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My keywords have turned into a nightmare

Joined
Apr 2, 2008
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Stockholm, Sweden
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  1. Windows 10
I've been using Lightroom for a long time. I have been keywording a lot, but I haven't really maintained my keyword list, and now it looks horrific. There are so many duplicate keywords in different "folders" and I get anxious when thinking about how to solve it!

By many duplicate keywords, I mean hundreds upon hundreds. Is there anything I can do to identify all the duplicates and fix it? Or do I need to solve this one-by-one?

Here's an example.

1662293768005.png


And let's look at the keyword "hat". There should only be one keyword named "hat" and it should be in "_Categories > attire > hat". As you can see I have two duplicates. First I'd have to click the right arrow on the right side of the first keyword, assign "_Categories > attire > hat", then remove the "old" keyword. This will get tedious quickly. ;)

I have no idea how I've let this happen, but I'd like to get it fixed now.

Thankful for any suggestions!
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
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I've been where you are (and to some extent, still there) What I chose to do is start over with a better organized hierarchy.

Using your example I would create a hierarchy as follows:
_Categories
++++Attire
++++++++Hat
++++++++++++Santa Hat
++++++++++++Party Hat

The Parent is "_Categories". It has a Child called "Attire" which has a Child called "Hat". "Santa hat", "Pirate Hat", "Party Hat" etc are all children of "Hat". You can search out your Keyword List for all lowest level children and drag them to their immediate parent. In this case "Hat" gets all of the hat types . If you have two lowest level children of the same keyword (e.g. "Santa hat") you can combine them both into one child ("Santa hat") By selecting the images of one duplicated keyword and assigning them to the other lowest Child. You Might begin the process by merging these duplicates. Once you have combined all duplicates, you can then delete the redundant Keyword. (So that there is only on "Santa hat" to drag to its parent "Hat".)
 
Joined
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Cleetus is correct, this is going to be a one-by-one operation. But don't dispair, once you get into a rythm it will go a lot faster than you think. First of all, I'd create a new high level keyword, parallel to "_Categories" with a different name - for example "_Subjects" and as I get things cleaned up they go under "_Subjects" and removed from "_Categories". In other words "_Subjects" hold the fixed hierarchy and "_Categories" holds the yet to be fixed hierarchy.

Tackle it a bit at a time. One way is to do one letter of the alphabet a day. You're done in 26 days. Another way is to devote 1 hour a day to it.

What you do, in your example, would be

a) drag "santa hat" under "hat" in top occurance
b) drag party hat and Pirate hat in 2nd occurance under the first occurance of hat
c) drag the first occurance of attire to _Subjectes
d) select the 156 images that have just hat (not in hierarch) KW and click the checkbox by "Hat" that is now under _Subjects to assign those images
e) Remove the non hierarchical Hat from those images. (check that the count is now zeor and if so delete the non hierarchical hat
f) repeat d & e for Hats
g) repeat d & e for 2nd Santa Hat
h) delete the now empty attire that was not under _Categopries.

You should now have

_Subjects
+++Attire
++++++Hat
+++++++++Pirate Hat
+++++++++Party Hat
+++++++++Santa Hat

and no other "hat" or "hats" anywhere else.

Before you start though, I'd suggest creating some rules for yourself which will make life better in the end. Some that come to mind are

1) Always use singular versions of keywords, never plural (eg "Hat" not "Hats")
2) select a capitialization schems (just first word. or all words)
3) Always use a leading "_" for the highest level groupings (eg, "_Location", "_Subject", etc.) and mark these to not export). Or some other marking. In my case I start these with a number indicating my typical workflow order of assigning them and put them in all caps (1-LOCATION, 2-SUBJECT, Etc.) so they appear in my keyword list in that order

Hope that helps
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2008
Messages
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Location
Stockholm, Sweden
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
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Classic
Cleetus is correct, this is going to be a one-by-one operation.
Yep, that's what I was afraid of! In retrospect, it's my own fault for trying to be creative with my keywords. I think I also exported the keywords to a text file, did some editing and re-imported them, creating a huge mess. And there are thousands of keywords.

Thanks @Califdan and @clee01l for your help! I will implement your suggestions. ;)
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
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Houston, TX USA
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Yep, that's what I was afraid of! In retrospect, it's my own fault for trying to be creative with my keywords. I think I also exported the keywords to a text file, did some editing and re-imported them, creating a huge mess. And there are thousands of keywords.

Thanks @Califdan and @clee01l for your help! I will implement your suggestions. ;)
If you. Noted in my first post. “I've been where you are (and to some extent, still there)”. It is not a “one and done” process. Tackle the images that you consider important first . Creating the proper hierarchy as you go. Ignore if you can the rest of the mess and when you encounter an image that you want to export that still has mistakes, fix these before exporting Then you can finish the process when you are not doing important development of new images .

I created a “Super” parent and dragged ALL of the “mess” under that parent. Outside of the “Super” parent, I created a proper top level hierarchy (your “_Categories”). And when I find an image that still contains the “Super” parent, I know that I need to rework the Keywords on that image.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2007
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London
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but I haven't really maintained my keyword list, and now it looks horrific
To which I'd ask "so what?"

What's important is keywording photos, not whether the keyword list looks pretty. Tidy up your keyword list when you actually hit a specific problem, but keep your focus on keywording photos .
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2008
Messages
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Location
Stockholm, Sweden
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
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Classic
To which I'd ask "so what?"
Fair point. It's not a particularly debilitating problem, but when I start entering a keyword and I get 3-4 alternatives for the same keyword, only in different "parent" keywords, it gets a bit annoying for me. So, I'll invest a few hours in tidying up rather than fix issues as they show up. That said, I won't stop keywording photos. ;)
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2007
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And when you feel that pain, that's the time to act. But try to avoid going on keyword hunting expeditions!
 
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