This is one of those old fashioned boring blogs that are really about taking the time to do some basic housekeeping in managing your digital images. Roger wrote about our habit of the end of the year purging of old dead images from your catalog. A corollary to that process is getting into the habit of pruning and cleaning up your keywords. We both are huge fans of using keywords. We both use them in completely different ways and to us that is part of the brilliance behind Lightroom. It is a tool that you can adapt, customize, accessorize and personalize to your heart’s content.
My keywording strategies have evolved over the years. I have written about my use of the open source LR catalog (lightroom-keyword-list-project.blogspot.com), and now use many more keywords per image than I did when I started out. Sometimes though, strays and unintended descriptions wind up in my catalog. Sometimes it is just a case of “stupid fingers” like when you add an extra letter to an existing tag. If you need to Edit or add a new tag, simply Right Click on the entry and this dialog box opens.
Sometimes you add a tag, but don’t put it into the Master category where it belongs. For example, I try to have my top level categories listed as all CAPS, and then the increasingly specific subcategories are lower case. In my keyword list, I found 4 pictures tagged with B&B just hanging out all by themselves.
Luckily in Lightroom, you can just drag items up or down and they you can move them to their proper place. In this case down into my Structures & Architecture>structure#>B&B category.
I look for entries that only have 1 or 2 tagged images and try to determine if that category is too specific, or can be described by some other choice in my catalog. Just click on the little arrow to the right side of the keyword and it will show you all of the images. You can then comb your keyword list and click on the all of the others that might apply and then just go in and delete that “wrong” keyword.
I also use a smart collection to find any images which don’t have any keywords—often ones imported from my phone. When my system finds them, you have to be careful how you fix the problem. As soon as you add one keyword, it will disappear from your query. Just take a group of them and create a quick collection and then you can add as many words as you need.
Taking the time to do these things pays off when you want to find those images again.