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Family Photo Keyword Hierarchy

Doug1234

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Hi There,

I've completed scanning 7000+ slides of my family and I'm anxious to begin keywording. I've read so much I'm going cross eyed, but I still don't understand what my hierarchy should look like. I've started down the road of a Who, What, Where, When approach, but don't know if this is the optimal approach. Would anyone be willing to share there family keyword hierarchy or comments on the approach? I've found truckloads of reading on actually applying the keywords, but I'm not worried about that part yet.

Thanks.
 
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Hi Doug, welcome to Lightroom Forums!

I would suggest simplicity is the way to go here.

Try this:
Create a non-exportable keyword (Capitalise it so you know that it is at the top of the hierarchy) - FAMILY.
All your family members will be placed inside this top-level keyword.
Exactly how these are organised will depend on the specifics of your family.
I am pretty sure that will be a simple hierarchy that makes sense for your situation.
(If you need to change it around at some point in time each keyword is easily reassigned by dragging-and-dropping so it is not a train smash if reorganisation is required.)

Do not mix the FAMILY hierarchy with such things as family events.
Create another top-level non-exportable keyword called FAMILY EVENTS and put in several child keywords such as weddings, birthdays, funerals, confirmations, Barmitzvah's, school events etc.
Underneath those child keywords more specific keywords detailing a specific wedding or birthday or family outing can be placed appropriately.

If specific locations are important then create another keyword hierarchy detailing location something like this: WORLD LOCATION.

The advantage of separating keywords into different hierarchies allows each hierarchy to remain simple and logical with as little or as much granularity as needed.

Because you are scanning in images there will be no metadata record documenting when the image was shot. In this case the only time and date metadata Lightroom will have is either the date and time the scan was made or the date and time it was imported into Lightroom.
You may also want to make a simple DATE hierarchy with the the first order child keywords being the years (2016, 2015 etc) that these images were originally taken. If you can remember some of the specific dates that they were shot then make that a keyword as a child of the appropriate year in this format: 2016-04-03. The advantage of this is that each date will arrange itself numerically. Given that at least some of the events will have been very important to you, like a wedding for example, it is likely that those dates will be remembered.

There will be other ways of doing this but this is simple and doable. It is also scalable to any level of complexity required but I doubt any of the hierarchies will need more than three levels (DATE hierarchy possibly excepted).

Please let us know if there is more to this than meets the eye.

Best Wishes in your endeavour!

Tony Jay
 

Doug1234

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Hi Tony,

Thank you for your thorough explanation. I've mocked up a skeleton keyword list based on my understanding of your comments. Do you mind taking a look toensure I've reflected your points correctly? In particular, is this how you would handle the months/years? (I am able to glean this information through amanual physical-folder-name to physical-cardboard-box-with-slides-in-it-label). How about friends, pets and animals? Should they be buried in a deeper hiearchy or is one-level deep fine in your opinion?

FAMILY
grandfather name
grandmother name
father name
mother name
sister name
sister name
aunt name
uncle name
aunt name
uncle name
aunt name
uncle name
cousin name
cousin name
cousin name
cousin name
cousin name

FRIENDS
friend name 1
friend name 2
friend name 3
friend name 4
friend name 5

PETS
Chaser
Sammy
Kaylee
Bud
Brandy
Buddy
Lassie

ANIMALS
Ducks
Birds
Dog
Lamb
Cow
Turtle
Fish

FAMILY EVENTS
birthday
wedding
club event
school event

WORLD LOCATION
cottage
tanzania
florida
stittsville
location 1
location 2
location 3

DATE
1980
january
february
march
april
may
june
july
august
september
august
october
november
december
1981
january
february
march
april
may
june
july
august
september
august
october
november
december
1982
january
february
march
april
may
june
july
august
september
august
october
november
december
1983
all months
1984
all months
1985
all months
1985
all months
1986
all months
1987
all months
1988
all months
1989
all months

ADDITIONAL METADATA
physical folder
@ToKeyword
 
Last edited:

Pollok Shields

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Have you discovered the Controlled Vocabulary website? 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)

As for dates, I have lots of scanned pictures where I changed the EXIF to be the date the photo was taken. If this can't be done in Lightroom there are many other tools to do this. If I wasn't sure of the exact date but knew the month I'd just use the 1st of the month. Then there's no need to add the date to the keywords.

