LR: Support user-defined metadata, eg., keyword-value pairs, eg., species=robin

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I don't know if user-defined metadata fields are permitted. If so, great (please tell me). Otherwise, here are some ideas:

Use case: Say I'm a bird-watcher and I want to sort my images by species (eg., sparrow, robin, etc). That would be easily accomplished if I could define a metadata field 'species' and assign it, eg., species=robin, for each photo. Then I could sort on that field (presuming LR supported sorting on metadata fields).

If I couldn't define a metadata field (eg., due to a limitation of the metadata standards for images), I could still accomplish this by using an existing standards-defined field, eg., 'title' or 'subtitle'.

Or, it appears that LR accepts keywords in the format of 'key=value', ie., '=' is allowed as a character in keywords. Thus I could conceivable define keyword-value pairs in the keywords field, such as 'species=robin'. That would require support from LR to parse keywords into keyword-value pairs and allow use of those, eg., in sorting.

For the 'first release', I'd be happy with just being able to sort on existing metadata fields (eg., subtitle), provided LR would support multiple levels of sorting (eg., so that after sorting by 'subtitle' I could then subsort by some other field, eg., capture time).
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Jim Elder

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Posted 5 years ago

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Rob Cole

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Keyword-wise, you may be able to accomplish your goal using keyword hierarchies.




robin < species
sparrow < species

in Lightroom syntax


species / robin
species / sparrow

in computer-nerd syntax...

But if you want to define your own custom metadata, instead of bastardizing an existing IPTC field, a plugin such as this one is essential:

Custom Metadata

However, your present need does not seem to warrant such custom metadata, since regular keyword hierarchies will do the job - unless I'm missing something.

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Jim Elder

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Thanks Rob. A heirarchy of keywords would accomplish much of what I had in mind, eg., supporting extensions of LR's ability to sort images.

For example, given a keyword hierarchy of 'species' containing 'robin' and 'sparrow', then a sort on 'species' might list all the images subtagged with 'robin' followed by all the images subtagged with 'sparrow'.

(Within each keyword, sorting would presumably be determined by a second sorting criterion, eg., capture time.)

It's great to be made aware of your Custom Metadata extension, thanks (that's much more elegant than overloading or changing the semantics of an existing field).

So with keyword hierarchies and the Custom Metadata extension, it seems LR has a foundation upon which better sorting could be done, if LR were to add support for multilevel sorting or sorting by user-defined script functions (most flexible/powerful of all), as suggested in other posts.