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Keywords added out of nowhere ...

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gYab61zH

Active Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Messages
260
Location
Germany
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version Number
LRC 12.2.1
Operating System
  1. macOS 12 Monterey
When I started my LRC this morning I suddenly noticed a large number of non-hierarchical keywords had been added to my catalogue. I use hierarchical keywords so the new ones stand out like a sore thumb. Also, none of the added keywords have any images attached and they look as if they come from sort of standard list. Here are a few examples: Brown hair, Girl, Women, Tourist, Recreational Pursuit, Positive Emotion, Happiness, etc (I am just picking them at random). Does anyone have any idea where they come from and how they end up in my list of keywords?
 
It's really only about tagging photos with as many appropriate keywords as you can think of—as fast as posible, when you know others will be searching a library looking for such photos. The benefit of having a hierarchical list is to allow tagging of many associated keywords in one or two actions. The drawback is the time you will spend in constant maintenance of a hierarchical list. LrC does provide a "keyword set"s feature that could help assigning associated keywords quickly from a flat list in place of these high maintenance hierarchical structures. Even if a word has multiple meanings, you really only need it in a keyword list once. Searchers might consider boolean search criteria to confine the results to one specific meaning of such words.
I found that fast as possible keywords need more maintenance than a structured keyword hierarchy does, unless I was silly enough or inexperienced enough to try getting the entire hierarchy structure fully fledged right up front. I use a basic structure and flesh it out only as needed. e.g. if a search finds much more than 30 or so irrelevant pictures to browse through then perhaps another keyword or phrase is needed in the structure; otherwise, I don't bother. Tags are quite unreliable because there is no context except other tags, and none of them cane be repeated regardless of context. There is no way to know how other users will think when looking for something, and there's no way to be sure even you will think the same way next time you look for the same thing.

Maintenance of a keyword hierarchy in LrC will be reflected automatically in the allocation to the relevant images within the same catalogue. That applies to spelling corrections, relocation to another parent group, insertion of new intermediate subgroups, etc., so there is relatively little list maintenance to affect all relevant image files.

However, I recognize that we all work differently and that some of us are trying to manage keywords for other people rather than, or as well as, for ourselves. No doubt that is why LrC has both systems available. Luckily for me, my keyword hierarchy is for me alone to use and it does not need to be stored within my image files. That avoids triggering unnecessary image file backups and allows me to exclude tags brought in from external image files. It also makes it easier to alter my own hierarchical structure without being so restricted by what is already used in out-of-context image files. That makes maintenance easy for me.
 
If you export a copy of your original photo with keywords—because the "Automatically write changes into XMP" option is selected in the catalog metadata settings, with "Add to this Catalog" selected in the export dialog box, then you are essentially reimporting what you just exported. Every time you import a photo the keywords are added to your keyword list. In this case, the same keywords that were added to the exported copy are then added to your keyword list upon import. If you have a flat keyword list these will all be seen as duplicates and not added. However if a hierarchical list structure is used, and the imported structure of the photo metadata is different to your LrC list, LrC will not see the duplicates and add the keywords to your list out of your hierarchical order. You then have some work to do to fix your keyword list.

In this case, if you insist on maintaining a hierarchical keyword list, then export copies of the original without writing changes into XMP. After re importing, copy and paste the metadata from the original to the imported copy, from the metadata menu tab. All the keyword tags in a photos metadata when imported into a LrC catalog must be represented in the LrC keyword list.
This is not exactly true, it depends on how preferences are setup. Leave the "Automatically write changes into XMP set. In LrC 12.2.1, under Mac Ventura OS, when exporting a photo there are preference options in the export dialog box. One of these is "Add to this Catalog". That in effect imports what has just been exported immediately after the export. It will attempt to add all keywords from the photo metadata to the LrC keyword list except those it detects as duplicates. However the LrC keyword hierarchy structure may be different from that of the photo keyword tags metadata, due to not all keywords in the LrC keyword list being selected for export in the first place, while sub-keywords within them are.

The way to get around this is to select a "Metadata" preference from the export dialog box that limits the inclusion of metadata in the exports, such as "Copyright only". Then from the main menu metadata tab, copy the metadata from the original photo and paste it into the newly imported copy.

A different approach is used when importing images that were not just exported as above. This time you can set metadata preferences from the "Apply During Import" section of the import screen. In the "Metadata" field you can choose to "Edit Presets" and deselect the Keywords option at the bottom of the "Edit Metadata Presets" dialog box that will open when you choose to edit presets. The photo should import with no keywords. You can then apply your own.
 
