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Keywords randomly grouping together - aargh!!


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I think someone has raised this before recently, but I couldn't find the thread.  I have just noticed that keywords are appearing very differently to how I am entering them in Manage Images.  Specifically, words that have been entered as separate words are appearing as a phrase, or words that are in square brackets (not quotes) are also appearing as a phrase.  

 

I don't use commas, but am now wondering if I need to go back through 100s of images and add them.  The problem appears to be quite random - sometimes they appear as entered, sometimes they don't.

 

Here is just one example (I am a bit hopeless at trying to post links here, so bear with me).

 

Image: EWR1BD

 

This is how the words appear in Manage Images:

 

Essential Keywords:

 

scones scone [devonshire tea] food plate platter

 

Main keywords:

 

baking cooking above "afternoon tea" plain devon pile plate "close up" close-up closeup sweet white homemade homebaked round "still life" plain cup saucer

 

But this is how the words appear in the final live site:  afternoon teabaking cooking aboveclose upcloseupclose-updevonshirefoodhomebakedhomemadeplain cup saucerplain devon pile plateplateplatterroundsconesconesstill lifesweetteawhite

 

Image: EX01CR

 

This is how the words appear in Manage Images:

 

Essential Keywords:

 

"Hume Dam" "Hume Weir" "Lake Hume" Australia NSW

 

Main keywords:

 

[Hume Lake weir dam] "Hume power station" Albury Albury-Wodonga catchment "Murray River" [Murray river] "New South Wates" conservation electricity "flood mitigation" hydro-electric hydro-power [power station] irrigation landscape reservoir water "water supply" "Mitta Mitta Dam"  Riverina Victoria

 

Comprehensive keywords

 

"Goulburn-Murray Water" "Murray-Darling Basin Authority" "New South Wales State Water" Australian Landscapes Victorian Wodonga

 

But this is how the words appear on the live site:  albury albury-wodonga catchmentaustralia nswaustralian landscapes victorian wodongaconservation electricityflood mitigationgoulburn-murray waterhume damhume lake weir damhume power stationhume weirhydro-electrichydro-powerirrigationlake humelandscapemitta mitta dammurray rivermurray-darling basin authoritynew south wales state waternew south watespowerreservoirriverina victoriastationwaterwater supply

 

This is enormously frustrating. I have been wondering why some of my images just don't appear to come up on searches, but now I seem to have a partial explanation. It is so time-consuming to enter keywords and now it looks like I have to go back and - well, I don't know what - enter commas between everything?  Will that even work?? I will send an email to Member Services, but I doubt very much that whatever response I get will remove the need to me to do a whole lot of manual re-coding.  For the relatively small returns, it hardly seems worth it.

 

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Hi Kerin:

 

I encountered this strange unintended clumping together of keywords a while back.  It seems that if you put quotation marks around a phrase then some more keywords, then another phrase with keywords, it would clump the words together which appeared between the two groups with quotation marks.  

 

My way around this was to put one or two spaces before and after the phrase within the quotations marks.  I am finding now it that this seems to work and most of the time words are no longer clumped together in this way.

 

I hope this helps you.

 

Kathy

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I now use a comma after every single word, except if that word is contained within quotation marks--and ANY phrase I contain with quotation marks.

 

Works perfectly for me.

 

dd

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I have been looking a bit more closely at when this is happening. I can't be sure, because I can't remember exactly how I have dealt with each image, but I do wonder if it happens when I have copy and pasted words from one image to the other. I will look if there is a pattern as you have described Kathy.

 

It takes me so long to keyword, I can't bear the thought of going back and having to go in and change potentially hundreds of images. I will go around the twist.

 

I have gone into a couple to see if there is a quick fix: ie back spacing and then reinsterting a space, rather than inserting commas everywhere and having to rejig where words go.

 

I think I will add commas from now on.

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I think I remember from the former thread that you have to have 4 keywords between quoted phrases for them to be treated separately. Because so many people were reporting problems, I quit using brackets, and have used commas ever since.

 

Of course, this is a huge pain. If you don't have a lot of keywords, it is very easy. But if you have an image with a lot going on, with a good deal of keywords going over being able to fit in essential, then to squeeze more of the most important ones into essential, one needs to remove the spaces. I do this, wishing it was days of old when we used commas, and spaces weren't added upon upload.

