Lightroom: Ability to NOT import image keywords

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  • Idea
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • (Edited)
It would be very helpful to have the ability to NOT import keywords when importing images. For example, I was reworking my large LR catalogue with older images that I had keyworded before I really know how to do keywords and all the mistakes (all caps, no heirachy, etc) came into my LR keyword list and made my keyword list unusable. As mentioned in a previous post managing keywords in LR is an exercise in frustration and dealing with all these mistakes in a 100,000+ image Library is untenable.
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PSDiva, Employee

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  • frustrated

Posted 9 years ago

  • 14
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Rob Sylvan, Champion

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I would love an "ignore existing keywords in metadata during import" option.
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Sean Phillips

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This would be especially ususeful when reimporting images that have been edited externally. In that case when the edited image goes out all the hierarchical keywords get expanded and they get added as new individual keywords rather than the image just containing the top level keywords. This is maybe a slightly different problem that deserves its own thread, but the solution might be the same.
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john beardsworth

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I don't like the idea of having an import option to remove existing keywords and think that Lightroom should continue to respect metadata that is already in the files. The Import dialog should be about getting files into Library and under its control as quickly as possible - not about fixing legacy metadata. Right now the user can select Previous Import and simply remove those unwanted keywords (and do so on a more granular basis than with all-or-nothing import option).
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Sean Phillips

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Removing the Keywords form imported images does not address the OP's issue. IMHO an option to NOT import keywords also does not address the issue.

The problem is that when Lightroom imports Keywords from Metadata it does nothing to check to see if those Keywords already exist somewhere in the Keyword library and it creates a new one.

For example, If I have an existing parent keyword called France that is a child of Europe, and then import an image that contains the keyword France in its metadata, Lightroom will create a new parent keyword:

Europe
>> France
France

If you then import another image that contains FRANCE, Lightroom will create another one:

Europe
>> France
France
FRANCE

This becomes a major issue for anyone using hierarchical keywords AND exporting images to Photoshop (or any other external editor) because Lightroom will expand the entire keyword hierarchy prior to exporting, and then it will import all of those keywords as new parent keywords when reimporting the edited image.

The entire Keyword library then becomes completely polluted, making hierarchical keywords an ridiculously challenging thing to maintain.

So there are a number of potential problems here, and since Lightroom really doesn't have a decent Keyword editor there is no good way to fix it.
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john beardsworth

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I agree about the problem of managing keyword lists, and I suspect you know that I've stayed with a flat list. I agree with your description of pollution as one of the tipping points that makes managing a hierarchical list impossible. List management, what you call an editor, is the real need here - not skewing the import process so it becomes a method of sorting out legacy metadata.
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PSDiva, Employee

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The entire Keyword library then becomes completely polluted, making hierarchical keywords an ridiculously challenging thing to maintain. /

Exactly! Polluted is the way to describe it...that and frustrating!
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Ian Lyons, Champion

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If Lr is not handling existing keywords correctly when importing images then engineering time would be better spent fixing that issue than adding a feature to remove keywords.
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David A Rogers

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I agree with both John B and Ians points. If we are to use this platform as a means to suggest where attention needs to be paid then a more robust KW editor is in order rather than a modification of an existing feature.
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Gene McCullagh

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I'll add my voice to David's. The root problem is LR's keyword management capabilities. We are in desperate need of a more elegant way to manage and maintain keywords. Simple things like scrubbing for dupes, hierarchy management, more powerful keywording groups, and so on.

Respecting the existing metadata is, I think, fundamental to the "non-destructive" nature of LR.
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Louis Sherwin

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I concur with Ian. Now that the image quality issues have been addressed with 3.x it is time to get serious with adding effective DAM tools. Providing a robust and flexible keyword tools is high on my priority list. I have several suggestions that I will be posting soon.
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Rob Cole

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I don't think this option should be considered mutually exclusive with other keyword handling improvements. Often when I import foreign photos into my catalog, I just want to deep-6 all the keywords presently assigned, and then assign my own, or not, as I see fit. If there was a substantial opportunity cost involved then obviously that would be a consideration, but this feature would take very little time to implement - really.
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Rob Sylvan, Champion

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If I import photos that have embedded legacy metadata, such as Title, Caption, Copyright and Keywords, and apply a metadata template during import that includes new Title, Caption, Copyright, and Keywords, then I would expect all of the data in the metadata template to *replace* the existing metadata when I view the imported photo in Lightroom.

This is almost what happens.

I would not want to see my new title, caption or copyright appended to the embedded data in those fields, and thankfully Lightroom replaces embedded data with the data in the template as it should. Yet with keywords, the existing words are always appended to the new. I would just like a similar level of control over keywords entering the catalog that I currently have over other metadata fields during import.

Let me put it another way, if you create a metadata template that is completely empty of new data, but check the little box next to every field in the template, and then apply that metadata template to a new import, the only legacy data that is still imported into the catalog are legacy keywords.

A check box in the keyword section of the metadata template that explicitly prevented Lightroom from importing legacy keywords would be one possible solution I would support, but if it just behaved the same as all the other fields then that would work for me too.

On a keyword-related note, there is an ongoing discussion regarding better keyword management, which I fully support, if anyone has missed it:

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
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Rob Cole

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Well put.
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Ian Lyons, Champion

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Yes, the inconsistency in behaviour is extremely irritating and has been drawn to the attention of Lr engineering folk more often than I care to count.

Lr should offer users the option to "append" or "replace" metadata, much as Bridge has done since version 1, but that's the subject of a separate and very long standing request.
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Sean McCormack, Champion

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I have to agree with Ian, there should be an append or replace metadata option