I found that fast as possible keywords need more maintenance than a structured keyword hierarchy does, unless I was silly enough or inexperienced enough to try getting the entire hierarchy structure fully fledged right up front. I use a basic structure and flesh it out only as needed. e.g. if a search finds much more than 30 or so irrelevant pictures to browse through then perhaps another keyword or phrase is needed in the structure; otherwise, I don't bother. Tags are quite unreliable because there is no context except other tags, and none of them cane be repeated regardless of context. There is no way to know how other users will think when looking for something, and there's no way to be sure even you will think the same way next time you look for the same thing.

Maintenance of a keyword hierarchy in LrC will be reflected automatically in the allocation to the relevant images within the same catalogue. That applies to spelling corrections, relocation to another parent group, insertion of new intermediate subgroups, etc., so there is relatively little list maintenance to affect all relevant image files.

However, I recognize that we all work differently and that some of us are trying to manage keywords for other people rather than, or as well as, for ourselves. No doubt that is why LrC has both systems available. Luckily for me, my keyword hierarchy is for me alone to use and it does not need to be stored within my image files. That avoids triggering unnecessary image file backups and allows me to exclude tags brought in from external image files. It also makes it easier to alter my own hierarchical structure without being so restricted by what is already used in out-of-context image files. That makes maintenance easy for me.
Yes I have to agree, managing a hierarchical keyword list is not so hard and of great benefit in library management. The key to keeping maintenance low is to be careful with photo imports. Most imports will be new photos downloaded from cameras or memory cards from cameras and will not include any keywords. It is when you import photos from other archives or libraries outside of LrC that you need to be conscious of keywords they may bring in during the import process. There is one other consideration and that is photo exports that are immediately re-imported for management under LrC. How you go about this (the export metadata preferences you select) will determine your list maintenance load.
 
@Johan Elzenga @Jim Wilde

But is can be a big problem.. Purge Unused Keywords works fine EXCEPT if you have a preprepared list of keywords, Genus/Species/etc for instance, and have unused keywords of your own but want to keep them ready to use. Then you are getting rid of your own keywords. This has been brought up in the U2U forums many times and it has been suggested to not add the keywords until after the import preset to eliminate the issue. One way to do it now is to go to Bridge and eliminate the keywords before importing into LrC.
Exactly my situation, with keywords created for local lepidoptera not yet seen but known in my area.
 
@becksnyc

There are fairly easy workarounds. I use the Bridge method proposed by @johnbeardy in another thread

Screen Shot 2023-04-05 at 12.19.08 PM.jpg

The Template in Bridge has ALL Metadata UNCHECKED except Keywords which is BLANK.

Screen Shot 2023-04-05 at 12.21.51 PM.jpg
 
@becksnyc

There are fairly easy workarounds. I use the Bridge method proposed by @johnbeardy in another thread

View attachment 20637
The Template in Bridge has ALL Metadata UNCHECKED except Keywords which is BLANK.

View attachment 20638
I tried Bridge yesterday, removing all the keywords photo by photo and putting them in the comments (as needed). Not sure what I did wrong, but I still imported a bunch of new keywords, which had to be manually removed. Obviously, I need to learn to use Bridge more effectively!
Thanks
 
I, too, have been irritated by the way adds duplicate keywords to a hierarchical keyword list when exporting from RAW to TIFF or JPEG. I frequently am including my photographs in applying for opportunities, and so I have folders with derivative versions at specific sizes that come up often, e.g. JPEGs under 1 MB, JPEGs under 5 MB, JPEGs @ 1500 px wide, etc. So I was including keywords on export so I could quickly locate all the derivatives I've made of a particular image to see what sizes I have. But constantly removing duplicate keywords from my hierarchical list is driving me nuts, so I've started unchecking "include on export" from the Keyword Options for every darn keyword. Given that I have two questions for you all:

1. It's going to be a long and tedious slog to get through the few hundred keywords that I have created over the last 10 years. Is there a quick way to either strip all those checkboxes or tell LR not to export the keywords as part of the export process? I have "export copyright only" checked in my presets, but that isn't preventing this problem.

2. And once that I have deprived myself of the keywords on the exported photos, how do I quickly search all my derivative folders for the subjects I want?
 
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