Several years ago, I began a public service type project that’s designed to digitize and share historical images of Indiana. The project has evolved and over the past 2+ years I’ve uploaded over 6,700 historical images to Flickr and accumulated 1.25 million views. I wasn’t using Flickr in the way it was intended, but it worked well until Flickr made site changes on May 20. I need to re-create this project elsewhere.
The project involves uploading low-res historical images in JPG format with metadata created in Adobe Bridge. All of these images are associated with one of 92 counties in the state and nearly all are associated with a city or town. Often, these primary images are accompanied by additional detailed close-up images, also in JPG format and displayed on separate pages. At Flickr, I cross-linked each detailed close-up with the primary image by including URLs in the descriptions of both the detailed close-up and the primary image.
The primary images were all assigned (during the upload process) to Flickr sets that I had created. There is one set for each county, separate sets for the largest cities, and topical sets for such things as railroad depots, covered bridges, and county court houses. Each primary image was assigned to either the relevant county or city set (not both—in order to minimize the sizes of the sets). Many images (both primary and a few detailed close-ups) are also assigned to one or more topical sets.
My Flickr Photostream is here, but this is the new Flickr. Visually, it’s not what I’m interested in re-creating. I don’t have a screen shot of the old Flickr, but Ipernity.com seems to have set their site up as a clone of the old Flickr. It’s the only way I know of getting at least a vague sense of what I was seeing and working with in the old Flickr. I have researched WordPress and it appears to be the best option for re-creating my project on a self-hosted web site.
My WordPress objectives for core functionality:
1. Initially, re-create my Flickr project by copying info from Flickr or uploading images en mass from my PC if necessary
2. Set up MYSQL to handle the various image categories and all the metadata and keywords in the existing and future JPG image data
3. Allow each primary image and the thumbnails of all related close-ups of that primary image to be placed together on the same page (rather than using the URLs to link separate pages as I did in Flickr) along with the detailed description
4. Allow visitors to open the detailed close-up images and view them (in a separate movable window?) alongside the primary image
5. Re-create all the Flickr sets (albums in WordPress?), establishing relationships between the separate city sets and their respective county sets
6. Make the sets easy to manage as new images are uploaded in the future
7. Make it easy for visitors with minimal skills to navigate and find the groups of related images they’re searching for
I’ll want a custom map widget too, but I’ve been more successful in finding available WordPress plugins for that. I’ll want a blog for later use too, but that seems to be an element that will be easy to deal with.
I will be hiring a developer, but first want to get a better understanding of the general possibilities and limitations before talking with the candidates.
My initial WordPress questions:
1. Can someone point to a WordPress-based example of this type of project?
2. What sort of special attention (if any) will the database require? (For example, a custom taxonomy to deal with the variety of image categories: postcards, advertisements, letterheads, scripophily, etc.? Other issues?)
3. Can most of this project be accomplished with existing themes and plugins?
4. If so, what do I look for in terms of a suitable theme from a technical perspective? (I’m looking for WordPress-based websites that are technically similar to what I think I’ll need, but found only one so far that uses separate close-up images. I’m thinking real estate or architectural sites will be most likely to be laid out with such images and am still searching.)
5. What sort of plugins are likely to be necessary to create the individual image pages and the sets pages? (I’ve reviewed dozens of gallery and other types of plugins and found this one that seems to show an example of what I have in mind for displaying the detailed close-up images.)
6. Are there any major technical hurdles not covered by the above questions?
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