I don't usually add names to keywords either, that's what the caption is for!

I kinda feel the same about location, there's a field for that in the metadata too.
 

Doug1234

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Thanks Pollok. I'll read through the site you provided and then do a "semantic cleanse" of the keywords to put what should be in metadata in the respective metadata fields.
 
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Hi Doug.

If you are able to get dates into the metadata fields - great.
If not I would not worry about putting individual months under the years - how many shoots do you do in an individual year?

As for your family hierarchy it is possible a bit flat - think about your family make-up as a taxonomy. There are relatives on your side of the family and relatives on your wife's side and so on.

As for the location keywords - yes it is true that there are several metadata fields dedicated to location - and I use them all.
For me however they do not give me the detail that I want and so I also have a comprehensive keyword hierarchy for location.
If you do use location keywords then use a hierarchy not a flat list: e.g. Tanzania is in Africa and wherever you went in Tanzania and took images are places that are child keywords to Tanzania.
The same goes for places closer to home: WORLD LOCATION > North America > USA > Florida > Miami etc etc.
Think about how a letter is addressed!
You don't have to complete the hierarchy for places that you have not been to and likely never will visit - that is just a waste of time.

Pollock mentioned the Controlled Vocabulary website and it is a good suggestion for educational purposes.
Exactly how one constructs one's own keyword hierarchy will nonetheless be a very individual thing.
I would advise against importing a keyword hierarchy though - they either contain far too many keywords, especially in subjects that you have no interest or they are not detailed enough in areas that are of interest - it is far better to develop you own.

Tony Jay
 
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I agree with Tony, do not import a keyword list. Especially multiple..... :)
 

PhilBurton

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Hi Doug.


Pollock mentioned the Controlled Vocabulary website and it is a good suggestion for educational purposes.
Exactly how one constructs one's own keyword hierarchy will nonetheless be a very individual thing.
I would advise against importing a keyword hierarchy though - they either contain far too many keywords, especially in subjects that you have no interest or they are not detailed enough in areas that are of interest - it is far better to develop you own.

Tony Jay

Tony, Aside from having keywords that you might never use, why is importing a keyword hierarchy not desirable?

Phil Burton
 
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Hi Phil - this is an interesting question.

In absolute terms my suggestion not to import a keyword hierarchy does not hold.
It is possible that somewhere someone exactly shares my photographic interests as well as my philosophic views on the best ways to document an image.
It is generally true however that there would not be too many people who answer that description.

The issue goes far further than just having unused keywords.
The whole structure may not gel with the person trying to use it not to mention the granularity of the hierarchy.
One of the selling points for importing keyword hierarchies i the fact that one can edit it to better suit one's needs.
But this argument is rarely valid since most individuals who are importing a keyword list do so precisely because they are unwilling or unable to wrestle with the whole process of constructing their own hierarchies and so attempts to edit and restructure the imported hierarchies are usually doomed to failure.

There is a definite skill set to creating a usable keyword hierarchy part of which is understanding one's own needs, partly an understanding of how keyword hierarchies can be constructed (a taxonomic view of the world), and finally a good understanding of Lightroom's own keywording toolset.
None of these requirements are insurmountable by any means and once obtained why would one want to struggle with someone else half-baked keyword hierarchies when one can just do it more simply from scratch.

Possible exceptions might be something like a detailed and complete taxonomic keyword hierarchy of bird species if one is an ornithologist (amateur or professional) and one knows EXACTLY what one is getting. This would not be a full keyword hierarchy for even a bird photographer since other types of keywords would still be needed. So, again, the needs, or, assumed needs of individual photographers likely preclude any possibility of a more generalised keyword hierarchy being suitable.

So, my advice is to roll up one's sleeves (metaphorically), analyse one's won needs, learn the Lightroom toolset for creating keywords, research how to group and classify keywords, and, finally build one's own keyword collection.

