Managing and organising keywords (MKL and pre-defined lists)

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Managing keywords can be confusing, as some users report:

"I'm new on this forum and currently I'm evaluating Portfolio among other asset management tools. I'm here worried about managing and adding the keywords with assets."

"Keywords are widely used (in different applications) but how on earth do you manage the keyword lists (e.g. master list in Portfolio)? I mean, if you have hundreds of keywords isn't it quite impossible to add the keywords extensively in all images? Isn't finding them from the long list difficult? Basically you should go through the whole list? Forgetting to add one keyword sometimes because you don't see it (because keywords are in one long unorganized list) might be too easy?"

The best way to add keywords is to import them to the Master Keyword List (MKL). If you don't have an MKL but you do have keywords in your Catalogue, don't worry as you can create a list by exporting your existing keywords as a list and editing, if needs be, before re-importing it as your MKL. The same principle holds true for custom fields by using pre-defined lists.

Just as the Catalogue can be set to only allow keywords from the MKL, so custom fields can be set to only use words from a pre-defined list (note that in either case, if you change this setting to 'on' keywords existing in records but not in the list will persist and must be deleted manually. With the Keywords field (only) you can simplify this by exporting all the keywords to a list and externally comparing it with your MKL; note any keywords not in the MKL and search on them and delete them from the records.

Once your keywords are in the MKL, open the MKL palette (View -> Keyword palette; Ctrl+K). Do a Find to display all the records needing that keyword. Select all and click the 'Assign' button on the keyword palette. Alternatively drag and drop keywords from the palette onto a record. Any custom field set to use a pre-defined list will also have a Master palette available holding the pre-defined list and you can do the same operations as described for the MKL palette.

"Isn't finding them from the long list difficult?"
Well, if they are in the MKL, open the palette and type in the text box at the top of the palette which will 'autoshift' the focus of the list below to reflect what you type. If this is not good enough then you should look at scripting - AppleScript or Visual Basic depending on your OS. Depending on your workflow don't forget you can embed your keywords in TIFF tags which can be read when you import the images.

"Forgetting to add one keyword sometimes because you don't see it (because keywords are in one long unorganized list) might be too easy?"
True, but if the source words are in the MKL you can print the list (export it first) or put the list in another window so you can refer to the 'sets' of keywords that you may need to add to the various groups of records. This way you have a 'look up' list to ensure that once you've found have the target records, you add *all* the intended keywords from the MKL. Don't forget you can Ctrl+Click select multiple entries from the MKL before assigning, but with a long MKL list, using the textbox 'autoshift' of the list focus and then assigning per keyword is probably more efficient.

(Windows only) Selecting non-contiguous records to apply keywords is more difficult. This is because in Portfolio v3, v4, v5 and v6 the standard Windows UI conventions have not yet been properly implemented. Ctrl+Clicking a selected record does not visibly deselect a selected record, though tech support maintain doing so actually does deselect the record despite the visible selection border remaining visible. However, as the user tends to rely on the visual feedback to indicate selection status, this bug makes using this method of record selection difficult in the Windows client. Don't expect this major interface flaw to get fixed anytime soon, more's the shame.

On a more general level, it is well worth doing some initial keyword planning before you start adding records. Add keywords - or precursor keywords to a prototype MKL and discuss this with a sample of users to see if the list 'works' for them. This will help you planning your detailed keyword strategy.

Where possible, I try to add long-term keywords as part of the image-handling process as TIF, PSD and JPG allow embedded tags which can be read into the keyword field when being catalogued; this avoids having to manually apply the keywords after the cataloguing process.

Also consider putting the files (records) into Categories. Although Categories don't map as keywords they can help you find the records in order to apply your keywords.

Question: Managing and organising keywords (MKL and pre-defined lists) [FAQ00067.htm]
Last Update:- 31 May 2006

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