Just found this website and it's very informative, even without The DAM Book, which I've ordered and am awaiting.
My situation is probably pretty familiar to some of you. I'm just a hobbyist photographer. I switched from film to digital around 2002. Since then, the number of photos I've taken increased drastically. Especially after I started some sports photorgraphy. With the increase in the number of photos, my old method of organizing isn't working.
My old method? I didn't really have one. I stuck all my photos in folders according to camera and date. So I had a folder for my DSLR, a subfolder called 2007, and 12 subfolders within that. I used Photoshop Elements 3 as my editor and organizer. If I liked a photo, I'd "tag" it. The way it handled tags was fine for small number of photos, but it's not so good for large number of photos. Plus, my wife and I haven't been very consistent with our use of tags. So we have situations like this: my wife wanted a photo we took of a pumpkin patch. PSE 3 has the ability to restrict the view to certain months. So she looked in every October folder we have and couldn't find it.
That coupled with the fact that PSE 3 can't handle RAW files made me buy Photoshop CS3. At first, I really liked the Bridge interface. Then I realized that it's not truly an organizer, it's just a fancy folder viewer. So while I'm very happy with Photoshop and with Camera Raw, I'm not really happy with my ever growing collection of photos that I can't search.
So I'm hoping that, with the help of this forum and The DAM book, I'll eventually have my collection better organized.
1) buy a new computer (no this isn't a drastic step. I've been planning to buy a new computer for a while, so I might as well start fresh on the new computer rather than possibly breaking PSE by renaming and reorganizing everything).
2) Import all the files to the new computer.
3) Rename (which I guess is optional), reorganize, and (most importantly) add keywords to the files.
4) Use a DAM software to access that is now organized.
I assume this process will actually take a while, so I'll be doing it in chunks. I haven't decided what DAM software to use. I know MediaPro is highly regarded here. But I'm scared that Microsoft will abandon the software. That's not nearly as much of a concern with Lightroom. I'm hoping that Lightroom will be "good enough" for my non-professional use, but I'll see once I get the demo.