Controlled Vocabulary

The Controlled Vocabulary Keyword Catalog FAQ

(Frequently Asked Questions)

Questions on Using the CVKC | Purchase and Download Questions | Subscription and Licensing Questions | Installation Questions

Other useful general metadata questions with answers can be found on the David Riecks Quora page.

Use of the Controlled Vocabulary Keyword Catalog:

Question 1: How do I use the Controlled Vocabulary Keyword Catalog (CVKC)?
Answer: The specifics on how to apply keywords using the Controlled Vocabulary Keyword Catalog (CVKC) are covered in varying levels of detail on the Support pages for each Product. The Product page has links to all of the current versions of the CVKC.

Question 2: When is a keyword, not a keyword?
Answer: When it's a term from a formally structured controlled vocabulary like the IPTC Codes, designed for a specific use with it's own designated field for storage. For details see the specific page that discusses the use of the IPTC Genre, IPTC Scene, and IPTC Subject codes.

Question 3: Why are there numbers like 01011003, or 10015000 appearing with the other terms in my Keyword field?
Answer: These are numbered codes that are taken from the IPTC Subject and IPTC Scene codes that are formally structured controlled vocabularies developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council. They are included within all versions of the CVKC, however they should be transferred to their own designated fields for storage. For details see the specific page that discusses the use of the IPTC Genre, IPTC Scene, and IPTC Subject codes.

Question 4: What is the difference between an excluded category header and a synonym?
Answer: This all depends on which version of the CVKC you are using, so you should check out the Support page for your particular application for specifics. With the more advanced applications such as Lightroom, Photo Mechanic, IDimager and BreezeBrowser, support is provided for three kinds of terms. Regular keywords have no embellishments. Terms that are to be treated as Synonyms and applied anytime the preferred term is chosen, will appear in the source file that is imported, surrounded with curly brackets {like these}. Terms that are needed to be part of the hierarchy in order to create a branch in the path, but are unlikely to be used for search terms are considered "Excluded Category Headers" and will appear in the source file surrounded by square brackets [like these]. With some applications, such as Lightroom, in order to suppress a keyword from appearing, you will have to "untick" a checkbox that states "Include on Export" (the default position is to have the checkbox ticked, so that the keyword IS included).

Question 5: When using Lightroom, do you know of any flags that can be inserted in the keyword import text file to control the status of the three Lightroom Keyword tag options: Include on export, Export containing keywords, and Export Synonyms?
Answer: If you are wanting to know how to modify the text file prior to import so that specific words are designated as synonyms, or excluded category headers, then the following may be of use. Note that adding terms in Lightroom using the Create Keyword Tag dialog has the three options you mention. The standard would be to "include on export" which would be what we call a "standard keyword", if you "uncheck" that box, then the resulting keyword would have a set of square brackets before and after the term in the import text file and equate to what we call an "excluded category header." Checking the box "export synonyms" would indicate to Lightroom that you wish to include any terms that have the curly brackets before and after the term and equate to what we call "synonyms."

There is a document titled "Text_Wrangling_PM_cvkc_071110.pdf" which discusses the modification of the Photo Mechanic version of the CVKC (though this format is virtually identical to the Lightroom version) as well as how to open and properly save in the proper text file format. That document is available from the Controlled Vocabulary discussion forum (which does requires a free registration). You can sign up using the link on the Forum page.

Question 6: How can I modify the Photo Mechanic CVKC file before importing to add my own terms, including synonyms and excluded category headers?
Answer: Terms that are considered Synonyms are indicated by putting the curly bracket symbols before and after the item so they appear like this:
These terms can then be included, automatically, whenever the term they are tied to is chosen. You will need to configure the options within the Structured Keywords dialog to your preferences. The options are to not apply synonyms, apply only the synonyms at the end of the path, or all of the synonyms along the path.

The other option for differentiating a term is the Excluded Category Header. Within any controlled vocabulary, there are times when you may wish to use a term to create a fork in your branch or path, but it may be a word not likely to be used as a search term. For instance, in the CVKC, the terms AGE and GENDER are designated as such terms.

