Keywording Strategies

tstoddard
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Keywording Strategies

Post by tstoddard » 14 Aug 13 1:27

I have been trying to refine the way in which I apply labels, metadata, and specifically keywords to my image files. One area that has always puzzled me is how to handle places (as in names of towns, cities, etc.). I should start by saying that I don't assign GPS coordinates and don't know if I want to go down that road at this point in time. Also, I am an amateur and am not looking for advice on keywording from a "stock photo" perspective.

I have my labels configured to populate the appropriate location fields in my file's metadata space and I love PSU's method of cascading metadata assignments from parent labels when I assign a child label. It is extremely efficient and not easily accomplished with any of the other DAM products I've experimented with. What puzzles me is whether or not I should write location names to keywords as well. It seems redundant to do so but there are also times when it seems appropriate to do so. For and example, I have pictures of the colorful seaport on the island of Curacao at night. To describe those pictures, it seems natural to call it Curacao. It is a recognizable image that somebody might search for using that name.

On the other hand, I have pictures of my wife sitting in a restaurant in Curacao and I there is nothing specific about that scene that would indicate it was in Curacao. I have assigned my Curacao label to both sets of images. If I use the same label, I'm either going to have "Curacao" as a keyword in all of those files or none of those files. The only way I can think to do it selectively would be to have two distinctly different labels for Curacao.

Until now, I have opted to write the locations to keywords. One reason I've done this is because I figured that most programs that I might use to view my photos would look at the keywords but might not look at location metadata fields when I enter a city name in their search or filter fields. This could be a flawed assumption because I've never tested it.

Perhaps somebody with more experience cataloging image files can share with me their strategy and opinions.
Tom Stoddard

Mike Buckley
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Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by Mike Buckley » 14 Aug 13 3:10

I think your decision depends on your philosophy about what is to be included in your keywords (catalog labels) for a particular image.If you want to use keywords that only describe the scene, you wouldn't assign Curacao to the photo of your wife in the restaurant. On the other hand, if you want the keywords to indicate where every photo was captured as I do (I'm also an amateur), you would assign Curacao to every photo captured there. Similarly, you wouldn't want to assign the "B&W" or "sepia" catalog labels or catalog labels that indicate the orientation of the image (square, horizontal or vertical) if you have the philosophy that you only want catalog labels to describe the scene. However, if you want to look up all photos as I do that are B&W and square, it's a good idea to assign those catalog labels.

I remember a discussion a couple years ago when many people suggested that a catalog label (keyword) should never be used to describe something that isn't in the scene. I noted at the time that the software includes a free sample of David Reick's Controlled Vocabulary and that his product includes more than 50 entries such as "aerial" and "close up" that don't describe anything in the scene. David is widely recognized as a preeminent expert when it comes to anything having to do with metadata. So, that in itself speaks to the viability of at least considering using catalog labels of that kind.

tstoddard
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Joined: 07 Sep 12 12:51

Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by tstoddard » 14 Aug 13 4:45

Mike,

I agree with what you've said but I think you failed to grasp exactly what I was asking. You are using "label" and "keyword" interchangeably. In PSU, I can assign a label without writing it to the file as a keyword. I would definitely assign the label Curacao to all of the pictures I took in Curacao because that label is mapped to the appropriate IPTC Country fields. But, PSU offers the option "Do not create keyword for this label" in the label configuration. I assume that by "create keyword" PSU means that it would put the label in the metadata field in which "keywords" are normally stored. (I think it's the dc:subject tag)

This nuance between labels and keywords seems to be the cause of confusion in many of the discussions here about cataloging files. I am guilty of using the terms interchangeably in the past. As I understand it, labels only exist in the catalog (and the PSU specific xmp space if you have PSU configured to write the label structure to xmp). Keywords only exist in the file's metadata (or the sidecar file). The ability to use labels independently of keywords offers some interesting options but I'm struggling with how I want to do that. In the example I've used, there are times when I would want the label to be written to the file as a keyword (I think) and times when I wouldn't. I'm wondering if it would make sense to create two Curacao labels. Perhaps have one under a "Location" branch and one under a "Places" branch in my label hierarchy. That way, I could configure the one in the Places branch to create a keyword and the opposite for the one in the Location branch. I'm just not sure if this added level of complexity is worth it. I'm curious if anyone else has an opinion on this.

