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Many years ago, I purchased Masterclips 1,250,000. It is a set of about 14 GB of images split between 28 or so CD's. The included MasterClips browsing software still works, more or less, on a modern Windows 7 system. However, the interface is quite old and clunky. For example, the middle mouse wheel is not supported, thumbnail images are tiny and dithered, and search is very slow. Also the MDI window management is horrible.

The images files themselves are freely accessible. Picasa or even Windows explorer work well for browsing the images. However the meta-data about each image (textual descriptions) is locked in binary *.DCF files. So the question is:

Is there any way to extract the textual descriptions (along with the associated filenames) from these MasterClips DCF files? Or is there a more recent version of the MasterClips browser available that is more pleasant to use?

Actually, I'm just curious what's up with the name: "EmilyMarieDaunt" (see below)

Some information that may help:

  • The MasterClips browser is version 1.0.0.7 (from details property page of the executable file: FrontLine.exe)
  • Copyright 1998
  • The "About" box refers to a license from RasterMaster Imaging Technology from Snowbound Software.
  • The "Open" dialog refers to *.DCF;*.PAQ files as GCG3 Library files.
  • There is a File menu option to create new *.DCF;*.PAQ files.
  • The most recent version of this software seems to be: ClipArt&More 3.5 Million. I'm not sure if this version uses the same catalog format.

I extracted the strings from 500 of the smaller DCF files. Interesting strings that came up often:

  • All the DCF files start with "EKIF" at the very beginning.
  • The name "EmilyMarieDaunt" occurs over 2,300 times.
  • "Sine Labore Nihil" also occurs over 600 times.
  • The date "04/11/90" occurs exactly as many times as "Sine Labore Nihil"
  • "1992 ACCUSOFT INC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED" occurs 48 times.

I have shared four of the DCF files for anyone who wants to inspect them:

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1  
what's up with the name ? Perhaps it's the name of the person who compiled them –  Sathya Oct 31 '10 at 18:36
    
The links 404'd. I'd like to inspect on if I could. –  skub Mar 20 '11 at 16:27
    
Maybe she's german??? Check out the .te files. dc2.ea.dundeecity.sch.uk/pages/MLPS/german_files The plot thickens... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micrografx –  skub Mar 20 '11 at 16:39
    
@skub: The links should work again. Please take a look! –  Leftium Mar 20 '11 at 17:45
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Sine Labore Nihil is Latin and means Nothing Without Work –  Wayne Johnston Mar 24 '11 at 1:32

1 Answer 1

DCF seems to be a standard and specifications exist, so there's no need for reverse-engineering.

Since DCF is based on EXIF, exifdump (a Python script) could probably be adapted to read them. That's gonna require a little programming, but will certainly be much easier than writing a parser from scratch.

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