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  • Categories & Keywords - Are they the same thing (but 2 separate systems)

    I've used ACDSee for awhile (currently Ultimate 2021), and I always use keywords rather than categories. After watching the Category/Keyword webinar, my takeaway is that they are the same, just parallel systems. This could allow you to have 1 system (categories) that would cover things like Buildings, Animals, Events, etc. And Keywords could be specific people, places, etc.

    I understand that you could then search in categories and keywords at the same time (for instance Buildings|Eifel Tower in category and People|Tom in keywords).

    I think you would have the same result if you only used Keywords (or categories)

    I think it is nice to have the availability of 2 systems, but as a hobbyist I haven't found the need to use both.

    Am I missing something? If you actively use both systems, can you share examples of how you are using both?

    Thanks!
    Dave


  • #2
    Originally posted by CanonFan View Post
    I've used ACDSee for awhile (currently Ultimate 2021), and I always use keywords rather than categories. After watching the Category/Keyword webinar, my takeaway is that they are the same
    Whilst one can choose to use either categories or keywords for some specific purposes, Keywords and Categories are not the same.
    The following attempts to point out some of the differences, and I apologize in advance for the length of this post.

    For this example, I've chosen a hierarchical structure that might be used to catalog photos taken at a number of different places each day on a multi day trip
    In this example, say the trip was to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, was over 5 days, and on each day photos were taken at 4 different sites.

    Aims.
    (a) to be able to do a single selection to show all of the photos taken on the trip
    (b) to be able to do a single selection to show all the photos taken on a particular day
    (c) to be able to do a single selection to show all of the photos taken at a particular site.

    Hierarchical Structure used for both ACDSee Keywords and Categories

    Flinders Ranges Trip
    ___Day_1
    _____1_Dutchman's Stern
    _____2_Ardenvale Road
    _____3_Warren Gorge
    _____4_Buckaringa Gorge
    ___Day_2
    _____1_Arkaba Ranges
    _____2_Morialana Drive
    _____3_Parachilna Gorge
    _____4_Castle Rock
    ___Day_3
    etc.

    To keep this a simple as I can, the above structure only depicts the first two days of the trip.
    Note that I've used a leading number on each of the place names to keep them in the order visited, otherwise they would show in alphabetic order.

    Now the above hierarchical arrangement can be constructed using either Keywords or Categories. For this example I done both, and then specifically assigned just the keyword for the photo site to each photo (not the upper parent levels), and also assigned just the site category, (not the parent categories), then embedded the ACDSee metadata in the photos. I've also copied the ACDSee keywords to IPTC keywords.

    Using either just keywords, or just categories, I can achieve the three aims above but when I look at the metadata embedded in an image for example taken on Day 2, at 4_Castle Rock, in ExifTool there is a clear difference in structure.

    Keywords
    [XMP-acdsee] Keywords :Flinders Ranges Trip|Day_2|4_Castle Rock

    (Note that whilst I assigned only "4_Castle Rock", the embedded data also contains the higher level "Flinders Ranges Trip" and also "Day_2")

    Categories
    [XMP-acdsee] Categories :<Categories><Category Assigned="0">Flinders Ranges Trip<Category Assigned="0">Day_2<Category Assigned="1">4_Castle Rock</Category></Category></Category></Categories>

    Note that whilst the embedded metadata is a different structure, again whilst I assigned only "4_Castle Rock", the embedded data also contains the higher level "Flinders Ranges Trip" and also "Day_2")

    IPTC Keyword
    [IPTC] Keywords :4_Castle Rock

    Note that the higher levels are not embedded

    Some other differences.
    1. I can Filter on a specific category - I can't Filter on a keyword
    2. I can Group on keywords - I can't Group on Categories
    3. I can Sort on Keywords (Custom sort) - I can't sort on Categories.
    4. As mentioned above, I copied ACDSee keywords to IPTC keywords but only the actual assigned keyword appears in IPTC, not the implied parent levels. Had I individually assigned the parent level keywords as well, for example specifically assigned "Flinders Ranges Trip" and assigned "Day_2" and assigned "4_Castle Rock" then the embedded IPTC keywords would have shown as

    [IPTC] Keywords :4_Castle Rock, Day_2, Flinders Ranges Trip.

