Anyone an expert on the WinXP file system?

I’m thinking of writing a tutorial on how to use the Windows XP file system as a photo database.  My theory is based on the following premises:

  • people need a database method that will last 30+ years

  • very few software products have a 30+ year life

  • ergo, one cannot rely on a proprietary photo database and even reliance on a standard relational database management system (RDBMS) such as Oracle may be risky

  • the average consumer photographer does not have time/inclination to write computer programs nor to maintain an RDBMS

  • the Windows file system seems likely to outlive many of us

  • if you create a document using Notebook and click right on the file icon then select Properties you get to a page where a “Summary” tab is an option.  You now have the opportunity to edit Title, Subject, Author, Category, Keywords, and Comments fields.  These fields are searched if you use the built-in Windows file search mechanism and look for “a word or a phrase in a file”

  • ergo, Windows seems to have the capability of recording a photo caption, extra keywords, and indexing those

If you look at the properties of a Word document and click “Advanced” from the Summary tab you find a whole lot more properties and they are editable.  There is also a Custom tab on a Word document in which you can create your own property name/value pairs.  However these property values don’t seem to be searchable using the standard Windows search tool.  If you look at the properties of a JPEG taken with a digital camera and choose Advanced you see a huge list of “Image” properties separated from the default Windows file system Description and Origin fields.  Some but not all of these fields seem to be searchable.

So… to the questions:

  1. where are these file system features documented?

  2. is it possible to add, on a system-wide basis, an extra default property that will appear in the simple or advanced dialog boxes?

  3. how does one add extra properties to an individual file that wasn’t created in Office?  Is it possible through menus and dialog boxes?

  4. any other comments from an expert on the viability of using the Windows file system and its full-text indexer as a photo database?

Thanks for helping!  Posting ideas in the comment section is most welcome but email to would also be appreciated.

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