IMatch Discussion Boards => General Discussion and Questions => Topic started by: newmikeman on March 15, 2019, 03:00:07 PM

Title: Same keyword with and without square brackets
Post by: newmikeman on March 15, 2019, 03:00:07 PM
Hello from a newbie user.

I have imported a small Lightroom database and associated image files as a learning exercise. I'm wondering whether I have my Lightroom settings wrong or my iMatch import settings wrong, or both.

In Lr I have a lot of keywords (4,000+) in a hierarchy with some 15 top level ones. These top level keywords are not exported but their children are. One of these is "Places" and it has a next level "UK", then that has "Bucks" etc. In an image's XMP file I find <lr:hierarchicalSubject> is "<rdf:li>Places|UK|Bucks|Buckingham|Stowe</rdf:li>" and under <dc:subject> there are separate entries for Places, UK, Bucks, Buckingham and Stowe. This seems to ignore the fact that Places is not supposed to be exported. If I export the keywords from Lr I only get the [Places] variant and the exported .txt file looks completely correct.

After importing this Lr database into iMatch6 (without specifically importing the .txt file) I find I've got both Places and [Places], and the one associated with images at Stowe are referencing Places and not [Places].

Should I ignore all this rigmarole and just get on with importing the rest of the database and then delete whichever (Places or [Places]) isn't referenced in any images? I fear there may be both varieties in practice among the 35,000 images :-( and I'll be back with a question as to how to easily merge the references to rationalise them.

Can someone please point me towards a suitable help topic or forum posts?

Mike Newman
Title: Re: Same keyword with and without square brackets
Post by: Mario on March 15, 2019, 08:02:01 PM
I'm not sure that I can follow.

IMatch imports the metadata from the image file.
There are 3 places for keywords: Legacy IPTC keywords. XMP dc:subject (flat keywords) and lr:hierarchicalSubject.

During import IMatch merges all keywords (optionally using your thesaurus) into hierarchical keywords. This is explained in detail in the IMatch help.
IMatch works only with hierarchical keywords and maps from these back into the flat keywords based on your settings (Edit > Preferences > Metadata).

Lr uses [] to indicate top-level keywords. But I have seen this only when a thesaurus was exported to a text file (Lr keywords list export format). IMatch can import these text files into the thesaurus. When it finds keywords with [] it makes them group-level keywords. See The Universal Thesaurus ( for more info.

But this has nothing to do with the actual keywords in your files.

If you really have keywords enclosed in [] or excluded keywords in the flat keywords, Lr has somehow messed up when writing keywords into your files. This has happened int he past, and Lr had many related problems over the years. You usually notice this when you leave the Adobe world and look at the metadata in your files in ExifTool or more software like IMatch.

Show us the metadata in your files. Run the ExifTool Command Processor on one of your files with the "List Metadata" preset. Save the results to a  text file and attach.
Also show us your metadata settings in IMatch (Alt+Print) for the Edit > Preferences > Metadata options dialog, if you have changed the safe defaults.
Title: Re: Same keyword with and without square brackets
Post by: newmikeman on March 16, 2019, 05:50:57 PM
Thanks for your rapid response.
I went back and started again to be sure of being consistent.
I've attached a pdf containing screen shots to show what seems to be going on.
This is all done with a cut-down Lightroom database that I'm just using to learn IMatch.
I made sure that Lightroom's metadata was all written back to the image files.
Then I created a new IMatch database and Added the image files. I didn't use the Lightroom Import feature that I had tried out before, just to keep it all simple and avoid possible side-effects.
It turned out that there were 2 sets of top-level categories such as Places and [Places]. The images assigned to Places were all .jpg files and those assigned to [Places] were .mp4 movie files.
I guess that if I only have to eliminate the movies it's not so hard, but it would be good to understand why they don't behave the same way as the photos.
If I were to manually move those movies to the Places hierarchy would that be a permanent resolution? Could other files added in the future also go to the wrong group?
Title: Re: Same keyword with and without square brackets
Post by: newmikeman on March 17, 2019, 07:45:40 AM
I'm sorry if this was a wild goose chase.
I found .xmp sidecar files alongside the 3 .mp4 files and these contained references to [Places].
Having deleted those .xmp files I reloaded that folder alone into a newly-created IMatch database and those .mp4 files showed up but with no keywords at all - correct! The jpegs in the folder had their correct keywords too, referencing Places, without brackets.
Now I'm going to reload the test data (2,000 image files) and try importing them all over again into another clean database, using the LR Importer of IMatch. If that's OK then the whole thing must have been user error.

Title: Re: Same keyword with and without square brackets
Post by: newmikeman on March 17, 2019, 11:45:44 AM
Yes, I cleaned up the set of sample images a bit and re-imported them all into a new IMatch database.
It seems that the problem I reported was a PICNIC (problem in chair not in computer, in case it's unfamiliar).
The top-level keywords imported from Lightroom (where they are marked to not export) were not shown with brackets, but at least there were no longer both variants. I want to be able to work with both Lightroom and IMatch so I need to be confident that the keywords remain in sync.
I'm trying to practice keyword assignment but am not getting on very well. Maybe I'll make a new post about that later if I don't get much farther.
Thanks for your help.
Kind regards
Mike Newman
Title: Re: Same keyword with and without square brackets
Post by: Mario on March 17, 2019, 12:31:57 PM
Checkout the Keyword Panel video in the IMatch Learning Center ( for starters:

The Keywords Panel ( has been designed for speedy keywording of large numbers of files. It works great together with the @Keywords Category (, which is another unique IMatch feature.

Note: Many users prefer to do metadata work only in one application - IMatch. This avoids a lot of issues causes by different flattening options, not up-to-standard synchronization between metadata standards etc.