Tony Jay
 

PhilBurton

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Hi Phil - this is an interesting question.

In absolute terms my suggestion not to import a keyword hierarchy does not hold.
It is possible that somewhere someone exactly shares my photographic interests as well as my philosophic views on the best ways to document an image.
It is generally true however that there would not be too many people who answer that description.

The issue goes far further than just having unused keywords.
The whole structure may not gel with the person trying to use it not to mention the granularity of the hierarchy.
One of the selling points for importing keyword hierarchies i the fact that one can edit it to better suit one's needs.
But this argument is rarely valid since most individuals who are importing a keyword list do so precisely because they are unwilling or unable to wrestle with the whole process of constructing their own hierarchies and so attempts to edit and restructure the imported hierarchies are usually doomed to failure.
Tony,
I am seriously considering purchase of David Riecks' Controlled Vocabulary Keyword Catalog because I have a healthy respect for the amount of time it takes to construct such a collection. Maybe I'm influenced by my wife, the corporate librarian. ;)
There is a definite skill set to creating a usable keyword hierarchy part of which is understanding one's own needs, partly an understanding of how keyword hierarchies can be constructed (a taxonomic view of the world), and finally a good understanding of Lightroom's own keywording toolset.
None of these requirements are insurmountable by any means and once obtained why would one want to struggle with someone else half-baked keyword hierarchies when one can just do it more simply from scratch.
I don't doubt that I could construct my own keyword set, but I know from experience in such endeavors that there will be a lot of change over time, so that I might feel impelled to review older images to re-apply keywords. That could be a lot of extra work.
Possible exceptions might be something like a detailed and complete taxonomic keyword hierarchy of bird species if one is an ornithologist (amateur or professional) and one knows EXACTLY what one is getting. This would not be a full keyword hierarchy for even a bird photographer since other types of keywords would still be needed. So, again, the needs, or, assumed needs of individual photographers likely preclude any possibility of a more generalised keyword hierarchy being suitable.
This is an important point. As a railroad hobbyist (or railway enthusiast for our UK friends) I've strugged with this issue within the narrow confines of the North American and European railroads and rail transit systems. There are issues like mergers and acquisitions, official vs. common-use names, renaming, etc. Using my example, do I have a keyword "French National Railroads" or "Chemins de Fer Français" or "SNCF?" Constructing a robust taxonomy here, with synonyms and a hierarchy, this is going to be enough work that I would be just as happy to spend a reasonable amount to have this work done for me for "general" subjects. My underlying thought here is that the "best" is the "enemy" of the "good."

So, my advice is to roll up one's sleeves (metaphorically), analyze one's won needs, learn the Lightroom toolset for creating keywords, research how to group and classify keywords, and, finally build one's own keyword collection.

Tony Jay
Summing up, no doubt that I could to my own keywords, but I want to focus my efforts on my railroad hobby, my family and friends, etc. It's a philosophical point.

Maybe over time, one of the really prolific plug-in writers like John Beardsworth or David Friedl will develop a tool to analyze frequency of keywords used, and then I could strip out all the classes of keywords I will likely never use. But that's a problem for the future.

Just one additional point which has to be made in this area. For my railroad hobby photos, a general "keywords" metadata field is really inadequate. Reading up on Adobe's XMP architecture, I believe that I need custom metadata fields for rail-specific images, in combination with keywords, of course. Unfortunately, John Beardsworth and others have demonstrated to me that custom metadata fields in Lightroom are not possible because plug-in writers can't define additional XMP fields that would be in the catalog, or could be input by the user, or imported or exported. (John: please correct me if I have mis-stated here.)

Phil
 
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Phil,

I downloaded and installed about five separate keyword files, trying each one. It was a complete disaster. I ended up deleting all the keywords. I have yet to get back to it, I decided to finish my facial tagging first.
In terms of problems: the keywords were not organized how I search, use, view the images. I had problems applying, selecting keywords. I miss-applied ketwords. I had more trouble refactoring keywords...
 

