Converting Your Categories to Tags

Published: 12 March 2012
This page is documenting a tool still in development. Only use it if you know what you are doing. If unsure, please wait until the tool and this document have been finished.

If you do want to try it out, read this threadExternal link


Since "Tags" and the "Geographical Context" list were introduced only recently, many contributors have images still with only a "Category".

The goal of this tool is to help contributors apply a bulk conversion to their images, by taking all the images with a certain category and automatically adding Geographical Context items to those images, and at the same time converting the Category to one or more Tags.

When someone defines a particular 'conversion' - it is saved so that other contributors can reuse the same definition. This will speed up the conversion process, as many users will simply be able to reuse the definitions.


1. Reusing existing suggestions

Firstly use the table to look through all the suggestions you can reuse. For some categories there may be multiple alternative definitions. If that is the case, pick the single most appropriate.

Once you have ticked all the definitions you want to apply, click the submit button at the bottom. The requests will be recorded, and applied at a later date in the background (changes aren't immediate - they can take 24-48 hours to show).

Be sure to check this list again from time to time. As time progresses, more people will be defining suggestions for a wider range of categories - so there will be more for you to reuse.

2. Creating new definitions

Using the form at the bottom of the page:

A. select the category you want to convert

B. Select relevant Geographical Context item(s)

Tick all the context items that apply to ALL your images. Can select multiple.

A suggested context might be provided - click to use it. This is sourced from previous work to get suggestions for Context from the category list.

(or if you know you have a few exceptions, apply the most popular, and you can return later - and add/remove a few as required - you will be emailed when a change on your images has been actioned)

(you can omit selecting a Context, if you think none apply to a majority of the images. But as the goal is to have every image categorized by Context, it's a good idea, to then individually add images. The Multi-tagger can help with this)

C. Enter Tag(s)

Enter the tag(s) that define all the images. The goal is to maintain all the information of the Category, but potentially add more. Can add more specific tags in relation to the image. For example a category of "School" could be expanded to "School", "Building", "Education Establishment". All which further enhance the detail provided with the image by making it findable in a wider range of situations.

A suggested tag might also be displayed. This is from the Canonical Categories project, and generally provides a wider defined subject. (eg all church denominations will be under one canonical "Church", with the original category being more specific). When converted to tags BOTH the precise and the less precise version should be added (so add this in addition to any other tags you are adding).

D. Remove the category?

If ALL the detail of the category, has been implemented via the Context and/or Tags can then safely remove the category. All the information has been converted, and removing the category won't lose any details.

Eg just choosing the context "top:Lakes, Wetland, Bog", when the Category was "Lake". The context is more wideranging, so if a tag of Lake is not added, detail is being lost. And once the category has been deleted, it's much harder to correct this mistake later.

If you are unsure, DON'T remove the category - so you can still use this tool again later, and add more tags (or even potentially use a similar tool to remove mistaken tags).


When you submit the form, the request is recorded, both so it can be applied to your images, and so that others can choose to adopt your suggestion.

Creative Commons License Text by Barry Hunter, March 2012 ; This work is dedicated to the Public Domain.
With contributions by Roger D Kidd and Penny Mayes. (details)
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