Elements: Organizer: How do you handle scanned media whose "scan-date" is not the "original-media-date"?

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 9 months ago
  • (Edited)
I have thousands of scanned slides and photographs whose original dates span 1945 through the early 2000's.  They were scanned in batches of "year+month-to-month"  (many were slide cubes or trays).  I created a file structure: // that matched the scanned batches and loaded my .jpg images.  So my file structure 'encodes' the time frame in which the original media were taken.  But the actual file dates are decades later, and even though the original media were in time-order, the scans were not necessarily done absolutely sequentially.  So its a jumble.  Viewing in PSE is frustrating, if not useless.  I was hoping to be able to use the folder tree to view by year or decade (in combination with keyword and people tags) so that I could put some order to it.  But I've discovered that does not work as expected.

My environment is Windows 7.
I suspect I need/want first to change the EXIF Date Taken field that was put there by the scanning operation to something that approximates the original media date.  Then perhaps have the file system dates (created/modified/accessed) set to the updated EXIF Date Taken value.
But I don't know if this is the best approach? or necessary?

What do other people do when they encounter this issue (for there must be many of you)?
Do you have a workflow for handling this?
Could you describe it, in baby steps?

Thanks.
Photo of C J

C J

  • 31 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes

Posted 9 months ago

  • 1
Photo of Steve Lehman

Steve Lehman

  • 847 Posts
  • 96 Reply Likes
CJ,   

My folders are entitled "xxxx" as the year.   Inside those folders are other folders entitled as "xx" in months in double digits.  Inside of those are folders with dates only in double digits along with names and/or places.  You cannot have names and dates in the first order, at the same time.   It would be a nightmare, so decide what you want.   I do not place dashes on any dates or you'd be asking for double trouble.  Slides and photos are separated.  Most of the time the photos are the same as slides as slides were made for show in the old days.  You don't need a slide show program.  Any folder of slides can can be selected and played with Microsoft Media Player.   

Steve Lehman, mcse   



Photo of C J

C J

  • 31 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
STEVE,
I'm assuming we are talking about scanned/digitized media items. Were the original media in proper date/time sequence (by Media Date - see my definition below) when they were scanned?  So that the names and creation dates of the digitized versions are in the same order? 
What is the file name format?
What if you wanted to view photos from multiple years and months. 
If Organizer orders them by file-date-created, then you might still see Nov 1990 appear before March 1990, and both could appear before April 1980, depending upon the order in which you found and scanned the original media.
I just was not clear on all you said.

(Edited)
Photo of Steve Lehman

Steve Lehman

  • 847 Posts
  • 96 Reply Likes
As for scan dates, each file will have a properties tab:  Right-click, then click on Properties and it will have a date when it became a file which is the date it was scanned.   No .exif file needs to be changed.   BTW, nobody really uses those file formats anymore.   They are the same as TIFF.   



Photo of C J

C J

  • 31 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
"BTW, nobody really uses those file formats anymore.   They are the same as TIFF.  "

I did not understand this.

Photo of Steve Lehman

Steve Lehman

  • 847 Posts
  • 96 Reply Likes
CJ,

First, are you talking to Michel or me?  He's not Michael.  Please use first names per each reply.  We are getting confused.  Also as technologists, we are specific in our replies, so please be accurate or detailed.   

As for my folder configuration:  I was using a number digit format so that the years will be in number order, then month folders with numbers will be in order, then each file has a two digit date to keep those in number order also.  I also save the date files with a note of the persons or place for scenery.   My photos are mostly scenery since my photography is specializing in calendar pics as apposed to those who take people photos.  I take a few shots of people but not ordinarily, as my fun is really about the scenery.  In Washington State there is a lot of that.  My preference for calendars is lighthouses but not stormy seas.   Our western coast affords a lot of those also.   