PhilBurton

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Phil[/QUOTE]
Phil,

I downloaded and installed about five separate keyword files, trying each one. It was a complete disaster. I ended up deleting all the keywords. I have yet to get back to it, I decided to finish my facial tagging first.
In terms of problems: the keywords were not organized how I search, use, view the images. I had problems applying, selecting keywords. I miss-applied ketwords. I had more trouble refactoring keywords...

I don't doubt that. In my long-distant past, I used to index non-fiction books. I had my own way of doing that, different from other people. Hey, these keyword files are just tools. If they work for you, great. If they don't, then chuck 'em.
 
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Tony,
I am seriously considering purchase of David Riecks' Controlled Vocabulary Keyword Catalog because I have a healthy respect for the amount of time it takes to construct such a collection. Maybe I'm influenced by my wife, the corporate librarian. ;)
Phil
I am not familiar with this offering so will not comment either favourably or adversely.

As for the the railroad keywords I really doubt that you will find anything to suit your needs.
In principle this hierarchy is simple to do just a lot of work actually typing keywords - synonyms and all.
I would start with keywords that give you the most bang for the buck (i.e. those which could be applied to the most images for the least amount of work).
Secondly, this is a hobby - Rome will never be built in day. I have a keyword collection in excess of 44 000 (yes, that is correct, and that is not counting synonyms that probably would increase the tally by about 50%) and still growing (my interest is the natural world and travel) and so it is never complete. When the mood takes me I work on my keywords and when it doesn't I don't type keywords.
I also went for the bang-for-the-buck approach and worked from there.
I am still going several years after starting and my keyword collection will never be complete in the absolute sense but it is well designed and very easy to add to whenever required.

The overall motivation here is the interest I have in what I shoot. It is not just about keywording. Most of my images have GPS co-ordinates and the better ones have very completely caption entries as well - think Wikipedia-like - that could be 1000-2000 words long. If one doesn't enjoy the process, and it is a big process to learn about the subjects of my images and research the relevant geography and biology as needed, then it will not happen.

So my advice is to work on this as if it is a hobby - and it is.

Tony Jay
 
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Hi
I've had LR for a few years and have spent many hours thinking and searching google to design a keyword hierarchy. Like many I do all sorts of photography family, wildlife, landscapes, street etc and thought there must be a general list I could import but never found a suitable one. Last week decide must do it and just got on creating my own who, what, when etc list and actually found setting up the basic structure with common ones I'll be using actually didn't take me long. I know I've now got the job of actually keywording the images but I'm sure doing it will be quicker the hours I've spent thinking about it (I am a bit OCD and wanted it right) !!!

Reason for posting is to ask about using Face Recognition (FR), hope you don't mind me jumping in on your thread Doug but thought it might be helpful for you as well. My question is about putting FR keywords in a hierarchy.
a) My understanding is that you can set-up a Keyword such as People and mark it that all FR Keywords appear within that, is that correct ? and can that keyword not be at the top e.g. top level being say Who and being People within that ?
b) If a) is right then my thought was I would create further hierarchy under People e.g. Our Family, My Family, Wife Family, Friends etc then every so often go into People and move newly created FR Keywords from People into the lower down hierarchies, would that work or would LR, once you've moved the person, think you haven't found that person before, that they are unknown and want you to create them again ?
c) If the all the above would work then is their any reason to also have a "normal" keyword list for people's names ?
d) Last question is there a best way for the name format considering searching ? E.g John Smith, Smith John, John_Smith etc.

cheers, Duncan
 
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PhilBurton

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I am not familiar with this offering so will not comment either favourably or adversely.

As for the the railroad keywords I really doubt that you will find anything to suit your needs.
Tony, You're right in that no one has created a "railroad" keyword file, and that's why I prefer to buy a premade keyword collection for "general purpose use" and put my efforts into a railroad keyword file.
In principle this hierarchy is simple to do just a lot of work actually typing keywords - synonyms and all.
I would start with keywords that give you the most bang for the buck (i.e. those which could be applied to the most images for the least amount of work).
Secondly, this is a hobby - Rome will never be built in day. I have a keyword collection in excess of 44 000 (yes, that is correct, and that is not counting synonyms that probably would increase the tally by about 50%) and still growing (my interest is the natural world and travel) and so it is never complete. When the mood takes me I work on my keywords and when it doesn't I don't type keywords.
Same as above.
I also went for the bang-for-the-buck approach and worked from there.
I am still going several years after starting and my keyword collection will never be complete in the absolute sense but it is well designed and very easy to add to whenever required.