Also, the other thing I am curious about is whether or not other photo viewers would find my pictures of Curacao if I didn't create the "keyword" but did include Curacao as the country in which the image was captured. I guess I need to do a little testing to determine that. If so, then I see no real reason for including names of locations in my list of keywords, unless, as I stated in my example, the name of the location actually describes the image.

Thanks for your response.
Tom Stoddard

jstartin
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Location: UK

Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by jstartin » 14 Aug 13 11:28

Tom,

Firstly, in my catalog labels I do have separate categories for Location ("where the camera was") and as part of my "Subject" hierarchy. I often find it desirable to be able to differentiate "of A taken from B" and "of B taken from A" etc.

Regarding keywords in the metadata, I do not pay much attention to what I might need in the future. Currently the only reason I have to write keywords is to provide a means of rebuilding my catalog, wholly or partially, from the image files if all backups etc fail. I am confident that the flexibility of PSu label options and synchronisation options will allow me to overwrite any existing keywords in a way that meets future needs as and when they arise.
Jim (Photo Supreme: AMD Quad-Core A8-5500 Accelerated Processor 3.2 GHz; internal AMD Radeon™ HD7560D; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM; Win10x64)

Mike Buckley
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Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by Mike Buckley » 14 Aug 13 12:09

Tom,

You're correct that I completely missed the gist of your question. Considering that you're an amateur, I assume that all of your cataloging choices have to do only with your own personal needs, as opposed to the needs of others who would be conducting searches of keywords with your hope that they would easily find your photos. Regardless, use the following link and look for the last two headings: http://dpbestflow.org/metadata/keywording . Also consider purchasing Peter Krogh's The DAM Book.

By the way, I do understand the difference between Supreme's implementation of catalog labels and keywords. I want all of my catalog labels stored as keywords just in case some day I need to recreate my catalog. So, I don't think I have used any private catalog labels. I don't remember whether private catalog labels can be recreated when reading the ICS. If the option of using the ICS to do that is important to you, it would probably be important to know whether it can be used to recreate private catalog labels.

tstoddard
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Joined: 07 Sep 12 12:51

Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by tstoddard » 14 Aug 13 14:51

I wasn't aware that not creating keywords made the label "private". If the label is being mapped to other metadata fields I would hardly consider it to be private. I'm not on a computer with PSU installed right now so I can't test anything but I would like to get clarification about this issue. What are the exact ramifications of selecting the option to "Not create keywords". Does that label still get written to ICS? Would the label be included in the Lightroom keyword hierarchy if that option is selected? In other words, if I have a label structure such as Butterfly | Monarch and I set Butterfly to not create keyword but I leave Monarch configured to create keyword, would my Lightroom keywords not include "Butterfly"? Or, if I set Monarch to NOT create keyword but left Butterfly configured to create keyword, would anything be written to my Lightroom keywords?
Tom Stoddard

Mike Buckley
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Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by Mike Buckley » 14 Aug 13 16:15

tstoddard wrote:I wasn't aware that not creating keywords made the label "private". If the label is being mapped to other metadata fields I would hardly consider it to be private.
I don't remember seeing a documented definition of a private catalog label. For all practical purposes, I agree that a private catalog label is truly private only if it is not stored as a keyword or elsewhere in the physical image file or sidecar file.

David Grundy
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Location: Hong Kong

Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by David Grundy » 14 Aug 13 16:23

I'm also very curious about this.

Isn't there a "private" attribute for label categories? How does that interact with the setting to not create keywords at the individual label level? (Or am I remembering wrongly ... I'm away from home this week, and have my work PC rather than my home PC with me. So, no access to PSu at the moment.)

... David

Hert
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Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by Hert » 14 Aug 13 16:57

It's a screen widget so the Tips system should explain the field.
DoNotCreateKeyword.png
DoNotCreateKeyword.png (184.99 KiB) Viewed 3735 times
Non-Keyword catalog labels *are* written to the ICS metadata (if ICS writing is switched on)

Hert
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David Grundy
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Location: Hong Kong

Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by David Grundy » 14 Aug 13 17:05

So by looking at the ICS metadata in a file, can a third party can tell that the (private) label exists in the catalog?
And can they tell that it has been applied to this image?

