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Is it possible to merge keywords to a more recent catalog?

lbeck

Active Member
Joined
May 21, 2015
Messages
127
Location
Hillsborough, NC
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Intermediate
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Lightroom Version
6.14
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For months I've been actively editing my Lr catalog to both 1) delete photos and 2) enhance my "keepers". I've successfully updated my catalog by eliminating about 7000 photos and have done a decent job of editing the ones that I want to keep.

Unfortunately, I haven't kept track of keywords in my newly optimized catalog. And when I checked I've found that many of my hundreds of keywords have zero links to pictures. Many of these previously linked photos are present in the optimized catalog but the link is gone. I have archived some old, un-optimized catalogs and the keyword links are there, but the photos are missing (lost linkages that can be re-linked). I also have backups along the way.

Is there a way that I can re-link these old keywords to my new catalog. I'm thinking that there might be a keyword identifier such as the original file name that Lr could recognize and relink. I don't want to eliminate my edits and if needed I'll just work to re establish keyword linkages. I have terabytes of unused storage space so I can save my recent work as I try stuff.

Your comments and advice are appreciated.
 
Joined
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It depends how much other work you've done in the "newly optimized catalog". If you've not done things like changing ratings or titles or adjusting images, for example, then you could fix the missing photos in the old, un-optimized catalogs, do a Ctrl S to save the metadata back to the files, and then use Metadata > Read in the "newly optimized catalog". This would overwrite new edits in that catalogue such as the rating and adjustments.

It is technically possible to write a script to extract keywords from one catalogue and apply them to images in another. I've a script which does this for ratings, for instance, and keywords are messier. Plus it sounds like you've been moving stuff around or renaming files, and the script isn't something that can be easily repurposed.
 

lbeck

Active Member
Joined
May 21, 2015
Messages
127
Location
Hillsborough, NC
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Thanks for your expert reply, John.

Actually I've done all of the changes that you mention to many images. Now that you've confirmed that there's not a quick fix, I think that it's easier - and safer - to simply re-establish my keywords. The effort can be minimized going to grid view, selecting multiple images, and applying the keyword bulk-wise.

Not a "need to know" issue but I do wonder why the keyword link was lost for many but not all of the previously linked images.

I'll be more diligent in the future to check that my keywords are remaining. Also, to create an image of my catalog more frequently.

Thanks again for your expert reply.
 

Photocitizen

alanhaynes.com
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Aug 5, 2018
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San Diego, California, USA
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Classic
@lbeck When you talk about your "newly optimized catalog," are you saying you that you are still using your original catalog and that's the one that has been optimized? Or, are you saying that you created a new catalog?

About the keywords: Are you saying that you have photos in your optimized catalog that, in the past, had a particular keyword assigned to them, but now no longer have that keyword assigned? I don't think that deleting a photo during your optimization spree would cause a different photo to lose any keywords. At least, I've never encountered that behavior. Is it possible that some of these photos are actually duplicates or similars that never received the keyword in the first place? Or that, somewhere in the distant past, you deleted keywords from some images?

I don't think there is any way for Lightroom to automatically re-apply the missing keywords. You'll need to go through the photos manually and add them again. Lightroom does have quite a few workflow tools which may make this less tedious.

If you'd like to simply remove all the keywords that show "0" in the keyword list, go to the Metadata menu and choose "Purge unused keywords."
 
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