[digiKam-users] New to digikam

woenx marcpalaus at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 29 09:34:21 BST 2019

Hi Santiago,

Here is what I would do:

First of all, I'd put all pictures in the same drive, and then, super
important, make a backup. And leave that backup alone. You never know when a
file can get corrupted, or you need to know where it was located originally
(for context) or even know its file modification date (sometimes they don't
have metadata).

Then I would start organizing the pictures manually. I believe the most
intuitive method is organizing your library in events. For instance, a
folder for each birthday, wedding, baptism, holiday trip, dinner at a
restaurant, etc. I write the date of the event at the beginning of the
folder name in this format: YYYY-MM-DD. For instance: "2017-06-13 Santiago's
birthday". If you do it this way, folders will be automatically  sorted in
chronological order your file browser.

It's possible that you have folders that are compilations of pictures that
do not belong to any event. In that case, I'd group them by person. Like, if
you have several scanned photos of your great-aunt, create a folder for her. 

I would not rename any filenames, except maybe for old scanned pictures.
Filenames often provide context about the order the picture was taken, and
with what camera.

Backup again. If possible, at this point, set up some kind of backup system,
so you can create periodical incremental backups. You know when you might go
back and revert some unwanted changes on a picture. If you can store that
backup in a different physical location, that's even better (that way the
backup is safe in case of fire, theft, flooding, etc. which I hope never

At this point, you can already use the picture manager of your choice. In
this case, digikam.

Digikam does not store the pictures in its database, only small thumbnails,
so the current folder structure that you just organized will be the original
pictures. Changes on these pictures (Keywords, dates, faces, gps
coordinates...) will be saved in the metadata. You can choose whether you
want to save that metadata directly on the original file, or use sidecar
files for that. The former is more convenient, but there are more risks, can
be slower, and some people avoid overwriting the original files at all
costs. With sidecars (little .xml files), you have to make sure to always
keep them next to their picture. That's your choice.

I personally use SQLite in digikam, but I don't know really well the
differences between that and MySQL. Maybe someone else can shed some light.

Now start digikam, point at the location of the library. Wait until it
finishes scanning (depending on the size of the library, it can take up to
several hours), and then you can work on your library. In the main menu, I'd
recommend you to sort your Albums by Folder, and your items by Creation

To remove duplicates, you can use the "Similiarity" tool in digikam. For
that, you first need to generate fingerprints, which can take a while. Once
it finishes, click on "Find duplicates". And the possible duplicates will be
listed in that panel. Now you have to review results one by one, deleting or
moving duplicated entries. Another option which works well, is right
clicking in any picture you suspect is duplicated, and choose "Find

So now you can already enjoy your library. You'll likely want to add tags to
your files, and maybe correct the date on some pictures, or add the
geolocation to some pictures. Or even detect faces in them.

Of course, at this point, any changes made to the library from digikam will
also be visible to any other picture manager, they won't be lost. If you
later wanted to use adobe Bridge, ACDSee, Picasa, or any other, you can.

I hope I have been helpful! And I'd would appreciate some input if other
users have some other tips for organizing their picture libraries.

PS: of course, all the names and options I've mentioned will appear in
Spanish in your digikam. Tell me if you can't find something or need some

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