Lightroom: Fixing metadata mismatch Request

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  • Idea
  • Updated 1 year ago
  • (Edited)

When there is a mismatch between the metadata in the catalog and the metadata on disk, LR places a mark in the upper right corner of the image which, when clicked, gives you the option to copy the disk metadata to the catalog or the catalog metadata to the disk.  This is an all or nothing proposition.


The problem is that you can't select which metadata fields will be copied when you sync metadata between the catalog and the images on disk.  For example, I don't have my catalog set to keep metadata current on disk.  So, in pretty much all cases, my disk and catalog metadata are different, with the catalog being correct.  But, I use a 3rd party program (rather than the Map Module) to add GPS info from track logs which also supplies location information.

If I use the 3rd party tool before I import the images, no problem.  However sometimes I forget and only discover missing GPS data later - after I've done lots of other work in LR.  If I then go to the 3rd party tool which adds the GPS and location info to the images I have no way to get that into LR without losing all my other metadata work.  

Yes, I know I can first copy all metadata to disk, then use the tool and then copy back but that many times screws up my keywords which in LR are a hierarchy but when they come back from disk go other places.


When you click on the mismatched metadata icon,  instead of just giving a disk to Catalog or catalog to disk choice, display the same dialog that is used when syncing metadata between images.  In other words let the user both pick the direction and also pick which metadata fields to copy.  In this way, in may example, I could click to sync metadata from disk to catalog and only choose the GPS and Location fields which would leave all my other metadata alone.

Thanks -- Dan
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Dan Hartford Photo

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Posted 1 year ago

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Your suggestion makes complete sense, but based on past experience with such suggestions here, it may not get implemented until the next ice age.

As a more convenient workflow meanwhile, consider setting the option Catalog Settings > Automatically Write Changes Into XMP.  This will ensure that when you run an external tool, e.g. to set the GPS fields, the metadata on disk will be the same as in the catalog, except for the GPS fields you've changed.  Then you can safely do Metadata > Read MetaData From File without fear of losing metadata.   Setting Automatically Write Changes ensures you won't forget to manually write the metadata first.

"Yes, I know I can first copy all metadata to disk, then use the tool and then copy back but that many times screws up my keywords which in LR are a hierarchy but when they come back from disk go other places."

Can you reproduce this behavior with Metadata > Read Metadata From File in LR 6 / CC 2015?  I use this workflow frequently with hierarchical keywords and don't experience any issues with it.

Past LR versions had issues with reading hierarchical keywords, I recall, and the current version still has issues with keyword synonyms and Export > Add To This Catalog (the synonyms get exported and added back in as keywords).  But you're not doing an export.

The option Automatically Write Changes Into XMP has pros and cons:

- Pro: It provides additional data protection in the case of user or software error (accidentally delete your catalog, accidentally delete photo from the catalog, or LR corrupts the catalog [very rare], and you then discover you haven't tested your backups recently and they no longer work, a distressingly common occurrence).

- Pro: It makes working with external tools easier, as described above.

- Con: It creates more work for your backup system, especially in the infrequent times you change the metadata for hundreds or thousands of photos at once.  For raw files, that's negligible, since the metadata is written to tiny .xmp files. But for non-raws (e.g. JPEGs or DNGs), that can be more annoying, since the entire image file has to be backed up whenever you touch its metadata.   For my backup system (an external fast drive with OS X Time Machine), this is a minor annoyance.

Note that prior to version 3, many people believes that Automatically Write Changes Into XMP interfered with the interactive performance of LR. But there haven't been any complaints on the forums that I've seen since LR 3, and I don't notice any issues -- LR's pretty good about doing it in background.