My only reference to exif files was because in your earlier question you mentioned exif files.  Exif files are formats which became the same as TIFF file formats. Then later, exif formats became a container-file for TIFF files.  Container file formats are  much more complex to understand without giving you a few days of educational material.  Exif files can be PDF files, as when saving a file as PDF, the PDF file can also be saved as a compressed file as it is saved as PDF-JPG or your PDF file can be saved as uncompressed file as a PDF-TIFF file.  Photoshop will allow you to save in either format.  To do so, while in the editor, you will first save as PDF, as Photoshop will ask if you want that PDF to be saved as compressed or uncompressed giving you the choice of saving it as PDF-JPG (compressed) or PDF-TIFF (uncompressed).  In the "save as" dialog box, you will select PDF and then you can select which compressed or uncompressed format you wish to use.  This takes place in the editor keep in mind because, in the "save as" dialog box, IF you have "Organizer" is NOT checkmarked you will get the choice of PDF-TIFF or PDF-JPG.   BUT if the Organizer check box is checkmarked, you may not, as your file is saved in the Organizer instead, and the way it is saved is within the Organizer, not within the editor.   

I would stay with TIFF or JPG files as simple files.   Again, not many use exif files anymore because we get better files in a simple TIFF (TIF) or JPG, whichever method of saving the format needed.     

Steve Lehman, mcse   
Photo of C J

C J

  • 31 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Steve,
First reply - I apologize for using the wrong name.  I was replying to your post, but my fingers were somewhere else. I edited the post to remove 'michael' and add 'steve'.
Photo of C J

C J

  • 31 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Next point - I was loose with my terminology.  When I said 'exif data' I should have said 'exif metadata'.  (at least I think so).  And I realize that I have been slippery with my thinking regarding file format specs and the specific compression (or not) for a specific file.  So thanks very much for giving me a head slap!  I do understand the need for accuracy and specificity.
Now I need to read your whole reply, slowly, for better comprehension.
Thanks again,
  -cj
 
Photo of Michel BRETECHER

Michel BRETECHER, Champion

  • 1269 Posts
  • 268 Reply Likes
  I created a file structure: <decade>/<year>/<year-month> that matched the scanned batches

Can you show a screenshot of how this structure looks like (decade/year level)?
Do we agree that this structure represents the 'date_taken' not the scanned date?

I would concentrate on adding a year tag to all files using my workaround for including subfolders.

- The workaround is to close the organizer
- to rename a year folder outside the organizer (for instance by adding a 'Y' suffix)
- to use the option to Find missing files
- to add a tag to all missing files (ie 2018Y)
- to reconnect, either by the reconnect feature or by renaming back the year folder outside of the organizer.

You'll have to do this for every year.
For months which are the last level of the folder tree, you can select each month subfolder and add a month tag.

With two tags for years and months, you can combine them with other criteria without using any folder property.

If you can select files from a given year or month, you can assign a 'date_taken' which is not complete (you don't know the day) but which allows you to sort by date in any display mode including albums or searches. You can even save the date_taken to the file metadata header with the command Ctrl W.



(Edited)
Photo of C J

C J

  • 31 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
First, how does one quote a portion of someone else's post?

Second, I need some help with your procedure, which I understand but don't know how to do.

I could rename my folder "1993" to "1993-temp".
Then open Organizer and Find Missing Files.

My question is: how do I manage or manipulate them?
Are you saying that there is some way to get the thumbnails of all the missing files to appear somewhere (the media view pane?) such that you can add a keyword?
All I have ever seen is a list of them appearing in a small pane and I've never been able to select more than on in order to do find and indicate the actual photo.
So I need some more detailed, 'click here' instructions, if you could.
And/or screen shots.

Thanks,
  -cj
Photo of Michel BRETECHER

Michel BRETECHER, Champion

  • 1269 Posts
  • 268 Reply Likes
Second, I need some help with your procedure, which I understand but don't know how to do.

You click on the " icon (10th on the icon bar for your answer in the bottom of your post, then paste the text you want to show as a quote. Or you highlight the pasted text and click on the " icon.

Second, I need some help with your procedure, which I understand but don't know how to do.
In the organizer, you have a "Find" menu next to the "edit" one. The 6th option is "All missing files". Before doing anything else, use this option to check that there are no missing files in your catalog. Quit the organizer and rename the folder. when you try again, all the files in that folder plus all the files in its subfolders will be displayed as 'missing'. Their thumbnails are shown in the browsing space. Select all (Ctrl A) and add a tag to all. The catalog has lost the location of the files, but has kept all their properties including the thumbnails.

