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anyone use a controlled vocabulary?

PhilBurton

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If you use a controlled vocabulary, which one? What is your experience using the keywords, and adding your own keywords. If you had to start all over, would you still use that controlled vocabulary?

I am now trying to establish a keyword hierarchy that can allow easy additions, without reworking the hierarchy. I'm an "advanced amateur," and not a stock photographer. So I'm wondering if it would be helpful or not to purchase a controlled vocabulary.

Phil Burton
 
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I investigated using a Controlled Vocabulary (I think I started here: Controlled Vocabulary: your site for information on Keyword, Hierarchical Classification, Thesauri, Taxonomy and Subject Heading systems used to describe images in databases (Thesaurus, facet classification, hierarchy)) Every one that I found added far too many keywords. Most of which would never be utilized since my Images specialized in Nature, mostly birds and insects (elephant keywords would have been redundant) unless I travel to Africa or South Asia. Once I understood the controlled vocabulary keywords structure, it was pretty easy to construct a flexible structure to fit my special needs. Having an understanding of taxonomic ranks: species, genus, family, order, class, phylum make expanding my abbreviated controlled vocabulary a simple task.
 
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Cletus has given an excellent summary!
The value of a controlled vocabulary is to show one how it is done.
Cletus is absolutely correct in stating that it is almost impossible to find a controlled vocabulary that suits YOUR needs. Usually one ends up with thousands of redundant keywords...

My interests are all forms of outdoor photography and I photograph wherever I can. In this scenario geographic location is an intrinsic part of keywording for me. I currently live in Australia (and obviously photograph a lot here) and as such my controlled vocabulary contains locational data down to suburb and village level for EVERY location in Australia, without exception. The same is true for other countries around the globe where I have actually shot....

And then we move on to keywords for birds, animals, fish, invertebrates, plants and trees....
These keywords are designed around current biological taxonomic data...

All told, my controlled vocabulary has tens of thousands of keywords (last time I bothered checking it was north of 30 000)!

Hopefully, you are reading this and thinking that what I have done is the height of folly!
And this is an appropriate response...unless of course your interests and outlook in life exactly reflect mine - highly unlikely!

For someone with different interests, or, even the same interests but different philosophy trying to use my controlled vocabulary would just be highly frustrating and counterproductive. Rather, the value of what I have done is to give others ideas about how one can classify objects and organise a keyword hierarchy, as well as the practical process of keywording across different hierarchies to get an image comprehensively and completely keyworded.
This then allows one to get to grips with a controlled vocabulary that suits one's own needs and interests.

Once one knows and understands the patterns and taxonomies involved then actually putting a hierarchical controlled vocabulary together is actually simple. Yes, it takes a bit of time to actually enter all the keywords, but it may not be necessary to complete all parts of a controlled vocabulary up front as long as the framework is in place. As a simple example I have every single country in the world listed, however, most of them have no child keywords listed. If I ever get around to going to Turkmenistan then part of the preparation for that trip will involve completing that part of the hierarchy.

For me, although my controlled vocabulary has obvious utilitarian purpose there is also a whole other rationale for my approach. Especially with regard to the birds and wildlife all those unused keywords serve as great motivation, a bucket list if you will, for a task that is yet incomplete!

If you do get hold of any controlled vocabularies then my strong advice is to not try and use them. Learn from them...and then create your own...

Tony Jay
 

PhilBurton

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Tony and Clee

Thanks for these perspectives. I have been torn between wanting to buy a "completed" controlled vocabulary and the realization that no one can really do that for me. I've concluded that for me, who is not a stock photographer, a controlled vocabulary aimed at the general public, would fall far short of my keywording needs. And then there is the learning curve.

As a railroad enthusiast, at the same time that I did the initial posting of this thread, I also posted a question about controlled vocabularies on a rail interest mailing list. No responses yet. I also did some searching on WikiPedia, so I now have a list of all 700 or so operating railroads in the US. However, most of them are "short times" in one small geographic area. So I've decided to start off with the names of the seven "Class 1" railroads in the US and Canada, plus some names of railroads that have been taken over or merged into these seven Class 1s. Same for the names of the largely national railroads in countries all over the world. I can start with the names of the systems of countries I have actually visited. I'll probably never get to Benin or Pakistan.

However, being prone to "overthinking" or "paralysis by analysis" I had to verify my own conclusions with those of people in this really great forum.

