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Thread: Controlled Vocabulary for Lightroom keywording

  1. #1
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Controlled Vocabulary for Lightroom keywording

    I'm researching and preparing to set up a controlled vocabulary for my Lightroom keywording. I've done a lot of Googling and web research/reading. I'm primarily interested in nature photography keywords at this point in time, so most of what I've seen doesn't impress me much or look complete enough. For example, one of the more well-known keyword sets for purchase is the Keyword Catalog. This looks OK, but just doesn't feel right for me at this time (too much irrelevant information and not enough specific keywords for what I shoot) Keyword Catalog

    I pressed on, and then today I found the following set of "pick and choose" keyword lists which covers Birds, Mammals & reptiles, Flowering Plants (flowers), Amphibians, Insects, Fish, US National Parks & Sites, World Geo, and more...

    jpdodelphoto Keyword Lists for Wildlife and Nature Photographers

    It looks to be the most detailed, specific, comprehensive nature photography keyword set anywhere that I can find. I clicked to preview the lists (shows a screenshot of each) and I was extremely impressed- it almost looks too good to be true! For what you are getting, the price looks very good. The guy notes that these keyword sets are:

    "all derived from the well established and massive taxonomy source directed by the US government partnership between the following entities:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    Agriculture Research Service (ARS)
    Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History (NMNH)
    Department of Commerce
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    Department of Interior (DOI)
    Geological Survey (USGS)"

    I have the following questions:

    • Do any of you use this keyword list set?
    • Do you think I could get access to all of those keyword sets for free somewhere and slap this together myself? (that seems to be what he did, but I wonder how much work it was to organize or combine it)
    • Any other thoughts?


    Thanks for any input

  2. #2

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    Re: Controlled Vocabulary for Lightroom keywording

    Take a look at the David Riecks Controlled Vocabulary: http://www.controlledvocabulary.com/ I have used it for years but certainly don't have the exacting needs that you require. If you license the product for use with a particular software program and later change to other programs, you will have free access to the vocabulary for use with any other program that it is designed to be used with.

    Also consider the Library of Congress Thesaurus for Graphics Materials, which is available for free. You will probably have to convert it for use with your software. http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/tgm1/

    If the keyword lists produced by agencies of the U.S. government are made available, they will probably be free. That's because anything produced using taxpayer funds is in the public domain. The only way the agency could charge for it is if they charge an administration fee or something similar for maintaining it and making it available for download.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 3rd February 2013 at 11:40 PM.

  3. #3
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Controlled Vocabulary for Lightroom keywording

    Thanks, Mike. The controlledvocabulary.com that you listed was another I had seen (albeit a few months back when I was initially starting my search, hence I forgot to list it in my post). Looking at it again today, it looks pretty good for general purpose usage.

    I am thinking what I may do is get the controlledvocabulary.com AND the nature ones I linked to, to create a totally comprehensive vocabularly for virtually anything I could imagine shooting. The good thing is I can always add to it, so if I find lists for lacking areas I can just append them in.

    After doing a good amount of research, I've decided it's worth the money to buy these kinds of lists instead of wasting my time trying to gather everything together from all ends of the web and format it for Lightroom, etc. That time is better spent shooting and editing!

    Other advantages from researching keywording is that I've found some nice guidelines for how to keyword and caption, as well as a good amount of sites for identification of animals and plants, etc.

  4. #4

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    Re: Controlled Vocabulary for Lightroom keywording

    You have probably already considered this: It just occurred to me that one of the decisions you'll want to make is whether you write the synonyms to the image file or to at least include them in your catalog. Especially when applying taxonomical terms to your photos, I am guessing that this could be vitally important depending on who might be using your keywords. So, if synonyms are important to you, you'll want whatever controlled vocabulary you decide upon to already have the synonyms included for each keyword. Otherwise, you'll have to add the synonyms yourself. I do know that the Riecks Controlled Vocabulary and the Library of Congress Thesaurus extensively include synonyms, but those are the only two products I have ever reviewed.

  5. #5
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Controlled Vocabulary for Lightroom keywording

    Great point Mike. I just checked the nature keyword lists I linked above, and it claims to have synonyms. Thanks for your assistance

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