Back in the 1990s there were CD-ROMs containing a large collection of pictures split across several folders, where each folder would have a "catalog" file at the top. This file was basically a picture containing thumbnails of everything inside the folder, with a file name underneath each thumbnail.

Here is an example [source]:


How were these "catalog" files created? In other words what program created the picture above?

  • 3
    I'm pretty sure I could have whipped something like that up in Turbo C/C++ pretty quickly. Scan the directory and add the scaled bitmap and file name in a particular grid.
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 24, 2021 at 14:16
  • 1
    There's a folder full of viewers. Probably one of them. cd.textfiles.com/gifsgalore/VIEWERS
    – enhzflep
    Jun 24, 2021 at 14:18

3 Answers 3


Found the program, it's called Graphics Display System or GDS for short, version 2 specifically.

Looking into the metadata of the catalog picture, I stumbled on this tag: Profile-gif:gdscatalog2
So I went searching in the parent directories for anything starting with 'gds' and found a program called 'Graphics Display System'. After acquiring and testing several versions of it I determined that version 2 produced the exact same result as the catalog picture I have.

Thanks for all the suggestions!


It could well have been ImageMagick, which has been around since 1987, is free, and can do this kind of thing: I've used it for batch production of thumbnails.

Taking a look at the metadata of these images might provide clues.

  • 2
    Though chances of commercial producers of CD-ROMs using ImageMagick instead of something in-house are pretty slim.
    – dirkt
    Jun 25, 2021 at 3:26
  • I worked for a CD-ROM publisher in 1987-88. They were pretty low-budget operations, and concentrated their software efforts on stuff they could not source externally. Jun 25, 2021 at 5:58
  • The metadata did have a clue and I found the program, thank you for the hint! ImageMagick looks interesting though so I'll give it a try.
    – Ben
    Jun 25, 2021 at 12:28
  • 1
    I doubt ImageMagick would use this font (it’s not a popular one), and I doubt it would put a resolution next to some, but not all images. Jun 25, 2021 at 13:46

I did this kind of catalogs for my mp3 CD's simply with Thumbs Plus for batch resizing of the covers and assembled them simply with MS-Paint. I created a new empty picture of the right amount of pixels to be able to print it in 300dpi. I used the batch resize function of Thumbs Plus to resize all images to the right size and then would simply copy/paste each image in that empty image. Save and voilà. Catalog cover in the right size for a a CD jewel case in 5 minutes.

You can also use the Thumbs Plus program directly to make such catalogs. PS: I have no link to that program, I only use it since I have a PC (1995).

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