I won't do your research but the areas you may want to explore are:
1. EXIF editors (too many out there for me to tell about)
2. Contact Sheet creation.
http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm for instance notes it's contact sheet creator and IRFANVIEW should be looked over to see if you can achieve your effect from the EXIF comment to where you want said text.
I have used many photo editing programs (Picasa2 is my current favorite) but I have not found a way to add a short caption that discribes a photo and have it actually print superimposed over the bottom portion of the photo image. Can someone tell me how to do this with Picasa or provide the name(s) of programs that will let me do this?