Import from another catalog loses keywords

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  • Updated 8 months ago
Since LR Classic last updated, I am unable to move images from one catalog to another without losing their keywords.  At the very end of the process, I get an error dialog saying "Lightroom could not ... due to an unknown error" or some such.  In fact, the images have transferred, but the keywords and smart collections have not.

An explanation of what I do:

After a day of photography, I import all my images into my Main catalog.  Next, I work through them and keyword all their locations.  This can be quite complex, for example:
    Tasmania
        Devonport & Cradle Mountain Region
            Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
               Dove Lake
                   Glacier Rock Walk
                       Glacier Rock
So I get all that done, and then move, for example, any bird images to the Bird catalog.  As you can see, I don't want to have to retype all the keywords for a new location, so I do everything in Main except to identify the species of bird.  This way, I only have to type stuff once.

But, as of a few days ago, it doesn't work any more.

I know this is a similar problem to others on the forum, but the others are five years old.
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Nicholas Abbott-Young

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  • Frustrated

Posted 8 months ago

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Paul Grant

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Are physically moving all the images to a new Catalog or a Collection?    In catalog preferences make sure under MetaData you have "Automatically write changes to XMP".  If not make sure that you Select all your images and under Metadata select "Save Metadata to files"  On a Mac just hit "Command S".    Hope this helps.
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Nicholas Abbott-Young

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You have missed the point, that what I have been doing successfully for the last year or so no longer works.  The procedure that I use (see my answer to Dan, below) now produces an error message.  And what the heck is an unknown error?

I am not moving the RAW files, merely moving their edits/keywords from one catalog to another.  I just tried again, and got the same error.


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Dan Hartford Photo

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I'd step back and consider why you want separate catalogs for different subjects such as one for birds.  Do you also have one for waterfalls?  What happens to an image with both a bird and a waterfall?  Anyway, having a raft full of catalogs distinguished by subject seems to defeat one of the main purposes of using a Digital Asset Manager such as LR.   

IMHO it would be much easier, much less complex, and way less time consuming to just create a collection for birds, or a keyword for birds, or a Smart collection for birds that looks for the "bird" keyword.
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Nicholas Abbott-Young

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If I ever have a clash of subjects, the image goes in the catalog that best suits the reason that I took the photograph.  As it is, such a clash is most unlikely, when you consider that the catalogs are titled Birds, Aircraft, Rail, Fungi, Models and Main!

While I am travelling (38 months so far), I am using a not-very-powerful laptop to do all my processing.  It seems to struggle with large catalogs, so I split off my special interests into their own catalogs.  The Bird catalog stands at roughly 20k images at present, and my total images runs to over 100k.  So, I import all the day's images into Main, then put in all the common keywords, such as location details, after which I split off any eligible images.  This ensures that they all have consistent location information, as per my example above.  The problem now is that the only way to move images from one catalog to another, with keywords, is to Export as catalog (say, Temp), then open the destination catalog and Import from another catalog (Temp).  Since the last update a few days ago, this no longer works, as the keywords are not transferred.

My intention, when I finish travelling, have a bricks-and-mortar home, and access to the desktop PC currently in storage, is to put all the catalogs back into one.  Which is why I want to be able to move images around WITH THEIR KEYWORDS, so that they will all merge properly when I do so.

Your answer misses the point that something has happened to LR, and it now does not do what it used to do.  I use Smart Collections extensively, but they are not always the best answer.
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Paul Grant

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As commented before are you saving metadata to files. This may have changed with the upgrade.
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Nicholas Abbott-Young

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I have never specified saving the metadata, and, looking at the option, I'm not sure that saving would make any difference, as I am only dealing with RAW files.

When I am exporting to catalog, the keywords go as expected, and show up in the new catalog.  The problem arises when I try to import from that new catalog into any other catalog - an "unknown error" occurs.  LR says that it could not import the catalog - it in fact has but has lost the keywords in the process.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Hi Nicholas

If you quit Lightroom, hold down the Ctrl (Windows) / Opt (Mac) key to show the Select Catalog dialog and select the source catalog and check the Test Integrity checkbox, does it pass the integrity check? And same for the target catalog? I'm wondering if there's some kind of catalog corruption.
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Nicholas Abbott-Young

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I tried that, but it has made no difference!

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Nicholas Abbott-Young

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Update!

I have just had a conversation with Piyush of Adobe, and the problem is solved!  I don't know what was wrong, but creating an empty catalog and importing from another worked, as did further importing another temp file.  So it looks as though I will be busy over the weekend creating new catalogs!

Thanks to everyone for their assistance!

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Nicholas Abbott-Young

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So, I started last night by trying to create my new Birds catalog using the method above.  Two hours and nearly 8000 images later, "Lightroom could not import this catalog due to an unknown error".  In other words, IT DIDN'T WORK!!!!!

I am convinced that this is a bug introduced in the last update, but I cannot convince anyone else of that.

Of course, this also means that I can't, as someone suggested, put all my catalogs back into one giant catalog - how do you do that if Import from another catalog doesn't work.

I don't know what else I have to do to report this and get something happening.
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Paul Grant

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I have never imported from another catalog before.   I tried it just now and it seemed to work.   I did notice a dialog box that gives you the option to replace Metadata etc or do nothing.    I assume you noticed the and dealt with it appropriately.   All worked for me along with the metadata etc.   My test was only about 250 images.  Good Luck.   Paul
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Nicholas Abbott-Young

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I don't get the option anymore!  I just tried using regedit to clean out all reference to LR, then started LR.  Tried Import, still failed.