In order to designate any term as an Excluded Category Header simply enclose it using the square bracket symbols before and after the term so that it appears like this:
[Excluded Category Header]

For additional instructions, see the the Text_Wrangling_Photomechanic document on the Controlled Vocabulary Forum (which does requires a free registration). You can sign up using the link on the Forum page.

Question 7: While looking at the information about CVKC and Lightroom, I noticed that some keywords are all upper-case and some are all lower-case. What is the difference? Also, what about capitalized words such as proper nouns?
Answer: Proper nouns are indeed capitalized within the Controlled Vocabulary Keyword Catalog. Animal breed names, Cities, Countries, and other proper names and nouns have the initial letter in the upper case. Due to the nature of hierarchical categories, some of the top level designations are designed to be excluded after selection, but are needed in order to serve as a category header. These "excluded category header" terms have been input using all UPPER CASE letters to make them easy to locate. With some applications such as Photo Mechanic and Lightroom, these terms will not be exported with the rest of the keywords, but are visible until the time of export. With the others, the fact that they are all capitalized makes it easy to spot them in a group of keywords so they can be removed later.

All the image search engines I've looked at so far are not case sensitive by default, so whether keywords have an initial capital letter, or are all lower case should really have no impact in searching for an image with that term. Some search functions do allow you to specify an "exact match", or that the keyword "starts with" or "ends with" the part of the term you input, these are often only accessible from an "advanced search" function that is not often used except by experts. Even in those instances, most searches are still case insensitive, though some offer a check box to "match case" when performing the search.

Question 8: Can I add to or modify the terms in my copy of the CVKC?
Answer: In all cases this is possible and encouraged. If you do, however, there are some things to keep in mind. First, only a few of the applications have the option to "merge" a new version of the CVKC with an existing version that has been modified. In addition, if you decide to change from one application to another as your primary keywording tool, it may not be possible to modify your amended version of the CVKC, or it may take more work or time than you would like. Because of these unforeseen issues, we recommend that you keep a separate text file or notebook with notes on where you added these terms within your keyword catalog. In addition you should periodically back-up or make an archive copy of your modified version of the CVKC for safekeeping. See the support page for your application of choice for details on this procedure.

Question 9: If I've added new terms to my version of the CVKC. How can I merge easily all the terms in upcoming versions with my existing but heavily edited version?
Answer: There is both a simple answer and a more complex one, which one applies depends on the application with which you are using the CVKC. If you are talking simply about knowing what has changed from the previous version this is fairly easy to find out. There is a supplemental PDF with a list of all of the changes since the last version was released that is available from the Download page. You will need your assigned username and password to gain access.

For many of the applications, there is another, more complex answer. A few of these applications have built-in "software" options, that will allow you to "merge" the new version with your existing, modified version. Nothing that you have added to your version will be removed, and anything new in the latest release of the CVKC will be added. Keep in mind that because this overlays the new version on top of your existing version, any items which you had removed or moved to a different location will return to the new "merged" version. Exactly how each application accomplishes this is a little different, so I would recommend backing up your existing catalog first before using any "merge" feature.

At this time, the only applications using the CVKC of which I'm aware that have this facility are: Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Bridge, Photo Mechanic, and IDimager.

Only a few have been extensively tested, so be careful when attempting and make backups just before making the change. There are also a few special programs that go by various terms, but the phrase "Diff" usually is mentioned. "Diff" programs allow the user to compare two text (or MS Word or Excel) files. Some simply note the difference between the two files, others may allow you to adopt the changes on a line-by-line basis.

Question 10: Can I share the same CVKC catalog between both Bridge and Lightroom, or Bridge and Photo Mechanic?
Answer: Each version of the CVKC is designed to provide the maximum effectiveness with that particular application. The format for several of the versions is very similar, but not identical. Some may only differ in the type of encoding used for the text file format, which often is not that critical.

