Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Welcome to the CollectiveAccess support forum! Here the developers and community answer questions related to use of the software. Please include the following information in every new issue posted here:

  1. Version of the software that is used, along with browser and version

  2. If the issue pertains to Providence, Pawtucket or both

  3. What steps you’ve taken to try to resolve the issue

  4. Screenshots demonstrating the issue

  5. The relevant sections of your installation profile or configuration including the codes and settings defined for your local elements.

If your question pertains to data import or export, please also include:

  1. Data sample

  2. Your mapping

Answers may be delayed for posts that do not include sufficient information.

Understanding CA Handling of Images


I am brand new to CA and so apologize for asking elementary questions. I am curious as to how CA handles the storage of images. Normally, it is considered poor practice to store photos or images in SQL or MySQL databases. Indeed, there is an entire industry devoted to media storage with DAM and MAM products. So, I am curious about the CA software package and what the solution to that is.

I think it would help me if I could see a picture of the basic architecture of the software bundle with the different functionalities called out and what components of the CA package handle these functionalites; and what its basic "stack" is. I understand from one user that an Apache server is used, so that takes care of web hosting, but still leaves me wondering about other types of media. Also, is there anything that can be used or integrated into the system for media like videos?




  • CA only stores the references to the media (filenames) in MySql.  The actual files are stored in the Media subdirectory pointed to by the Media link in both Pawtucket and Providence and named in the Setup configuration file.

    For each image, CA creates 13 images called
    page, origina, preview170, mediumlarge, medium, widepreview, widethumbnail, tiny, small, preview, thumbnail, icon and large.
    It uses these at different point in displaying information about the record that includes the media file.

    This list if for the front media, multifile media also has other files but only original, page_preview, preview and large_preview.

    At least this is what I see on my system.

    Gordb (just a user)

  • That's all accurate! The only thing I'd add is that you can change the number and characteristics of the generated media. We generate 13 by default, but you can do more or less if you wish. We're looking to trim the number we generate in upcoming versions of CA.
  • Hello,

    Thanks very much for the clarification. That makes more sense. Just to be sure I understand, what you're saying is that the images are stored in a flat folder system, and the url path is called out (by php I think) for the proper display image size to fit the particular web page rendered by the user. Did I get that right? Is it possible to integrate a separate program like Fedora for more robust media storage and have the url path lead to the location of the asset in a third party system?

    Also, what about media such as audio files and videos? If they have to be stored separately in a DAM system, can CA integrate with them?

    I didn't hear if there was an architecture picture for the software somewhere in the documentation showing the components and their relationship to each other.



  • I am also brand new to CA and trying to make sense of it. After reading this thread, I am trying to understand image storage. Should we store hi-res versions offline, and then upload lo-res versions to CA? 
  • You can do whatever makes sense for your application. Oftentimes the limiting factor is storage. Does the server you're running CA on have enough storage for all of your high resolution images? If not, then you might try to make it all fit by storing the large files offline. The downside to not storing the highest resolution images that you have in CA is that they won't be available for download. You'd have to go and find them on whatever medium they're archived on.
Sign In or Register to comment.