Hert
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Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by Hert » 14 Aug 13 17:08

David Grundy wrote:the (private) label exists in the catalog?
That is correct. The term "private label" is not correct and is also not how this field is named.
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David Grundy
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Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by David Grundy » 14 Aug 13 17:20

Yes, sorry for confusing terminology. I'm remembering the term "private" from the Label Category attribute which (I think) is still defined at the Category level only.

Three separate questions then.

(1) Assuming I'm remembering correctly that the "private" attribute exists for Label Categories, does it prevent labels in that category from being written to the ICS metadata?

(2) Assuming that I have a label that isn't in a private label category ... When I assign a label to an image, and that label has the attribute "don't write keywords to the metadata", can a third party tell that the label is assigned to that image?
(I now assume the answer is "yes".)

(3) Forgetting about labels which have these specific attributes set, and jsut looking at the usual situation where keywords get written out and the ICS metadata writing is turned on ... What I always imagined would happen is the the ICS metada in the file contains exactly the branches needed to define the position of all assigned labels in the label tree structure, and no further information. Is that a correct guess?

Thanks
... David

Hert
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Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by Hert » 14 Aug 13 17:26

David Grundy wrote:(1) Assuming I'm remembering correctly that the "private" attribute exists for Label Categories, does it prevent labels in that category from being written to the ICS metadata?
Yes, correct, catalog labels in "private categories" are not written to the metadata.
(2) Assuming that I have a label that isn't in a private label category ... When I assign a label to an image, and that label has the attribute "don't write keywords to the metadata", can a third party tell that the label is assigned to that image?
(I now assume the answer is "yes".)
The answer is indeed "yes", that is...if you have ICS writeing switched ON, which is recommended.
(3) Forgetting about labels which have these specific attributes set, and jsut looking at the usual situation where keywords get written out and the ICS metadata writing is turned on ... What I always imagined would happen is the the ICS metada in the file contains exactly the branches needed to define the position of all assigned labels in the label tree structure, and no further information. Is that a correct guess?
ICS contains: catalog label structure, area definitions, version relationships (including placeholder(s)), and portfolio collection structure
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Feature requests, change suggestions, or bugs can be logged in the ticketing system

tstoddard
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Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by tstoddard » 14 Aug 13 17:26

IDimager wrote:Non-Keyword catalog labels *are* written to the ICS metadata (if ICS writing is switched on)
Thanks for that clarification, Hert. From what you've stated, I believe it is important for people to understand that if they truly want their labels to remain private, then they also need to switch off the writing to ICS in their synchronization settings or at least write xmp to side car files only. I'm not at my home computer and I don't recall if that is an option in PSU.

Since the synchronization settings are global then switching off the writing to ICS would be a trade-off that the user would need to be willing to make. I am willing to sacrifice the privacy of my label structure for the ability to be able to rebuild my catalog using that ICS metadata.

I would expect other programs to look at my keywords when I use their search functionality to find images but I wouldn't expect them to look in my ICS metadata. However, they may do that anyway. Any program that wants to search all metadata is free to do so.

I know that this is not critical to those of us who are only concerned with using our catalogs for personal use only but I take the position that if I'm going to go through the trouble to catalog my files then I should do so in a way that could be helpful to others should I ever decide to share my files with them. I like to think that some day my family might want to look through some of my photos after I'm gone. I see this as a great way to document parts of my life for future generations to use as they will (or not).
Tom Stoddard

Mike Buckley
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Re: Keywording Strategies

Post by Mike Buckley » 14 Aug 13 23:16

IDimager wrote:The term "private label" is not correct and is also not how this field is named.
Ahem. The catalog labels being discussed seem to be implemented in Supreme exactly as in IDimager, where the documentation explicitly describes them as being private catalog labels. For those of us who grew up on a farm and notice something walking by that looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we always call it a duck even when we see it on a city sidewalk. Similarly, for those of us who "grew up" on IDimager and see a particular kind of catalog label behaving exactly the same in Supreme as in IDimager, it's understandable why we would call it the same. :mrgreen:

Having said that, I'll try to remember to not call these catalog labels private in the context of using Supreme.

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