Solutions

Documenting America's Past
FileMaker Pro is a long–established fixture in the Imaging and Photograph Services department at the Smithsonian.

Smithsonian Institution Office of Photographic Services

At the Smithsonian Institution's Office of Photographic Services, documenting photographic materials is as vital as the actual creation of those images, and indexing can be a complicated job, especially when the indexing system must work across platforms. But cross–platform flexibility is a central feature of the latest version of FileMaker Pro, the award–winning database software application from FileMaker, Inc.

Overview

  • The Smithsonian Institution Office of Photographic Services continues to develop and expand its use of FileMaker Pro.

Industry

  • Government
  • Non-Profit

FileMaker Pro allowed me to develop a customized, in–house solution that fit these requirements in a short time and with minimal effort.

—John Jones, the Office's Chief of Image and Photographic Collections

Business Challenge

FileMaker Pro is a long–established fixture in the Imaging and Photograph Services department at the Smithsonian. "We generate hundreds of images daily," explains John Jones, the Office's Chief of Image and Photographic Collections. "We use FileMaker Pro to log orders, maintain customer information, and to manage our film library and as a front end to our digital image archives. FileMaker Pro allowed me to develop a customized, in–house solution that fit these requirements in a short time and with minimal effort."

Successful Solution

And now, with the arrival of the latest version of FileMaker Pro, John welcomes even greater flexibility and organizing power to the office. "FileMaker Pro's expanded connectivity has been a boon to our Office working in a mixed platform environment," he says. "The configuration for ODBC is easy to setup and has brought the tremendous power of data exchange to the Mac. The value of being able to connect to enterprise level systems and use FileMaker's extensive user friendly tool set to manipulate the data is immeasurable. It brings this one rarefied capability to almost every user level. "

John is particularly impressed with the new version's rock–solid stability, especially when paired with Mac OS X. "We now have the incredible stability of UNIX and FileMaker's traditionally robust and user friendly interface in one place," he observes. "Speed, stability, and ease of use: these are the properties that have always been the penultimate goal of computer applications but until now have seemed mutually exclusive. FileMaker Pro and Mac OS X combined provide just that."

Features like easy, flexible scripting are still vital components in FileMaker Pro, and these are features which form the groundwork for John's system. "For our FileMaker-based image archiving solution, we set up drop boxes on servers distributed around the Smithsonian campus," he explains.

We generate hundreds of images daily. We use FileMaker Pro to log orders, maintain customer information, and to manage our film library and as a front end to our digital image archives.

— John Jones, the Office's Chief of Image and Photographic Collections

"Our photographers deposit their finished images in them and an AppleScript then processes the web derivatives used for FileMaker's search display and uploads the full size images to our image archive. During the upload process, information about each image including, file size, creation and modification dates, pixel dimensions, etc. are loaded into FileMaker via AppleScript. This totally automates the process of archiving and database updates, and gives us one click access, through a FileMaker search, to any image file in our system."

As for FileMaker Pro's XML capabilities? John's jazzed about them too: "I am very excited about the possibilities of this technology," he notes."As more and more of our enterprise level applications migrate to XML-based systems the ability to dynamically interact with XML content will be an imperative. Looking forward, I believe FileMaker's XML support will be very important to us."

Customer Benefits

Throughout its history, the Smithsonian has documented the advance of American technology — small wonder then that its staff finds so much use for ever–improving technologies like FileMaker Pro.

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker, Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For Smithsonian Institution Office of Imaging and Photographic Services:

John Jones
Chief of Image and Photographic Collections
Smithsonian Institution Office of Imaging and Photographic Services
202-633-3752
http://photos.si.edu
jonesjc@oipp.si.edu