Image databases vary significantly in ease-of-use and level of functionality. They keep track of your files, provide search and retrieval functions, supply an access interface, monitor level and type of usage, and provide some security by controlling who gets access to what. No one tool is likely to meet all your needs, and even the most carefully chosen set of tools needs to be regularly re-evaluated to determine if it's still the best choice.
General criteria for evaluating image databases include the following:
categories of image database systems
Common desktop databases are fairly low cost and simple to use, but limited in size and functionality.
Client-server database applications are more costly and more sophisticated than desktop databases, but are correspondingly more difficult to use and maintain.
Specialized image management systems can offer a complete off-the-shelf solution with pre-defined data structures, but are more expensive and less flexible in terms of customizability and compatibility.
More library systems are becoming image-enabled. Those that are offer good linkage between existing catalog records and digital images, but suffer from lack of standardization and a preference for item-level linking. Library systems staff may not be prepared to take on the additional burden of managing large image collections. However, this is an area of intensive development. More library systems are now accommodating image databases. A detailed look at some of the products is available in Digital Object Library Products.
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