Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lightroom Catalogs

One of the things that I first noticed when looking at Lightroom for law enforcement was how and where the program stores images. The Lightroom Catalog (it used to be a Library in version 1), is the one stop shop for all of your images and associated data. This is both good and bad.

The good news:
When you first install Lightroom, a default catalog is created for you. Most writers have opted for a single catalog workflow, choosing instead to manage their files within the same catalog. For our purposes, it may be necessary (for eDiscovery reasons) to keep each case's files within it's own catalog. In this way, there is no blending of file info across cases. Luckily, creating a new catalog is easy enough. Just click File>New Catalog. Choose an appropriate name (like the case file number) and location ... and you're off to the races. When you want to open an existing catalog, just click File>Open Catalog. This leads us to the bad news.

The bad news:
Lightroom does not allow you to work on several catalogs at once. Neither can you search within a catalog that is not open. This one can become a huge issue as your case files grow. You also aren't allowed to save the catalog to a network share for use by others.

With this in mind, we'll spend September exploring the catalog structure of Lightroom and working through a logical structure and workflow for using catalogs effectively in law enforcement.

Until next week, enjoy.

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