O.T. Appealing to the masses

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If I understand you correctly, you want to label your photos so other people can bring up any details you add to them. This is similar to Id(x) (ID3v2, ID4, etc) tags used for audio files. The tag stays with/inside of the file and gets passed along when you send it. The contents of a tag is called Metadata. Metadata is a key / value pair that describes an object like a picture, video, etc. While Id(x) tags are strictly designed for audio, photos have equivalents such as EXIF, IPTC IIM and XMP. I've added a couple of links to help you understand the standards but I'll give you a quick overview.
EXIF is added to a photo by your camera. Not all cameras support it. EXIF includes things like aperture, f-stop, shutter speed, date/time and so on. Things that your camera knows. EXIF doesn't know you're taking a photo of Uncle Joe.
IPTC IIM was created for the international press corps. Its purpose is to label photos so they can catalog / search them for news stories. The scope of IPTC IIM is limited because it was designed for the world of publishing. Using IPTC IIM, you could add metadata such as: Location: China Town, San Francisco.
XMP is a newer but well established standard that addresses the needs of everyone. That includes you. Adobe created XMP and made it an open standard. They also created an SDK / library and offer that for free. XMP allows you to add any metadata that you want to a photo or technically any file. You could add metadata such as: People: Uncle Joe, Granny Jones and Billy Bob or: Location: Uncle Joe's farm in Wichita Kansas.
The downside with any of these standards is that not all software supports them. Yet. XMP is catching on quickly and I'm fairly sure that every competitive photo management product will support it in the near future. Your best bet is to get a product that supports XMP and use it to tag all of your photos. Then tell the family to use it. Windows Vista supports XMP (or is supposed to according to MS) through its various methods of working with photos. Linux either supports it via Nautilus (file explorer) or will in the near future. Google's Picasa product is in the same boat as are most manufacturers of photo management software. I would recommend Picasa after they get XMP support completed. It's a good product and it's free.
As far as viewing XMP metadata on a webpage, you'd have to DAGS for some JavaScript to pull out the metadata and display it on the page. I don't think your original question was about web sites anyway. I would personally look for or make a python library to manage XMP metadata and make my own website with a framework like Django. Doing a tooltip would require a bit of JavaScript and possibly AJAX if you wanted to pull back all of the XMP data. It just depends on how many images per page, how much metadata is in the file and so on...
This link has a good summary of photo tagging: http://www.rideau-info.com/photos/labelling.html
This link pertains to open source support but has some good info about XMP: http://www.linux.com/feature/61029
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