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Naming convention and capture date assignment for scanned images

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I've only been working in LrC with digital camera images, and capture date assignment is automatic. I use YYYY-MM-DD_original-file-name for my naming convention, and then sort in Library in capture date order.

Shortly, I will be working with about 8000 scanned images. For about 75% of them, I know the capture date within a month or two. For the rest, I may not even know the year. My digital image naming convention doesn't seem as useful. I'm curious about how others who have worked with a large quantity of scanned images handle this?

With respect to capture date (for scanned images), I'm wondering if there is a way to avoid having to adjust each image manually to something as close to the actual date as I can determine. I'm hoping that the scanning service scanned a given set of negatives (sent to them separated by film roll and I'll get the images back named by roll ) in the order I had placed the negatives in the envelope (by negative #, which translates into chronological order). If so, then I could use LR's batch capture date change capability, since that would increment the capture date setting by the difference in time of scan. How do others handle this in a somewhat efficient way?
 

Roelof Moorlag

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Peter Krogh did a book about Digitizing photo's and there is a full chapter about naming convention. Some of his advice:
  • Start with a collection identifier (like MFA for Moorlag Family Archive)
  • Add a record group identifier (prints, negatives, slides, etc)
  • Add a unique identifier (two - four digit at the end of each file)
  • Use roll/frame numbers for negative identifiers
  • Use underscores between strings
For date based grouping he (and i now also) is using hierachical keywords like this:
cadate.JPG

If you know the exact date, you can tag that but in most cases you probably have to choose a higher level in the hierarchie
 
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I've only been working in LrC with digital camera images, and capture date assignment is automatic. I use YYYY-MM-DD_original-file-name for my naming convention, and then sort in Library in capture date order.

Shortly, I will be working with about 8000 scanned images. For about 75% of them, I know the capture date within a month or two. For the rest, I may not even know the year. My digital image naming convention doesn't seem as useful. I'm curious about how others who have worked with a large quantity of scanned images handle this?

With respect to capture date (for scanned images), I'm wondering if there is a way to avoid having to adjust each image manually to something as close to the actual date as I can determine. I'm hoping that the scanning service scanned a given set of negatives (sent to them separated by film roll and I'll get the images back named by roll ) in the order I had placed the negatives in the envelope (by negative #, which translates into chronological order). If so, then I could use LR's batch capture date change capability, since that would increment the capture date setting by the difference in time of scan. How do others handle this in a somewhat efficient way?
When I started scanning family images, I "dated them" by decade and also gave each image a unique number string. If I had more information about an image, I adjusted the dating to reflect that. For example, if I knew the year, I would change that portion of the name, and repeated if I had the month and date. I do not know if this approach would easily work to scale with 8k of images, but the logic worked for me, allowed sorting in LR and it was flexible.

Good luck,

--Ken
 
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I'm in the process of scanning family negatives, slides and photos. In many cases I may be able to get the year.

Since I didn't know what I would want to keep, I've started by scanning thumbnails then plan to go back to determine what I really want to work on. At that point, I'll make a full scan. However, in the meantime, I've been able to add metadata to each scan for those who come after (if anyone).

I used the file format of X-GGG-P-NNN.TYP for scanned images where:

  • X is the type of source – S=Slide, N=Negative, P=Picture.
  • GGG is the group number. Most of the slides and films are together that could be labelled.
  • P is the purpose of the scan. ‘F’ is for full scans. ‘T’ is a thumbnail quick scan.
  • NNN is a sequence number n the group. Note that this number will be different between any ‘F’ or ‘T’ copies of the same image. The sequence number does not relate to the slide or negative number on the transparency and is the incremental assignment by the scanner.
  • TYP is the file type. For Full Scans, it is TIF. For thumbnails, JPG.

I label the different packages with X-GGG.

In terms of setting the date, I do this externally before importing to LrC using EXIFTOOL. My logic there is:
  • CreateDate = Today
  • DateTimeOriginal = This is where it gets tricky as you know. For unknown dates, set to '1977:07:07 07:07:07'. If fill out what I know but use 7's as place holders.
  • UserComment=I stash as much info here about what I'm scanning as possible including any guesses on date.
I also assign other metadata tags that I know.
 
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In terms of setting the date, I do this externally before importing to LrC using EXIFTOOL. My logic there is:
  • CreateDate = Today
  • DateTimeOriginal = This is where it gets tricky as you know. For unknown dates, set to '1977:07:07 07:07:07'. If fill out what I know but use 7's as place holders.
  • UserComment=I stash as much info here about what I'm scanning as possible including any guesses on date.
I also assign other metadata tags that I know.
Thanks for your extensive answer.
Since EXIFTOOL is a command line tool, it isn’t the quickest thing to use...do you do something to speed up the process?
 
Joined
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Peter Krogh did a book about Digitizing photo's and there is a full chapter about naming convention. Some of his advice:
  • Start with a collection identifier (like MFA for Moorlag Family Archive)
  • Add a record group identifier (prints, negatives, slides, etc)
  • Add a unique identifier (two - four digit at the end of each file)
  • Use roll/frame numbers for negative identifiers
  • Use underscores between strings
This is an interesting approach. I’ll take a look at the link to his book. THanks.
 
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Thanks for your extensive answer.
Since EXIFTOOL is a command line tool, it isn’t the quickest thing to use...do you do something to speed up the process?
I believe there is a GUI interface that you can use with EXIFTool. IIRC, you just copy EXIFTool exe into the GUI directory and then just need to open the GUI app.

--Ken
 
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Since EXIFTOOL is a command line tool, it isn’t the quickest thing to use...do you do something to speed up the process?

It starts with the scanning process. I set up the file name prefix in the scanner then let it add the sequential number to the end. I couldn't be bothered trying to align the NNN sequence number to either the slide number or negative frame number. I just found a bunch of negatives with no sprockets so no numbers.

Yes, it can be an issue with command line work. I'm an old hand at it so created a number on BAT files around EXIFTOOL to help .

For a more on-line approach for changing dates, check out Victorias How do I change the photo dates on scanned / photographed images? | The Lightroom Queen with a reference to a LrC plug-in
 
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