Heirarchical Keywords

If I have a hierarchy - England/Sussex, say - and I type in the keyword Sussex PL ignores England and just records Sussex. If I go the the keyword list and tick Sussex then England is automatically included as expected. Why this behaviour? I appreciate I could just input from the keyword list but that is difficult as there is no search field (that I can see)!

Yes, PhotoLab’s “DAM” is still very immature and lacking in all sorts of niceties.

Before they started working on keywords, I started writing my own app for Mac, which I’ve tried to make as user-friendly and helpful as possible.

Here is the keyword management panel, which allows the creation of hierarchies but simply dragging one word from the full list on the right to a “parent” on the left…

Then for entering keywords, if I start typing Somerset…

Capture d’écran 2022-05-07 à 12.48.13

… I get the choice of either the word on its own or with its parent…

Capture d’écran 2022-05-07 à 12.48.19

Accepting the hierarchical version, then gives me…

Capture d’écran 2022-05-07 à 12.48.26

Unfortunately, PL’s idea is still very much a work in progress.

Work in progress indeed it is. I would even go as far as saying what we have now is a bug :slight_smile:

If you want to add the complete family, it’s best to select the keywords from the keyword list. This also helps to prevent “duplicates”, e.g. with typing errors.

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That would be ok if it were possible to easily locate keywords in the list. There is no search capability that I can find, thus it is not easy to locate the keywords that are in a heirarchical “tree”.


I had already encountered this difference, here.
For my part it suits me like that, it allows me to add or not the parent keywords.
Otherwise, these 2 ways of doing things would have to be identical but with a parameter button to have the choice of adding the parent keywords or not.
Or a click on the keyword adds it with its parents and click+ALT simply adds the keyword.
In any case, the hierarchy must be maintained.

Sorry but I do not understand, it does not allow me to add the hierarchy. If I type Sussex it shows England/Sussex but when I press enter it just adds the keyword Sussex and not, as I would expect, the hierarchy.

Do you have a hierarchy defined in the tree view below the keywords field?

If you do, then you will get a choice, just like in my app…

Capture d’écran 2022-05-07 à 18.54.43

Selecting one of those gives you a token with just the child keyword visible…

Capture d’écran 2022-05-07 à 18.54.57

… but if you hover over the token, the tooltip shows you the hierarchy…

Capture d’écran 2022-05-07 à 18.55.18


The XMP file is incorrect according to the MWG Guidance document…


The MWG guidance clearly states that all keywords mentioned in the hierarchicalSubject must also be mentioned in the dc:subject tag.

A Changer …

  • MUST write the XMP dc:subject property to store the individual keywords. Hierarchical path elements MUST be flattened, which means that each hierarchy node needs to be stored as a separate keyword entry to XMP dc:subject.

I have mentioned this several times and, still, nobody seems to care because DxO have chosen to rely only on the hierarchicalSubject for all their requirements, even though this goes against the “rules” for compatibility with other metadata handlers.

In other words, the dc:subject tag should read…


It would help to reinforce this “rule” if the child we’re not allowed to be selected without its parent in the tree view.

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That helps explain it, Joanna. I get what you describe, a single keyword that shows the hierarchy if I hover over it. However when I revert to the list view only the keyword that is displayed is ticked (I did a single image test). IT is that that threw me!!

Yes, it is hardly consistent or easy to comprehend.

And how about the fact that the hierarchies are shown in reverse order in the text box lookups but the right way round in the tooltip? :crazy_face: :roll_eyes: :thinking: :face_holding_back_tears:

And, when you search on a hierarchy - say search on Church which is contained in Religion you only see the keyword that is actually allocated to the image (you have to hover over the keyword to see the entire story). So if you apply Church (and apply the hierarchy) and search on Religion, you only see Church.

And, when I export the image the hierarchy has gone as only the originally selected keyword travels with the export.

Actually, the hierarchy is there, but it is not in the dc:subject tag…

[XMP]           Subject                         : Orange
[XMP]           Hierarchical Subject            : Fruit|Orange

… which effectively prevents any other correctly written software from searching for files that contain Orange in that precise hierarchical context.

In this case, other software, searching as expected on the dc:subject tag. Adobe Bridge can’t find this exported file when looking for Fruit and, even Finder can’t…

It finds Orange…

… but it can’t find Fruit…

This is totally wrong as it prevents me from searching for all images that contain any variety of fruit instead of having to specify all the child keywords in the predicate.

Mmmm…that certainly does not work for me. Seems the only reliable way forward is not to bother with heirarchical keywords in PL. Or, of course, just manage the keywords elsewhere but that is an old debate.

I set the keywords in PL like this…

Capture d’écran 2022-05-08 à 13.12.35

… then I exported to a jpeg file, which is in the folder I searched in using Finder