Text Field in Categories

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Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:02 pm

Text Field in Categories

Postby PictureFan » Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:29 pm


is there a way of adding "text-fields" for categories?

E.g., if you have a category "Names", Tag-Fields for often used names, and one field where you can add a free-typed name (for photos with people that don't appear very often)?

o Mark
o Lynn
o Jim
o Other: _________ (here you could type names)

I know that could be typed into the "Comment" field. But I'd like that option for different categories - seldomly appearing names, places, plants, whatsoever, each in it's category.

Thanks very much for an answer,
with kind regards

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Joined: Thu May 04, 2017 7:16 am

Re: Text Field in Categories

Postby FunkyB » Thu May 04, 2017 1:33 pm

I just got started with XnViewMP so I'm not the best person to answer this, but from what I understand Categories don't work that way. E.g., Categories aren't "fields" that contain "values" (like for example user-defined MP3 tags), but rather "keywords" that can be structured in a hierarchy, all of which get displayed on the tree.
I'm also wondering what to do about the situation PictureFan described -- I want to catalog a person, place or thing that only appears once in my whole library. Is it really the best practice to make a Category node just for that one instance, or is it better to use "Edit IPTC/XMP" and add the data in an appropriate field there (that dialog seems to focus mainly on IPTC?)?
Also, is there a way to enable inline editing of these fields in the Explorer or Info window?
Last edited by FunkyB on Fri May 05, 2017 1:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Text Field in Categories

Postby PictureFan » Thu May 04, 2017 7:26 pm

Thanks for your reply. Good to know I'm not the only one with this problem, and I hope someone knows an answer.

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Re: Text Field in Categories

Postby m.Th. » Sat May 06, 2017 8:56 am

I certainly understand what you are sayings but It is much better to NOT have this, because of various reasons. This problem is a very old (and known) in database theory. The discussion is big, but I'll mention briefly some things:

1. quality: by allowing a FREE text field the data entry is prone to various user errors (typos, lack of knowledge, user variability, notion changeability etc.) which after this cannot be corrected. Having a list of categories all these things can be avoided (by searching first) or can be easily corrected by the tooling provided (Edit, Merge, Delete etc.). Few explanations for the errors above:
1.a. typos: One can see them in the Categories tree easily and correct them. Self-explaining.
1.b. lack of knowledge: I learn how it is correctly written some keyword (because it is in a foreign language, or a specialty language - scientific etc.). By having the present system changing in one place changes everywhere.
1.c. user variability: if I would have a free text field today I would write „sale”, tomorrow „buy”. Today „Mr.” tomorrow „Mister”; today „flower” (singular) tomorrow „blossoms” (plural) etc.
1.d. notion changeability: a woman changes her name upon marriage; someone change his title upon advancement in society (think military, clergy etc.), someone joins/leaves a certain group (professional - a company for example - certain organization, club, or even nation, place) which should be cataloged in a hierarchical structure (a tree).

All the above are insurmountable problems if we have a free text approach.

2. speed - a category list / tree provides a much better (normalized) database structure, in which, in fact, we store in each photography only few bytes (4) keeping the category ID. It we would have the free text approach then for each letter we would have at least two bytes (ok, Unicode can be/is much more complicated than that). Besides that a coma-separated free text isn't indexable in the way in which a list of numbers is.

3. discoverability - we can do incremental search on a small list, we can see with your eye, we can dig in a tree of categories. Having a free text approach we are in the middle of nowhere.

Yes, of course, if a person/place/object/whatever appears in your collection and (s)he is important for you you can safely enter it, even if appears only once. No problem at all for the system.

Also, if you don't want entering them one by one you can consider using a general category like „Relatives”, „Cops”, „Pets” etc. If you already have such a category as a root for some subcategories (for ex. „Relatives” for „John”, „Mary”, „George”) you can safely assign photos to it.
m. Th.

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