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The full text search

The aim of the development of PicApport is to find photos without too much effort. As an introduction we would like to briefly explain the possibilities of the full text search in PicApport.

Of course PicApport can do much more. See also the links at the end of this page.

What information can be searched for?

PicApport distinguishes between four types of information (metadata) that are stored in a photo (see the example image below):

  • File name and path to photo file (yellow in picture)
    As the example below shows, a lot can be achieved by a clever choice of directory names.

  • Shooting date (red in picture)
    This information is present in every photo (if the actual shooting date is not present in the photo metadata, the creation date of the .jpg file will be used).

  • Metadata in the photo file (blue in the picture)
    Via additional programs (e.g. RAW converter or also with PicApport) it is possible to assign further information (metadata) to a photo.

  • Additional metadata obtained from synonym dictionaries (thesaurus) (green in picture)
    This is a very powerful tool to increase the hit rate when searching for photos.

Once the PicApport Server has been configured, it searches regularly for new images in the predefined directories.

For each new found photo PicApport tries to extract as many "words" as possible from the existing metadata and offer them for search.
Special characters or words with less than 3 letters etc. are eliminated. The following picture should show this process by means of a vacation photo.

(Just click on the picture to enlarge it)

Why do I need a thesaurus? (Synonym dictionary)

Definition (Source: Wikipedia) A synonym is a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another lexeme (word or phrase) in the same language.....

Often the photos of the own photo collection come from different sources. The pictures were then often already provided with metadata.

A typical example would be pictures you get from friends or relatives. E.g. you may use the word journey for vacation journeys of but you son uses the word vacation. A search for journey will not find then the pictures made by the son which have been tagged with vacation.

Other typical use cases for synonym dictionaries are:

  • Summary of similar / synonymous words such as
    • Mother, mom, mommy, mum
    • Shrovetide, carnival
  • Different spellings of names:
    • Eric, Erik, Erick
  • Simple singular / plural adjustments
    • Photo, Photos
    • Journey, journeys, holiday, holidays
  • Simple subsequent correction of spelling mistakes.
    Sometimes it takes years to find out that you have misspelled a name or a word in the metadata of the photos.
    With a thesaurus entry the problem can be solved quickly without having to change the metadata of the affected photos.
    Example: Jugoslavia(wrong) Yugoslavia(right)

How to create a synonym dictionary is described in The directory structure of the PicApport Server (under the entry picapport/thesaurus) including a well documented example file.

Phonetic Search

Definition (Source: Wikipedia) A phonetic algorithm is an algorithm for indexing of words by their pronunciation. Most phonetic algorithms were developed for use with the English language consequently, applying the rules to words in other languages might not give a meaningful result.

Since version 7.5 PicApport supports phonetic search (Double Metaphone is default on English servers)  with the ~~Operator (double tilde operator).

Example:  Input ~~Salvador should find Salvador, Salvadore, Salvadori, Salvati, Salvatore

And what is Fuzzy-Search?

Under Fuzzy-Search we summarize in the documentation the use and configuration of the phonetic search, the synonym dictionary and the tilde(~) operators.

In connection with the phonetic search, the thesaurus and the Tilde(~) operators, PicApport offers several configuration options. For example, it can be defined whether each search query should be automatically searched in the thesaurus and/or via the phonetic search or not.

See also: fuzzysearch.* Thesaurus configuration (synonym dictionary) and phonetic search  in PicApport-Server Guide

Find photos with the map

Modern cameras and mobile phones make it possible to add a geo-tag to photos as soon as they are taken. It is also possible to create geo-tags for photos afterwards, e.g. with PicApport.

If photos are provided with a geo-tag, these can be queried very easily via the integrated map module of PicApport.

A short video tutorial can be found here:

Browse the photo collection with relative search

If one has found photos over the full text search, these are often thematically not coherent. Using the relative search, a new query can now be started from a certain photo (thumbnail):

  • Photos from the same day

  • Photos from the same month

  • Photos from the same year

  • Photos within the same hour

  • Photos in the same directory

  • Photos nearby (if GPS information is available)

  • Photos with the same tags (selectable)

The following screenshot shows how it works:

The Timeline and the Directory Browser

Typically, photos are stored on the server in a hierarchical directory structure. Related photos are stored in a directory.
Example: \photos\2019\07-vacation-in-italy

The directory browser can be accessed directly from the PicApport start page (landing page) via "Folders" and allows navigation through the directory structure configured for the PicApport server.

The Timeline (since version 8.1) displays all directories in their temporal context, regardless of their position in the directory tree. Decisive for
the position (chronological order) of a directory in the Timeline is the oldest photo in the directory. The timeline is always sorted in descending order and thus allows access to current photos with only 2 clicks. It shows the name of the directory and the title of the first photo found. If the title is in ( ) there are photos with different titles in the directory.

The built-in filter function within the timeline allows full text filtering on directory names and titles. You can also filter by year by entering a four-digit number. The following screenshot shows the individual elements and possibilities of the opened Timeline.

Die Timeline can be controlled with User Options. The timeline is also controled by a user permission: "Permission to use the Timeline. (Visibility: Timeline)" (see: PicApport - Usermanagement)

Of course you can also try out the timeline in the online demo:

The Keywordbrowser

The keyword browser can be used to query keywords, persons and MyTags. A long click with the mouse or finger opens a context menu with further options.

Further topics

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