Machine tags on Flickr

A friend recently alerted me to this post about machine tagging for film photos.

He suggested I might want to add similar tagging to FilmDev.

I did want to add machine tags to FilmDev (other than the obvious one it uses to link recipes to photos), but I was more interested in adding them to my own Flickr photos.

Because I always add my photos via the photo database webapp that I developed (photodb) it makes it fairly easy for me to add any style of machine tags I want to my photos.

Also, because I always store the Flickr photo id after uploading it makes it easy to re-tag all my existing Flickr photos too.

So I set about implementing it.

Using the really useful flickr machine tag browser (by Paul Mison) I was able to quickly determine the most sensible tags to add to my photos.

I have a mixture of film and digital photos on Flickr so had to come up with tags for both types of photos.

I ended up with this for digital photos:


camera:model=Canon EOS 20D
lens:make=Canon
lens:model=Canon17-85f/4.0-5.6
photodb:id=8429

I didn’t bother with tags for apertures and shutter speeds (even though I hold that information in photodb) as it seemed overkill for my uses.

I’ll come back to the photodb:id tag shortly.

For film photos I have something like:


camera:model=Olympus XA3
film:brand=Agfa
film:name=Agfa Vista 100
film:iso=100
film:format=35mm
photodb:id=15303

I don’t necessarily know what lens I used for a particular photo so I don’t record that and many of my film cameras don’t have interchangeable lenses anyway.

As I mentioned above I hold the Flickr photo id in photodb whenever I upload a photo so I am theoretically able to re-tag all my photos.

To do this I wrote the back-end code to set tags on a photo (photodb is written in Java) then hooked up an Ajax action to it.

I dug around for something I could use to show me the status of my re-tagging action (I had about 1700 photos to tag) and found JQuery PeriodicalUpdater so I wired that up to give me a countdown.

The last thing to mention is the photodb:id machine tag – predictably enough it refers to the id of the photo in photodb.

I hacked together a quick greasemonkey script to check for this tag and generate a link to that photo in photodb.

This makes it super-easy to link between the two websites (the ability to do that has been on my todo list for ages).

Oh yeah, as to the request to add them to FilmDev that prompted all this, I am still working on that (along with a bunch of other features).

Unlike photodb, real people use FilmDev so I can’t just hack together any old crap. 🙂

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