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I'm also in the midst of editing and updating my keywords. I looked at controlled vocabulary things to purchase but none really covered what I want to do . Instead I, rather stupidly, started out with a flat keyword structure that proved unwieldy. I'm slowly implementing a hierarchical one that is fine tuned to what I actually take pictures of.

The thing I'm struggling with is how to properly structure my hierarchy. For example I take lots of pictures of sheep, I need to keyword them by sheep breed (BWMS, Shetland, Churro, etc.), that they are sheep (so include animal and perhaps mammal although I am also considering the scientific taxonomy so might switch to Bovidae Ovis aries with a synonym of sheep, by sex(ram, ewe, wether), by age (lamb, hogget, mutton) and often by name or registration number for our own sheep.

I'm trying to plan out my hierarchy on paper first then implement in LR.
 

PhilBurton

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I'm also in the midst of editing and updating my keywords. I looked at controlled vocabulary things to purchase but none really covered what I want to do . Instead I, rather stupidly, started out with a flat keyword structure that proved unwieldy. I'm slowly implementing a hierarchical one that is fine tuned to what I actually take pictures of.

The thing I'm struggling with is how to properly structure my hierarchy. For example I take lots of pictures of sheep, I need to keyword them by sheep breed (BWMS, Shetland, Churro, etc.), that they are sheep (so include animal and perhaps mammal although I am also considering the scientific taxonomy so might switch to Bovidae Ovis aries with a synonym of sheep, by sex(ram, ewe, wether), by age (lamb, hogget, mutton) and often by name or registration number for our own sheep.

I'm trying to plan out my hierarchy on paper first then implement in LR.
Oogie,

I've already gotten some replies to my posting on a rail enthusiast forum. Here is part of one reply:

The important thing is to have labeling somewhere attached to the image, be it keywords, caption or image name. What you do not want is only "_IMG_1576_CR2" or "Scan_000078300." You will never find that shot you want otherwise. :)



When it comes to detailing a particular image, I am sorry but I do not have a diesel model list. You might go to RailPictures.net, act like you are submitting a diesel shot and under the model category there is a drop down menu that is probably the most complete diesel model list you will find.


Railpictures.net is a rail enthusiast website. Perhaps there are websites for photographs of sheep and other domestic animals. Just wondering.

Phil Burton
 
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Perhaps there are websites for photographs of sheep and other domestic animals.
I know the contents I want to add as the keyword, just playing with best options. When all else fails I can go to the NAGP database of germplasm, all the breeds I have pictures of are there and ic an use their same terminology. They go by family, genus, species, breed or variety to sort their collection.

I'm currently going tot play a bit with importing keywords. Trying to plan the keywords outside LR and then import and then apply new keywords. Also trying to coordinate the keyword sets with my stepdad so that eventually we can combine our respective catalogs into one, we will share all the digital pictures. I'm his off site backup and he is mine for all critical files. We're also coordinating our combined huge digitization project for older film pictures. We worked together on it with my stuff for about 8 hours over the holidays.

In effect we are creating our own controlled vocabulary since we share many similar subjects.
 

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I too have tons of animal and geographic keywords. When I switched back to Lr from Aperture I started with a couple of controlled vocab lists, but then I had to tweak so much I gave up. I found I was more likely to find stuff if I used idiosyncratic and original keywords, ones I had made up. Maybe cuz I remembered 'em better, or maybe because I had to think of how to classify, I don't know. I began to see that the controlled lists would maybe be more useful as they are in databases, where several users all have to be on the same page (or term) when they describe a bird, or building, or whatever. So that everyone can find it.

And controlled lists work best if you really stick to them. If you start adding stuff, then you can easily end up with ambiguous duplicates. I.e. you might add one in a different hierarchy not realizing you've got one already. So you end up searching for keywords to make sure you don't already have it, and that is a bit more work with a long list.

I found I got some of the utility of the lists by making more and more use of the keyword sets. So if I'm at the beach and shot a bunch I know I'll have sea birds, so I have a keyword set with a bunch of them. Or a set for rating. Or a set for competitions. And I also got Any Tag plugin, which makes it easier to get a keyword by typing in. And finally, I started using Photo Mechanic, which has stationary, which acts like vocab lists in some ways. I have complete sets of keywords and location data for certain locations, like if I were to visit say Ansel Adams National Park (not one, but maybe some day...). You might be able to do some of that with Bridge, IIRC.
 
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