Now you can either:
- quit the organizer, rename back in the explorer and reopen the organizer. The files are no longer missing, but you can search all the files by the added tag and select tem all.
- be happy with the renaming and use the 'reconnect' function in the file menu, you simply browse to the new location and all your files are reconnected (their location is updated in the catalog). The tag allows you to select all as above.


(Edited)
Photo of C J

C J

  • 31 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Michael,
We need a word or term, so I am going to use "Media Date" to mean that of the original media and not to the date when those media were scanned or otherwise digitized. If the original media depicts a birthday celebration in 1993, then its Media Date is 1993. The lowest level folders in my structure have the year-month (and starting day, if known) of the Media Date.  Those dates relate to how and when the events actually occurred, and how we remember and refer to them.  Those lowest level folders are the ones I import.  (sometimes, if the number of photos is large or there are multiple sources, there may be lower level folders)  Where possible, I rename the individual photos to start with the year.  However, many got imported before that happened, and as we know, Reconnect does not always work smoothly, except for small batches within the same folder.

Below is a screen shot of my windows directory:

and a screen shot of the Folder Tree structure in Elements Organizer

I was hoping to be able to click on the folder "2004" and see all the photos for that year.  I was hoping to click on the folder "1990s" and see all photos from that decade.  (I could then select my daughter and 'birthdays' and get a collection of all her birthday photos.  I recognize that if the photos themselves have the 'scan date' and not the 'media date' that they will still not be in order.  But looking at them by filename might provide enough information to order them correctly (in, say, an Album).
I have a question which I'll pose in a separate post.
  -cj
Photo of Steve Lehman

Steve Lehman

  • 847 Posts
  • 96 Reply Likes
CJ, 

As you described, your exif-metadata is actually the exif container I talked about which is a container for the metadata.  This pertains to the Organizer.  Michel is the guy who can relate to the Organizer better than myself.   And, he'll be with ya in a jiffy.  Thank you Michel.   I have been referring to number folders in number order like yours.  She only needs it explained easier.   

SL   


Photo of Michel BRETECHER

Michel BRETECHER, Champion

  • 1269 Posts
  • 268 Reply Likes
C J,
Your screenshot is very useful and I agree about 'media' date which is generally referred to as 'date_taken' in Elements and differently in my French Windows 10 explorer.
The main thing to keep in mind is that the only relevant date for Elements is the 'media date', which is the date used for sorting and displaying images. That is obvious for media files from camera files with their 'media dates' but for scans, there is nothing automatic as you know. The organizer can read and display other types of dates necessary for the OS. They are displayed in the Information panel, but they are not registered anywhere nor indexed in the catalog database. The Windows explorer can display and sort by about 15 types of dates...

Your file structure holds a lot of information about dates and also about events. That structure is displayed nearly the same in the organizer as in the explorer (except subfolders without image contents are not displayed by default).

How to recover the most of that useful information into a catalog?
- You can select a folder or subfolder in the left panel to show and select all media files (shortcut CTR A)
- You can add tags, captions and even a 'media date' to all those selected files. This is important because all files in a subfolder may be assigned a precise date and the description of an event, in the events category and/or in the caption as well as many tags (which may be decade, year or months in addition to the tags recovered from your previous software.)
- you can create an album from a subfolder name and manage that album in its album virtual hierarchy without changing anything in the folder structure itself on your drive.
- You can switch from the tree view in the folders panel to the alphabetic list. That alphabetic list will easily show you your subfolders in the correct ascending sort order with the useful date template you have chosen.
- you can change (reorder) the folder tree by moving folders and subfolders just like in the organizer.

Your problem is twofold:  you have many such subfolders (several hundreds) and you can't select files from folders WITH their sufolders.
If you have enough time to do the job for each of your final subfolders, all your files will include fully useable dates to enable any kind of selection and display based on dates.
If you want to get more rapidly the ability to sort at least by years, you need to assign a year tag for all the media in a year folder AND in its subfolders. That can be done with my workaround and will be faster than dealing with all subfolders. It is possible to assign an incomplete date in the 'media' date of the organizer with only the year.








(Edited)