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Betty, do you still have a space after the comma, or just word,word with no space? I am waiting for the next database refresh to see if just removing the backspace and reinserting it worked, but otherwise will need to add commas. I think I will definitely do so from now on. It is so frustrating that this mainly seems to happen with essential keywords ie the ones you least want to have problems with.

Edited by KerinF
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I don't use commas and I haven't had problems. Perhaps it is because I use very few quotation marks so I don't have the situation of having two or three individual words between sets of words in quotation marks. When there have been questions about how the quotation marks work Alamy has said that what we see in a zoom doesn't represent what actually happens in a search. I do remember that with this current display of keywords when we find words separated in a way that kind of leaves "orphan" words that don't make sense, Alamy has said that is not what happens in real searches. Just my thoughts. I do not pretend to understand. :huh:

 

Paulette

Edited by NYCat
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Betty, do you still have a space after the comma, or just word,word with no space? I am waiting for the next database refresh to see if just removing the backspace and reinserting it worked, but otherwise will need to add commas. I think I will definitely do so from now on. It is so frustrating that this mainly seems to happen with essential keywords ie the ones you least want to have problems with.

I've been away today and just now seeing this. I do image development in LR, take it to PS for any cropping I might want, spotting, etc. I keyword in Bridge. Of course, the keywords arrive in manage images with spaces, no commas. If I don't have many keywords, I simply cut and paste to the appropriate boxes and add commas without doing anything with the spaces. But if I have a boatload of keywords that I want to squeeze in, I take out the spaces where it is word,word, not word, word, . I do put quotes in sparingly, but since commas are after everything else I have no problems.

 

I realize most would rather slit their throats to go to the trouble I do, but to each his own.

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Betty, do you still have a space after the comma, or just word,word with no space? I am waiting for the next database refresh to see if just removing the backspace and reinserting it worked, but otherwise will need to add commas. I think I will definitely do so from now on. It is so frustrating that this mainly seems to happen with essential keywords ie the ones you least want to have problems with.

I've been away today and just now seeing this. I do image development in LR, take it to PS for any cropping I might want, spotting, etc. I keyword in Bridge. Of course, the keywords arrive in manage images with spaces, no commas. If I don't have many keywords, I simply cut and paste to the appropriate boxes and add commas without doing anything with the spaces. But if I have a boatload of keywords that I want to squeeze in, I take out the spaces where it is word,word, not word, word, . I do put quotes in sparingly, but since commas are after everything else I have no problems.

I realize most would rather slit their throats to go to the trouble I do, but to each his own.

As an aside to this, if you keyword in LR, your keyword arrive at Alamy with commas.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's what Alamy has to say on this subject (they are now automatically grouping words together if there are no commas or other punctuation): http://discussion.alamy.com/index.php?/topic/4041-multi-word-tags/#entry67615.

 

Time to go back through thousands of images to add commas?! Bleh!

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I have a hard time with perimeters constantly changing. When I joined I used commas. Then there was a change. A space took the place of commas, and then or before then, we were encouraged to use brackets and other annotations. Those were not implemented because of the outcry from people who had many thousands of images to fix. I had less than 2000, and went back and did the work. For nothing.

Now I am back to using commas again, but since the space is also there in Manage Images, I use up an extra space needed for more keywords unless I go through and remove all of the spaces, a time-consuming proposition.

 

I feel I am standing on quicksand.

 

Alamy, if three or less words between commas or quotes are going to be treated as a phrase causing us to use commas, then just take out the spaces and roll the clock back 8-10 years. All of this tweaking is killing me, don't know about the rest of the contributors.

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I have a hard time with perimeters constantly changing. When I joined I used commas. Then there was a change. A space took the place of commas, and then or before then, we were encouraged to use brackets and other annotations. Those were not implemented because of the outcry from people who had many thousands of images to fix. I had less than 2000, and went back and did the work. For nothing.

Now I am back to using commas again, but since the space is also there in Manage Images, I use up an extra space needed for more keywords unless I go through and remove all of the spaces, a time-consuming proposition.

 

I feel I am standing on quicksand.

 

Alamy, if three or less words between commas or quotes are going to be treated as a phrase causing us to use commas, then just take out the spaces and roll the clock back 8-10 years. All of this tweaking is killing me, don't know about the rest of the contributors.

