from Nikon with purchase of Coolpix cameras, easy image import and simple image
manipulation and printing. Great for printing contact sheets of photos (which themselves are pretty useless).
 Thumbs Plus image data base software from Cerious software, www.cerious.com is a top choice low-cost option), and
will be searched-through for reference purposes
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Kansas State University, department of plant pathology, extension plant pathology web page on wheat rust fungus: see http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/path-ext/factSheets/Wheat/Wheat%20Leaf%20Rust.asp
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home",
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
US EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building [Copy on file at /sickhouse/EPA_Mold_Remediation_in_Schools.pdf ] - US EPA
US EPA - Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
"Disease Prevention in Home Vegetable Gardens,"
Department of Plant Microbiology and Pathology,
Department of Horticulture, University of Missouri Extension - extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6202
Fifth Kingdom, Bryce Kendrick, ISBN13: 9781585100224, is available from the InspectAPedia online bookstore - we recommend the CD-ROM version of this book. This 3rd/edition is a compact but comprehensive encyclopedia of all things mycological. Every aspect of the fungi, from aflatoxin to zppspores, with an accessible blend of verve and wit. The 24 chapters are filled with up-to-date information of classification, yeast, lichens, spore dispersal, allergies, ecology, genetics, plant pathology, predatory fungi, biological control, mutualistic symbioses with animals and plants, fungi as food, food spoilage and mycotoxins.
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones