What are indexes?
As the name implies, Index Manager uses what we refer to as indexes - containers where it stores all the metadata it has extracted from the assets you add to the system.
You can think of an index as an collection of files, or assets - Archives are set up in FotoStation and FotoWeb and connect to the index and display its contents. It's also possible to configure clients with several archives that point to the same index, but by using search filtering they can display different content in each archive.
In its simplest form, the term "Index" refers to the folder in which Index Manager stores the files that contain searchable metadata that is extracted from files in the attached document folders. However, most of the time you will find that the term refers to the folder with the actual index and the attached document folders as a collective unit. In other words, it is used about what a FotoStation or FotoWeb user would typically refer to as an Archive. Although the context will often reveal which of the two we are referring to, we will make an effort to clarify the distinction when that is called for.
Everything related to creating and configuring indexes is done on the Indexes tab in the configuration window.
How do indexes work?
Index Manager scans the document folders that you configure in the Operations Center and creates a reverse index of the content. The index itself is binary and is not human readable. After an index has been created, updating mechanisms in Index Manager make sure the index is updated when new files come into the watched folders or are removed. This way they reflect the actual state of the files in the DAM system and serve this information to FotoStation and FotoWeb clients.
How to create and set up an index
Before creating an index, you should know that it really consists of two basic entities: First, a folder that contains the data the it extracts from the assets in the archive. Secondly, a number of "document folders" which are the folders that contain the actual files you want to give clients access to.
The first folder with the data is simply a placeholder for the binary index data. You should make sure to place this on the fastest available local drive. That's because Index Manager will need to read from and write to this folder extensively. The document folders can be folders on a local drive, a shared network drive or a SAN. Even a NAS can sometimes work.