Merging large catalogs in LR Classic

New Here ,
Jul 09, 2021 Jul 09, 2021

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Hello all...hoping someone can help.  Have two laptops, and I keep my images on a harddrive.  In the attempt to use single harddrive with both computers, I have ended up with two massive catalogs, and each with different half of the keywords, edits and collections.  There is almost no overlap in these keywords, edits and catalogs but all the pictures are there in both.  How can I make one big catalog with all the keywords, edits, and collections on the harddrive that I can back-up and move back and forth between the laptops?  Have tried helpdesk multiple times, but they never have answer beyond basic master catalog with crazy amounts of picture duplications.  Is there a way for the catalogs to see what both are missing on same pictures, then fill it in without having too many copies of each picture?  I keyword extensively, want to keep all the work already done, and be able to search using same keywords.  THANK YOU for any help! I feel like someone advanced would know a strategy for this...help!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 09, 2021 Jul 09, 2021

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Hi Katherine,

 

IF I understand you correctly, you have images A–Z on both computers but only work on images A–M on one computer and N-Z on the other computer. Is that right. 

 

Please verify before I continue. I do not wish to waste time or confuse either of us any more.

 

I do have an idea how to fix this but please verify my understanding.

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New Here ,
Jul 09, 2021 Jul 09, 2021

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Thanks for asking....

 

I have images A-Z in both catalogs, but only keywords, collections, and edits from A-M in one catalog on one laptop and keywords, collections and edits from M-Z in the second catalog.  Images are all there in both.  And I want to combine the 2 catalogs on the harddrive so I can use them as one catalog on both laptops. 

 

Thanks!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 10, 2021 Jul 10, 2021

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Select one of the catalogs and open it in Lightroom. Choose 'File - Import from Another Catalog' and import the other catalog. The dialog you'll get should be self-explaining when it comes to edits and metadata.

 

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Guru ,
Jul 10, 2021 Jul 10, 2021

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As I see it the issue with merging Catalogs here, is what happens where the same image file is imported into both; and whether the desired or the undesired set of Develop metadata is going to be adopted going forward..

 

This can be largely mitigated by removing those images within each Catalog, that have definitely had zero edits there... which can be filtered for. There may also be images with some editing present, but only incidentally - in which case a complete absence of keywords might help confirm if these have in fact undergone "real" editing. This is all just to reduce the numbers of repeated images going into the merge.

 

Any images that had received no edits in the context of either Catalog, would be removed altogether by this process - hence you may want to Sync Folder after the merge, to review what, if anything, you may want to re-import.

 

Duplicates remaining at the time of merge - so those images present in both Catalogs and not removed as above - can be handled by having the imported version's edits included as an additional Virtual Copy. These can be pruned away subsequently at leisure, or kept. If the version you then want to keep turns out to be a VC rather than the Master version, that does not matter since you can tell LR to switch a particular VC to become the Master. Alternatively this happens automatically whenever you remove an image (without Delete from Disk!): if the version you are removing is a Master copy but virtual copies also exist, one of those becomes the new Master necessarily. Secondary image versions if / while retained, can be 'hidden away' meanwhile via stacking or other view-filtering methods.

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New Here ,
Jul 10, 2021 Jul 10, 2021

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Thank you for the thoughtful reply...I was hoping to avoid the duplication issue, mainly because there are so many images (SO MANY), but I think I understand what you have suggested.  Does the presence of one catalog on the harddrive and the second on a laptop make any difference to this procedure you have suggested?  I am assuming I make a master catalog on the harddrive, moving each of the existing ones into it from their current locations, then begin the pruning of duplicates?

 

Is it still feasible to have a main catalog on a harddrive, which can then be used by multiple laptops?

 

I really appreciate your efforts to help me sort this out!

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Guru ,
Jul 10, 2021 Jul 10, 2021

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It doesn't matter to LrC where any Catalog is itself located. It's the content that matters, and that includes WHERE each Catalog is referencing image files - what is the full "path" (drive volume - folder address) where it has found each image.

 

If the same image is imported to catalog A as living at one drive / folder path, and is imported to catalog B as living at a different drive / folder path, then if you try to merge these together - LrC is not going to treat them as the same image in the same location. So you may need to lay some groundwork in order to make sure that both Catalogs' image references converge on a single. shared and common, folders arrangement. This is easy if the present folder "trees" seen by these two Catalogs are identically arranged and named, since that is just a matter of readdressing the single folder which forms the trunk of that tree. But if the images have been differently organised into folders in the two contexts, that would be a huge complication. However, if the images that have been edited within each context are largely separated (different folders), even that should still be doable.

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New Here ,
Jul 10, 2021 Jul 10, 2021

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That makes sense, thank you! Will work on this & post if there are more questions...appreciate your help!

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 11, 2021 Jul 11, 2021

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Depending on whatever else you need to do, you might benefit from a free LR "Deduplicator" plug-in called "Teekesselchen." It's elegant in the sense that it asks you to first customize what you want it to do.

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New Here ,
Jul 11, 2021 Jul 11, 2021

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Have never used a plug-in (I know, shouldn't admit this, right?), can you give me some pointers?  Where to get, how to use, is it safe?  Thanks!

 

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