I've googled about this for a while but to no avail. I have a huge amount of photos stored in several media and backed up in a cloud. Shotwell generates pretty large thumbnails which are quite good for getting an idea of both subject and quality of a photo. The thumbnails are organized in groups based on timestamps and original folders. I'd like to be able to browse a complete collection of the thumbnails even when the program has no access to a complete collection of the real photos (as a matter of fact, I don't have a complete collection of the photos in a single storage device). This would be very convenient to me for several reasons; I could browse them from several PCs with differently named home folders, I could tag them according to their storage location etc. The whole collection of the thumbnails would be reasonably light and I could easily update it with rsync. However, if Shotwell doesn't find the actual photos, it automatically moves the corresponding thumbs under a missing pictures heading and their structure is lost.
I have tried to directly import the thumbs into Shotwell, but the original timestamps and tags are gone. A possible way out would be, to automate a process of thumbnail generation and of folder structure generation based on timestamps, but before getting entangled in that I thought I better ask a question here. Do you know any tricks or tweaks -- or can you recommend any specific programs -- that would allow me to browse a (huge) collection of thumbnails without having access to the originals? I have a sense that programs of this kind must be in use somewhere but, as I said, I couldn't find out any. Thanks!