GRAYnomad Nature Photography :: SiiMAN

SiiMAN :: Catalogue
Simple image management program


The Catalogue workspace is where the majority of keywording and captioning is performed.

On entry to this workspace the photos that were tagged in the Workbench are presented as thumbnail images on a "film strip" along the bottom of the screen. The photo that was selected on the Workbench will be the current photo in this workspace as well.


There are two methods to move the location of the current photo.

Previous/next buttons

Click on either the "Prev" or "Next" buttons to move the current location. The film strip will reflect the change and the new photo's details and image will be displayed. If you reach either end of the film strip the display will "wrap around" to the start or end of the list.

Film strip

The film strip shows as many thumbnails as will fit on the screen (18 in my case). The current photo's thumbnail is highlighted by being slightly higher than the others and also it has the "This photo" label above it.

To move another photo to the current location just click on its thumbnail.

Note that the current location is shown somewhat to the left of centre, this is because it's assumed that photos are mostly catalogued from left to right and it's better to see further ahead than behind.

I may make this location adjustable.

Text areas

There are six areas on the screen to enter text. All non-noisewords words entered into these fields are standardised and indexed for searching.

Caption, locality, AKA, and latin have been described in the Workbench section, these fields are entered manually or can be copied form another photo.

If any changes are made to these field's their background colour will change to yellow to indicate that the photo's information should be saved. If "Auto update record" is checked the data will be saved anyway, but if it's not checked you need to click the "Save" button before moving to another photo.


Blurb is an area for free text to further describe the photo, say an anecdote that details the making of the shot.

Clicking on the "Blurb" heading will enlarge the text area by dropping it down to cover the other fields. This makes entering large amounts of text easier.

Note that this text is automatically included on the photo's web page verbatim so HTML tags can be inserted as has been done here to bold two words (God's Portal) and also to provide a link to another photo.


This field holds words entered from three sources. You can manually type words in, they can come from the keywords clipboard area (see below) or from the categories selector (also below).

Search words

A "search word" is one that can be used to search the database for photos. All words entered in all fields are potentially used by the indexing system as search words. The words that will be used for the current photo (and their standardised versions) are displayed in the "Search words" panel.

This example is from a large-format black and white photo of mine called "Five Phantoms" (photo #00180). This is the same photo used in the "Blurb" example above, note that despite what must be 100s of words in the blurb and other fields there are only 18 search words here (and a couple of them could be removed as well).

This is because all the "noisewords" have been removed. Noisewords are words that don't add any value to a search, some obvious examples are "the", "and", "if" and most verbs.

However there may be other words that you want to define as noisewords, either for the entire system (global noisewords) or just for this photo (local noisewords).

These can be defined by clicking on the word in the list and then either clicking on the "Make selected word a GLOBAL noiseword" or "Make selected word a LOCAL noiseword" buttons.

Global noisewords

Global noisewords are those words that you are happy to ban for every photo in the system. In this example,

This is quite a popular place and, with an exposure of three minutes, it's almost impossible to get a photo with nobody in the shot. However I waited and waited until I was fairly sure there were no tourists on their way (even sent my wife up the track to check), tripped the shutter and started timing.

Probably every word could be made a global noiseword (an exception may be the word "tourist", it really depends on the nature of your typical subject matter).

Local noisewords

Local noisewords are those that don't really add to the search for this photo but may do so with other photos. In the following text from this example.

Just before making what must be my all time most popular image, <b><i>God's Portal</b></i>, I exposed another sheet of film in the more standard horizontal format that every Australian landscape photographer seems to do when standing inside the cave that is Natural Arch.

With the exception of "God" and "Portal" all of these words can probably be made global noisewords.

However what about the word "standard", this adds no value to searching for this photo but it may be useful when looking for photos of flags or people acting as "standard bearers".

This then is a good candidate for a local noiseword for this photo. Thus when you are looking for standard bearers at a later date you won't find the "Five Phantoms" image.

Another example.

Blow me down if some people didn't turn up within seconds of me opening the shutter. No problems, I thought, with an exposure this long they won't show up on the negative.

As above most of these are just words that will get in the way of a search and they can be made global noise words.

