Posts Tagged ‘tag’

Tagging is Pointless

September 18, 2009

In WordPress that is.

Lightroom calls them keywords, WordPress calls them tags, but they are the same thing: values applied to information (with no type).

What I mean is that WordPress has a good full-text search feature so if your blog posts are mostly text it will find any post with a term whether it is a Tag or not.

I can’t see any point in adding Tags to my posts. I don’t think it makes them any easier to find.

Of course pictures in Lightroom are not so easy to search. It would so great if Lightroom could ‘recognize’ a Hino AK bus or a Boeing 747 in a picture as I can. Then I could throw all my keywords away. There has been work done on image recognition but isn’t in Lightroom yet.

I wonder if they are something that search engines look for? No – that’s too easy to game. The search engines favour content over probably-manipulated metadata.

Somebody tell me I am wrong!

Keywording and Tagging in Lightroom

July 27, 2009

The Name Game – Keywording and Tagging in Lightroom | x=blog+stay+informed.

Here’s one of the most comprehensive discussions I have seen. But Brandon’s requirements are completely different to mine so he has taken a different approach.

It’s good that the keyword / tag concept is so flexible that it can accomodate everybody’s needs. But without a plan you end up with a mass of keywords and aren’t much the wiser.

I’ll write more about my scheme in another post. It seems to be standing the test of time in that I can keyword my photos now without finding I have to change the design. Lightroom’s “keyword suggestions” seem psychic sometimes – but at others remarkably dumb.

Discussing Machine tags in the Flickr API

July 16, 2009


The Flickr Developer blog here has a lot of discussion of the different ways machine tags are being used. Here is the official announcement.

The Trouble With Keywords

July 16, 2009

Is that they are typeless.

I guess I’d better explain that.

When you apply a keyword to an photograph or anything else it is a single value, usually a string. For example “Bangkok”.

That tells the person doing the search that the photo has something to do with Bangkok. That’s okay as far as it goes but what about “3”?

I have the keyword “3” several times in my Lightroom database. Sometimes it means a Mazda 3 car. Other times it refers to a bus on route #3. But that shows up in at least three bus companies I have pictures of.

In Lightroom it keeps track of the position of the keyword in the hierarchy I have built – aka nested keywords.

So I have


PSVs-Operators-Asia-Thailand-Bangkok MTA-routes-3

PSVs-Operators-Europe-England-London-Transport for London-routes-3

and I can distinguish them because of that hierarchy. But the hierarchy is lost when Lightroom exports the pictures, say to Flickr. On Flickr keywords (or tags as Flickr calls them) are just values with no structure. So I will just see “3” in Flickr’s tag list.

Combine that with the fact that many people don’t bother tagging their images, tag them inconsistently, mis-spell tags and even apply the same tags to all images whether they are relevant or not, tags are pretty useless for locating pictures.

Groups, which are akin to Lightroom Collections, are much better especially if they’re moderated, because often a human has ensured that everything in the group is relevant to it. Still mistakes slip in – I have seen many Skytrain pictures in a group on Subways for example.

Some people have tried to impose some order on keywording with efforts like aerotagging and geotagging.

I know aerotagging the best. In addition to adding the keywords Boeing and 747 the poster of the picture adds aero:man=Boeing and aero:model=747.

In computer science this is a simple example of typing. I know now that the second aerotag is an instance of the type “aircraft model” and not “aircraft construction number” (aerotag aero:cn=747).

Geotags are similar for encoding position information (lat/long) as keywords.

Lightroom’s keyword synonyms are excellent for aerotagging. I have “aero:man=Boeing” as a synonym for my keyword “Boeing”. Every time I add Boeing to a picture it is exported with the correct aerotag as well.

I have done with same with locations. So for example London Heathrow Airport has synonyms “aero:airport=EGLL” (aerotags use the 4 character ICAO airport code rather than the 3 character IATA code that’s used on passenger related stuff like tickets and baggage tags.)

Lightroom lets me add any number of synonyms to each keyword and to decide if they are exported or not.

As Lightroom supports a keyword hierarchy I have “747” as a child of “Boeing” so when I add keyword “747” to a picture it will be exported with

Jumbo Jet

and a few others. This also provides a modicum of protection against errors. I bet I’ll find as many pictures of girls if I search Flickr for “pretty gril” as I would for “pretty girl”.

If I have more than one keyword with the same value – like the Mazda 3 and BMTA bus route #3 then Lightroom gives me the context when adding the keywords so I am sure I am adding the correct instance of 3. (There is a Lightroom bug here but I will talk about that elsewhere).

Andrew Ferguson has a site devoted to aerotagging here. There’s a Flickr pool for aerotags here.

And Flickr keep a list of their most popular tags here.