    Note from the commas between them, each of these are simple keywords. IPTC does not support Hierarchical keyword structures.

    5. Whilst I can copy ACDSee keywords to IPTC (as simple keywords) I can't copy the ACDSee categories to IPTC, because IPTC doesn't support the proprietary category structure used by ACDSee.
    Last edited by Greyfox; 07-31-2022, 10:01 PM.

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    • #3
      Greyfox -

      Thanks for the explanation! I'm still trying to digest it all! I had never looked at the xmp data itself - I had guessed that they were different tags. I had assumed they were basically the same type of system, but independent of one another.

      I think the list of differences in Filter, Grouping and sorting are probably (for me) the most practical difference.

      For point 5 - I had thought that was the case (that only ACDSee Keywords could be copied into IPTC keywords, although without hierarchy). However, at least in Ultimate 2021, it looks like you can do this with categories as well. I tried it out on one image - it appears to work. (See preset screenshot below)

      Interesting thought on using categories/keywords for days of a trip and sites visited, listed with number prefixes. I had never thought of that!! I tend to make a collection for each trip - but the same could probably be accomplished (possibly even better?) using categories. It truly amazes me that ACDSee is completely flexible to however someone wants to use it! (Which is a little overwhelming at times!)

      I'd be interested to hear how others are using the combo of keywords and categories!

      Dave

      Click image for larger version

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      • #4
        Originally posted by CanonFan View Post
        For point 5 - I had thought that was the case (that only ACDSee Keywords could be copied into IPTC keywords, although without hierarchy). However, at least in Ultimate 2021, it looks like you can do this with categories as well. I tried it out on one image - it appears to work. (See preset screenshot below)
        Dave, yes you can do that, but it isn't saving the ACDSee categories as IPTC categories, it is saving the ACDSee category information as simple IPTC keywords.
        Using the previous Category example:-

        Flinders Ranges Trip
        ------Day_2
        ----------4_Castle Rock

        Using the preset you posted,
        If I assign only "4_Castle Rock", as the ACDSee category, then the IPTC is only "4_Castle Rock"
        If I assign "Flinders Ranges Trip" and "Day_2" and "4_Castle Rock", then that becomes three independent IPTC keywords (and they are not necessarily in the expected order).

        Note that IPTC does have a standard "Category" tag, but it isn't hierarchical, and can only contain a choice from a fixed listing from the standard as shown below

        Click image for larger version  Name:	IPTC Categories.jpg Views:	0 Size:	73.4 KB ID:	61275 .

        The main point for me, is being able to automatically reconstruct the original ACDSee structure, from the embedded metadata.in the images using ACDSee's "Tools\Database\Catalog Files" if for any reason the database needs to be replaced.

        I can do that with ACDSee Categories, and ACDSee Keywords, in both cases retaining the original Hierarchical structure. I haven't been able to successfully do that 100% with Collections, so I don't use Collections.

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        • #5
          Greyfox -
          Good points! I hadn't looked much into the IPTC categories - I didn't realize they are such fixed names! Probably not very useful for a hobbyist.

          I see that ACDSee Keywords are similar to IPTC keywords - but no hierarchy.
          It looks like ACDSee Categories have nothing to do with IPTC categories!!
          But ACDSee Categories and Keywords are similar (And similarly modifiable, hierarchical)

          I like your idea of using ACDSeee categories like I had been using the collections (fixed collections). I don't rebuild databases often, but when I have, the collections have remained intact. But it does feel like categories responds faster than collections. (Maybe that's because I only have a few categories!)

          Going forward, I think I'll be using ACDSee categories to collect a trip (vacation, sightseeing, etc), and use ACDSee keywords to describe the content of each picture.

          Thank you!
          Dave

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          • #6
            I tend to use categories for broad categorization for a lack of a better term, and keywords for specificity. For e.g. Bird = category, Robin = keyword. Cityscape = category, Paris = keyword, Public Event = category, Fair = subcategory, Creekmore Market = keyword etc. In the end, it's whatever works for you. I also use IPTC City, Province/State, Country because I can group on those, very handy for travel photos. You can filter a query result on categories, but not keywords. Etc. If you find something works better as a keyword than a category, vice versa, query on that keyword/category, assign category/keyword of the same to all, delete the old keyword/category.
            Last edited by Regor250; 08-04-2022, 05:24 PM.

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