But what about the word "blow". It's of no use for this image, but how about when searching for "blow hole", "blowing up a bus", "wind blowing" etc.

"Long", no use here but if searching for "long vehicle" or a place called "long point".

"Show", also no use here but if searching for "show and tell", "circus", "broadway show".

As with "standard" these could be made a local noisewords and therefore left for use with other photos.

Copying fields to other photos

All the text fields can be copied to another photo by dragging the current photo's thumbnail on the film strip to another thumbnail.

As the mouse moves over a potential destination thumbnail that thumbnail will pop up indicating that it has the focus and can accept the data.

Releasing the mouse at this point will copy all the text fields to the destination photo.

To make it obvious what's happening and also which fields are being copied all those that are being copied will have the drop icon displayed at their right hand side, as follows.

Note that the categories are copied as well as it is considered reasonable that a photo with all the same details should also be a member of the same categories.

Naturally if some details are different the destination photo can still be edited.

If you change your mind just release the mouse over a clear area of the screen or on the current photo's thumbnail.


Categories are a way of grouping photos of similar subjects. A photo can belong to as many categories as makes sense, for example a shot of people standing near a waterfall might be "People", "Bushwalking", "Waterfalls", "Middle aged", "Family", "Outdoors" and maybe several other categories.

The photo's categories are shown in the "Categories" field.

This field contains a comma-delimited list of machine-friendly category codes and it cannot be manually edited. The list is automatically updated when categories are selected with the category selector.

Category selector

The category selector makes the job of selecting a photo's categories easier. It also shows the current categories a photo belongs to.

As this function uses a lot of screen real estate and it's not always required the selector pops out and in by clicking the "Show categories" button (which changes to a "Hide categories" button when the selector is visible).

In this example we see that the photo has been added to four categories.

Clicking on a non-selected category will add the photo to that category, clicking on a selected category will remove the photo from that category.

Each category has keywords assigned to it (these words are user-editable), as you add or remove a photo from a category so to are the category's keywords added or removed from the photo's keywords field.

Keyword clipboard

The Catalogue workspace has an area for storing common keywords. This area is called the "keyword clipboard".

The clipboard has 99 small cells for short words and 9 cells for long or multiple words. The cell a word belongs to is remembered by SiiMAN so next time you open the workspace they will all be in the same place.

Moving keywords around

Keywords can be dragged from one cell to another (small to small, large to large, but not large to small or vice versa) by shift-dragging the word. This allows them to be easily grouped.

Adding keywords to the photo

To add keywords to the photo simply double click on it/them and the word or words will be added to the photo's keyword list. Any duplicates will be removed regardless of where they came from (manualy typed, the category selector or this clipboard).

Other controls

There are five other controls.


This both indicates the current rating of the photo and can be used to change the rating. In the above example the photo has a rating of 4 stars.

Click on a star to change the rating.


Indicators show something about the photo and they are covered on the Workbench section. In this case because the photo has been recently imported the "i" indicator is active meaning that the photo was not included when the last search word indexing was performed.

Auto update record

This checkbox is used to cause SiiMAN to write all the changed information to the database automatically when you move to the next photo or close the workspace. This should normally be checked but if you make changes you don't want saved then uncheck it before moving to the next photo or closing the workspace.

Sync workbench on exit

When you close the Catalogue workspace and return to the Workbench the display will normally be as you left it. However sometimes it's useful to have the Workbench realign itself to display the photo you where just cataloging.

This checkbox will cause the Workbench to do just that, the current photo in the Catalogue workspace will become the first photo in the Workbench display.

Tag this photo

Photos have to be tagged to be displayed in the Catalogue workspace, but while here you may decide to untag an image. That's what this button is for. Having been untagged the image can be retagged with the same button.

Depicting of photos that can be indexed

A photo cannot have it's search words indexed until there are some, and in fact SiiMAN enforces that the caption, location, keywords and categories fields have at least some data before it will include the photo in the search word indexing.

This Catalogue workspace shows when a photo qualifies for indexing by giving it a white key line both when displayed as the current photo and also on the film strip. All photos that don't have enough data to be indexed have a black key line.

Note in the above that the current photo and the one before it have white key lines, these two photos will be indexed when next the indexing function is performed. At this point the others won't.



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