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Keywords missing in Aperture: Tips?? #1
Susan S's picture
by Susan S
June 15, 2016 - 1:47pm

Keywords are missing in my Aperture Library after I updated to Aperture 3 (3.5.1) from Aperture 2 back in 2014. In the process of that update I had to do a restore from my Vault to attempt to locate missing photos (with the guidance of a Apple Support specialist. See my forum post 9. 2014.)  My Aperture Library lay dormant for quite awhile and I recently discovered this issue when trying to use to search for images. So much work lost as I always key worded on importing. Now I need to update OS from 10.9.5 to EL Capitan. (Much needed!) And then will update Aperture to 3.6.

Any tips for restoring Keywords before I update OS? I searched forums but did not find this. Did I miss it? My Library has 30K + images. I have found keywords on a few batches of iphone photos that were reinstalled after restoring my Library during the update of Aperture and loading on my new Macbook Pro back in 2014. Everything else is missing keywords but the rest of the added metadata is still there (captions are there!) 

Susan S

Powerkey's picture
by Powerkey
June 15, 2016 - 10:43pm

I have had this problem a few times and one thing to check is that the missing keywords could have been moved into another keyword. Scroll through the keyword list and look for any disclosure triangles. If you find one, look inside (some are a few levels deep) to make sure they are not there. If you do find them, just move them to the top level or into the appropriate folder.

Also, I think the “Database Rebuild” will rebuild the keyword list from the tagged photos (assuming the photos are tagged and the keywords are simply missing from the keyword list).

Susan S's picture
by Susan S
June 16, 2016 - 12:46pm

I checked and my keywords are all there (in the keyword list/keyword inspector.) They are missing from metadata from each photo, even though the rest of the added metadata still appears. The captions, my copyright info, etc. appear but the keyord space is blank. For some reason all the keywording I added are gone, except for those images I added back to my library after the rebuild and update to A3. So the tags are now gone, not the keywords on the list.

Any  other suggestions? Would a rebuild help?

Susan S

Powerkey's picture
by Powerkey
June 16, 2016 - 2:45pm

Yikes! That doesn’t sound good.

I am not sure if the Rebuild will help, but I doubt it would do any harm. Can you duplicate the library and try the rebuild on a copy?

Do you have the original A2 Vault, or was it deleted/overwritten?

Susan S's picture
by Susan S
June 16, 2016 - 3:04pm

Would I duplicate the library on the same hard drive or on an external? I would have to look for the A2vault, but one of the issues when I did the restore was that there were missing projects in my library before the update and restore. Somehow we (with the Apple Specialist) recovered those and I would hate to lose them now. If a rebuild is safe on this library, I can try that. But if I need to duplicate library, is there a place that would walk me through those steps?

Susan S

Powerkey's picture
by Powerkey
June 16, 2016 - 3:53pm

I don’t think you are going to find too much help outside these forums. I will do what I can to describe the steps for you. Let me know if there is anything that isn’t clear…

The question about copying the library to an external is really about free space. If your internal drive has enough free space (more than double the size of your library) then duplicating it will be fine (and probably faster). If it does not, then you will need to copy your A3 Library to an external drive that has at least twice the free space as the size of your library. For example, if your A3 Library is 200 GB in size, then you will need to have at least 400 GB of free space to make a copy and perform a repair/rebuild. Copying the Library to an external is probably the best choice.

Step 1. Copy your Library (let me know if you need more detail about this step).
Step 2. Select the copied A3 Library in the Finder and type <command>-<option>-O.
Step 3. You will see the “Photo Library First Aid” window. Click the “Repair Database” (the second option) and click the “Repair” button (bottom-right).
Step 4. The repair will take a while. When the repair is finished, Aperture will open your library. Check to see if the keywords are back in the photos.

If not, Quit Aperture and re-do steps 2 and 3 again, but this time,in the Photo Library First Aid window, select “Rebuild Database” (the third option) and click the “Rebuild” button (bottom-right). This will do a more thorough repair of your library. The rebuild can take a very long time. As long as the progress bar is moving, let it do its thing.

When it is finished, Aperture will open the library. Check your photos again to see if the keywords reappear. If not, I think re-doing the keywords manually will be your only option.

Susan S's picture
by Susan S
June 16, 2016 - 4:45pm

This is very helpful. I appreciate the detail!I can try the Repair and then the Rebuild if needed, but can you give me more details about copying the Library to the external? I have probably done this before but it has been so long ago that I don’t remember and don’t trust myself! I do see my old A2 Library on an external and also a copy of it. I must have done something with that as a back up before I updated to A3.  Since there is no way to open use them, can I delete to make room for my A3 libraries? Or at least delete the copy?

My last Vault is an A3 back just after I did all the updates almost 2 years ago. I have no idea whether is is missing the keywords or not. (You can see that Aperture was not really used in a long time.)

I also see that some albums I had put together to make several books are now empty. Who knows what happened there, or when, but I hope the original photos are still in their projects. 

Susan S

Powerkey's picture
by Powerkey
June 16, 2016 - 5:18pm

Sure, no problem. But let’s take a breath and do some reconnaissance before we proceed. The A2 Libraries change things a bit. 

Do you still have Aperture 2 installed?

Are the A2 Library and the copy the same size?

How much free space do you have on the external (where the A2 Libraries are)?

Susan S's picture
by Susan S
June 16, 2016 - 5:43pm

I do not have A2 installed. I just have the A2 library sittiing on an external drive with a copy of the same.  I don’t remember now if I updated OS first (from Lion to Maverick) or if I updated Aperture from A2 to A3. But I had a big issue at the time trying to find missing projects and that is when a high level specialist at Apple walked me through steps and we ended up finding the missing projects while restoring from a Vault and then I exported them and imported them later to A3 library.  I probably did not realize that “albums” were empty and I have no idea if we were missing keywords before or after all of that. I was assuming it was after A3 update but maybe not. SO sorry I am so foggy about the details. It was a bit of a nightmare and it really hung me up for a long time. I feel like this is doing the same…

Now I look back at my 2 posts in Sept 2014 and it makes me wonder if missing keywords was like the missing 7 projects and possibly other issues. I imported those missing projects into my updated A3 library. Those photos (from missing projects) have keywords! I don’t think I understood what happeded back them, I was just happy to have the photos and Aperture updated.

My A3 Library (on my Macbook Pro) is 166.67 GB. I have 200.21 available on my external. My A2 Library on my external is 179.63 GB (and the copy is the same.) I have a recent computer back up on that drive as well. Interesting that the A2 is bigger than the A3.

Susan S

Powerkey's picture
by Powerkey
June 16, 2016 - 6:46pm

Do you recall if the keywords were okay after the A3 upgrade?

If the keywords are missing in the A2 libraries, then the Repair/Rebuild will not fix the problem. I think you should open the A2 libraries in A3 and see if the keywords are there, first. Create a new A3 library on the external drive (see below) and import one of the A2 libraries (start with the copy). Check your photos and see if the keywords are there. Also, check if the 7 missing projects are there.

To create a new A3 Library, hold down the Option Key while launching A3. You will get a window that has a “Create New…” button. Click it and then select your external drive and click the Create button.

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