 

Agreed. Please can Alamy issue some clarification as to what's going on here and what their plans are? Like many contributors I have a large collection of images where I used (in line with Alamy's recommendations) just a space between keywords. Now it seems there's a danger of them being clumped in to phrases on the "live" pages which Google search uses. PLEASE can Alamy confirm what's going on and what we should be doing - both for new images and existing?

 

If I simply need to replace these spaces with commas (except when they appear between quotes) then I can possibly automate this process using Excel VBA and resubmit to Alamy so they can update all my images.

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I took this up with MS after posting. The only response I have received in the following on 10 July: "We’ll get back to you with more information on how our search engine works." And then silence...

I am also not convinced that the explanation given back in May is the whole answer. It seems to be more random than that, looking back at some of my images.

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I should also say, being relatively new to this, I had no idea that square brackets were a waste of time. I have just been following the advice in the contributors' manual. How silly of me!

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Thanks for posting as it made me check my keywords and, yes, I have the same issue. When I get a bit of spare time I will re-work my images (only 650, thankfully) adding a comma between each and continue to use quotation marks for phrases.  Let's hope that rectifies all.  

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I seem to remember that it used to say not to use commas in the keywording section. This has now disappeared.

It did used to say that. I think it was because they were said to be superfluous and so used up valuable characters especially in the Essential Keywords field.
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Here is the response I just received from MS:

 

"We are constantly making changes to the Alamy search engine in order to deliver the best and most relevant images to our customers. This is an evolutionary process and we monitor feedback and search habits very closely.

 

If 4 or less keywords are added in between two set of quotes, these keywords will be displayed together as a phrase. However that does not mean that it will have an impact on the search results because your images will turn up if the customer searches as a phrase or as individual keywords. So there’s no need to go through your entire collection and add commas."

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So there’s no need to go through your entire collection and add commas."

 

Mmmm... possibility of some confusion here. Although that may be true of the behaviour of the Alamy search engine, what about the live page keywords which Google uses for searches? These definitely aren't working like this.

 

Looking at my image C45 HAF

 

I have essential keywords of

 

metal engraved sundial "sun dial" Melton Mowbray

 

I have comprehensive keywords of 

 

rotary club sunlit metal engraved sundial "sun dial" gazebo park garden

 

But on the Alamy "live" page the keywords are shown as

 

blueclubdayengravedgazebo park gardenmelton mowbraymetalmetal engraved sundialoutdooroutsiderotaryskysun dialsundialsunlitsunny

 

Seems like the keyword algortihm used on for the live page is getting rather confused....

 

The only way that I have found so far to force the correct interpretation of the keywords is to replace all spaces (except those between quotes) with commas.

 

I realise this doesn't affect Alamy search results, but it does impact on Google search results, which are presumably leading to sales, (otherwise why does Alamy bother to generate them)?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Following the confusing keyword grouping showing in Alamy live image results I decided to make some adjustments.

 

When I first joined Alamy I used quotation marks and square brackets to group related keywords together, and I used spaces instead of commas, in line with Alamy guidelines at that time.

 

Over time I realised that including quotation marks and brackets in my keywords was making no difference to Alamy's search results as Alamy hadn't implemented this feature, and apparently had no plans to implement it.

 

More recently it's become clear the keywords used by Google search (as generated on Alamy's live pages) are sometimes confused by the presence of quotation marks - see earlier posts in this thread. The only way I found to reliably resolve this currently seemed to be to use commas between keywords, except those which appear between quotes. So I decided to make come changes.

 

Faced with a legacy of over 2,000 images to alter, I asked member services for an Excel spreadsheet of all my metadata, which they were happy to supply. I then used some global search and replace commands in Excel and some Excel VBA to automatically make alterations to all my keywords as follows.

  • Removed all leading spaces and trailing spaces and double spaces from keyword strings (to make as much space for mods as possible)
  • Removed all square brackets (they don't seem to do anything useful)
  • Replaced all spaces between keywords with comma + space (unless there's no room, or if the space is between keywords that are inside quotes)
  • If the keyword string reaches the maximum permissible length then spaces are simply replaced with commas.

 

I then returned the spreadsheet to member services who used it to update all my images.

 

I still need to do some fine tuning on individual images, but this has broken the back of it.

 

If anyone would like me to post the VBA code I used (roughly an A4 page of code), please let me know.

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