If your goal is to deliver roughly the same keywords regardless of whether you are using Bridge or Lightroom or Photo Mechanic, it is possible to exchange copies of the same file. However, do note that you will be giving up some level of efficiency in Lightroom or Photo Mechanic (It is possible to share the same catalog between Lightroom and Photo Mechanic more easily as they share the same underlying CVKC format).

If you want to try exchanging the same catalog between Bridge and Lightrom or Bridge and Photo Mechanic start by loading the Bridge version into Lightroom or Photo Mechanic, rather than the version specifically built for use with those applications. The version of the Controlled Vocabulary Keyword Catalog (CVKC) for Lightroom and Photo Mechanic version has two means of signifying terms within it's structure besides "regular" keywords. There are "Excluded Category Headers" which are marked with square brackets [like these]; and "Synonyms" which are marked with curly brackets{like these}. The Excluded Category Header terms are those that are needed to create a "branch" in the path of terms, but are unlikely to ever be searched upon. For example, the term "Gender" is used to branch the path into Male and Female, but is written in All Caps as "GENDER" to signify in other applications that this term should be removed. In Photo Mechanic, terms specified as Synonyms can be automatically applied to your images or collection of terms with just a click, rather than having to select each term in succession.

The Bridge version only uses the "Excluded Category Headers" and all the terms that are marked as Synonyms in other versions (such as the one for Photo Mechanic or Lightroom) are simply included within the list of terms. However, since these don't have the curly brackets {} signifying them as synonyms, the terms are simply set at a level below the one which they modify. In other words, the synonym terms are still included, but they are not marked as such and it will simply take more clicks to apply them while you are keywording. Just a word of forewarning; while it is possible to import a version containing synonyms (Such as the versions for Photo Mechanic or Lightroom) the terms marked with the curly brackets as synonyms will simply be discarded as they are read into the Bridge keywording facility.

If you do import the Bridge Version into Photo Mechanic, you'll need to make sure that you use the option to apply the path, rather than just the keyword at the end of the path when keywording with Photo Mechanic. You will also need to make sure that you include any terms that might be synonyms at the level below the term you selected, though this process would be the same as you would do with Bridge.

The advantage is that you can add terms in either application, and then simply save or export, and import into the other application. If this is what you are after, and you don't mind losing a bit of efficiency, then it is possible.

Question 11: Does the CVKC have UK English spellings, or does it only contain United States English terms?
Whilst the very earliest version of the CVKC was done in American English only, all attempts have been made in later versions to include UK spelling variations as well as other Britishism's. The terms in American English will appear first in the hierarchy. Whenever there is a UK English variation, those terms following, or are indicated as synonyms. For example:

Please note that, depending on the application you are using, these alternative spellings may, or may not be "searchable" in your application of choice. For example, in Photo Mechanic, BreezeBrowser, iView/Expression Media, and many other applications, you can search using the root term, or the synonym associated with that term. With some applications, such as Lightroom, synonyms are not directly searchable, and will only be visible when you use view the contents of the "Will Export" window that is in the right hand column of the Library Module.

If you are using Lightroom, one option in these cases, is to use the Adobe Bridge version of the CVKC instead of the one for Lightroom. This will make additional sublevels visible, and the terms will be searchable within Lightroom.

Other Questions:

If your question isn't answered above, and you would like an answer, please send an email using the link on the Contact page and include the word "Question" in the subject line. While we attempt to answer all emails in a prompt manner, there are times where this might require some research before replying. If you are already using the CVKC or have questions of a general nature regarding the use of Controlled Vocabularies, or embedding metadata into image files, you might also wish to join the Controlled Vocabulary Discussion Forum.

>>Purchase and Download has been moved to the FAQ: Purchasing page.
>>Licensing has been moved to the FAQ: Licensing page.
>>Installation has been moved to the FAQ: Installation page.


examples  |  books  |  products  |  image databases  |  links  |  what's new
imagedatabases  |  programs  |  IPTC standard  |  downsampling  | filenaming 
metalogging  |  captioning  |  keywording  |  guidelines  | metalog resources
home  |  contact  | sitemap