The overall motivation here is the interest I have in what I shoot. It is not just about keywording. Most of my images have GPS co-ordinates and the better ones have very completely caption entries as well - think Wikipedia-like - that could be 1000-2000 words long. If one doesn't enjoy the process, and it is a big process to learn about the subjects of my images and research the relevant geography and biology as needed, then it will not happen.

So my advice is to work on this as if it is a hobby - and it is.


Tony Jay

Agree with you. The hobby for me is rail systems, so I want to focus on that area. It really comes down to personal preference.

I forgot to mention that I have about 20K slides to scan, taken over 40 years, mostly Kodachrome so that they haven't faded over the years. Should I build my own keyword structure, or scan my slides? Because as a hobby, photography or rail photography can't be my highest priority.

Phil
 

PhilBurton

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Phil, I don't think anybody can resolve your dilemma apart from yourself.
You are the only one can measure the value of one activity versus another in this context.

Tony Jay
Tony,

There is no dilemma. I was just suggesting that buying a premade keyword hierarchy is an option. My "dilemma" is a rhetorical question because I already know the answer.
 
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Tony,

There is no dilemma. I was just suggesting that buying a premade keyword hierarchy is an option. My "dilemma" is a rhetorical question because I already know the answer.

So what is the answer?
 

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Doug1234

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Hi guys, I've taken some time to try and digest all of this. Does anyone have a family hierarchy they would share? I'm looking to try and understand the structure.

I've got 7000 plus beauty Kodachrome slides I have scanned and really want to get the keywording started properly. I must admit, it's becoming frustrating as I've invested a considerable amount of time in this project and am anxious to get started with the keywording so that the collection will be more usable for my family.

I'm thinking the keywording will be fun when I can start with confidence in the approach. : )

Thank you.
 

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I'd suggest jumping in and starting simple.

A way to be successful in applying keywords, or other metadata, is to start at the other end, with finding or filtering. When what you've applied, say "New York", doesn't get you what you want (you got NY state, not city) then you add the info you need to get it, hence state>NY and city>NY (or "NY state" and "NY city").

So I'd start by applying NAMES of people, as People keywords, which are special in Lr since they can be assigned to frames within the photos. Don't worry about relationships, especially since they can change (mother-in-law to ex mother in law, or a whole branch of family if you and your spouse split up). Relationships could be a whole different hierarchy than name. If you find yourself needed to find a sister (cuz you forgot her name) then you'd get an "aha" moment and add that. More likely you might need to find all grandkids. That bio relationship is unlikey to change so that might lead to a bio hieararchy. Or maybe you never need to sort/filter/find that way cuz you have one grandkid and find her by name.

It's easy to overthink it and do too much. Start simple and build.

One further point. You also need to decide what happens when others see the photo. If you give an image keyworded "sister" to one of your three grandkids that might be her great aunt, not HER sister. Names would be useful to her though. Kind of like absolute vs relative references in spreadsheets. Hence why I keep names separate, and have precious few relationships. I just don't need them.
 

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Dave's example includes something I should have mentioned.

I'm not sure, but he may be using the [Familly] and other bracketed keywords as dividers and groupers, essentially. I do that with stuff like _Animals, and _Location Shown, and so on (that sorts them to the top of the keyword list). They show and you can click next to them and get all say People or Animals or whatever, but they don't export. I do know that my friends, named in People, ARE people (well, most) but it does help to separate them, especially if you have friends with kids with names like "Tiger." But it can help with say pet (eg animal pet) names (unless you put them in People so you can use the frames as some do; I've often wondered if users do that with cars or other objects it would be nice to have placement info for).
 

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The brackets indicate the keyword does not export. If you mark a keyword to not export and then export the keyword list to a text file, the keywords with brackets are the non-exporting ones. Any with curly brackets are synonyms.
 
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