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Author Topic: Lightroom and DAM  (Read 6157 times)
digitaldog
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« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2014, 06:27:09 PM »
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This got a little off course. I don't think anyone is suggesting "one big folder" to hold all the images
No one here, that's ridiculous. It was proposed in the past by Scott Kelby. Not sure if he's changed his mind on that, I typically ignore him  Kiss
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And no one is suggesting that the folder structure be the only way to find an image. A robust metadata (tags and keywords) system is assumed.
Yes, I think we are all in agreement in that respect.
For me, I don't see a reason not to name and organize folders and subfolders as best I can for finding items outside the DAM. It isn't a perfect system, certainly alone as others have outlined areas where it could be confusing in some context. That's where metadata and a good DAM can greatly aid further in finding your images. What I don't agree with is the idea that in the long run you're better off avoiding trying to use your folder system to categorise your photos. Fully yes, that's dumb. As part of the organization system, no, it's quite helpful to me, I can't speak for others. As I said, anything but a descriptive name would just confuse me, dates are meaningless to me. But that's just me.
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FranciscoDisilvestro
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« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2014, 08:17:06 PM »
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You can think of folders as metadata at OS / disk level.

For me the main difference is:

Folder structure > mono-dimensional
Tags & metadata > Multi-dimensional

The fact that you can add metadata at any time allows you to reorganise your collections / selections in the future by a criteria that you didn't think of before.

Any descriptive name you were going to use for your folder structure can be used as keyword tags.

I envision a scenario where the physical organization of the "Digital Assets" is independent of content such as data in enterprise data bases. This is a long journey from where we are.
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ppmax2
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« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2014, 08:53:31 PM »
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Just a couple Aperture/Mac comments here....

I dump my originals straight from camera to a folder called "NewPictures"
Immediately after I run a script to rename them yyyy-mm-dd-hour-minute-second[sequence]
I then import these to Aperture, and move the previously renamed files to a year-based folder structure (1997, 1998,...2014). I'll create a new 2015 folder when we enter 2015.

This works great for me...but the "problem" is that if I'm not in Aperture, it's impossible to find pictures that I've tagged with keywords, GPS, ratings, flags, etc. One of my longstanding gripes with Aperture is that all the metadata that you add to a picture is locked in the Library or some type of sidecar file. (The same is true of other apps).

IMO, attempting to use folders for any type of organization other than date or location is flawed, because a single image can only live in one folder. It's a hugely limiting constraint on being able to access images that may share numerous properties, or may have an ambiguous organizational property.

Recently I've been experimenting with burning the metadata back into the originals using the Export Originals command...which then writes (some of) the metadata to IPTC fields. One great advantage of this approach is that with the metadata written to the file, the metadata is now searchable using Spotlight, which solves the problem of not being able to find images outside of the DAM software.

However, it's an incomplete solution, because there is a lot  of metadata that doesn't necessarily map into IPTC fields. For example, it doesn't appear that I can burn GPS coords (at least from Aperture).

This also presents a bit of a workflow challenge, since it requires importing the images, tagging them, then reimporting the images with the IPTC.

I've experimented with exiftool, which can definitely add the metadata, but the problem with this approach is that there is no UI for assigning metadata. I could create a bunch of scripts that could be run sequentially on images to add individual tags...but this would require a bunch of work up front to create all the scripts and would also be very tedious to apply them all.

From what I can gather, it *appears* that Apple may be trying to solve this issue (exposing metadata to the Finder and other applications) with the new Photos app. If this is true I think it solves a huge issue that all DAM software presents: essentially locking all the "value" you add to your photos within a black box. Of course each computing platform is it's own black box...but that's another story.

Ultimately, while a dedicated DAM certainly has it's advantages, the "lock in" and accessibility problems these tools imbue is frustrating and substantial. Like the OP, I am surveying the field of alternatives because Aperture will eventually cease to be a usable solution...and it doesn't have all the latest lens correction, noise reduction, etc features.

It's interesting (to me) that the quality of the RAW rendering engine and the image manipulation tools--while certainly very important--have taken a back seat to considerations of DAM portability and DAM lock-in. I've spent substantial time and effort making all my images searchable--and this provides incredible value when working with tens of thousands images. Finding a solution that enables me to preserve and access these data outside the context of a vendor-specific solution is hugely important, and I'm not about to trade one "black box" for another (Lr, C1, etc).


thx--
PP

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FranciscoDisilvestro
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« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2014, 09:17:42 PM »
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I don't know about Aperture, but in the case of LR the catalog is just a relational database that can be read easily by a wide variety of applications. Maybe here is an opportunity to consider for developing an user friendly application.

What I fail to understand is why would you like to search an image out of the DAM if you have the DAM in the first place? Does it take a long time to load your DAM? I'd think that it would take less time to load the DAM than doing a primitive search through a folder structure.

An additional comment for those that like to organise their images by location and your camera does not have a GPS: in case you didn't know, if you have a smartphone you can register a tracklog (there are several free apps like those used to track your workout) and then load into LR (map module) and it will assign the coordinates to each image based on capture time. It will even interpolate locations if you had periods without GPS signal. You can also adjust the offset time between your camera and phone.

Regards
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ppmax2
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« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2014, 09:34:09 PM »
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You can think of folders as metadata at OS / disk level.

For me the main difference is:

Folder structure > mono-dimensional
Tags & metadata > Multi-dimensional

The fact that you can add metadata at any time allows you to reorganise your collections / selections in the future by a criteria that you didn't think of before.

Any descriptive name you were going to use for your folder structure can be used as keyword tags.

I envision a scenario where the physical organization of the "Digital Assets" is independent of content such as data in enterprise data bases. This is a long journey from where we are.

Very well said.

>>I envision a scenario where the physical organization of the "Digital Assets" is independent of content such as data in enterprise data bases. This is a long journey from where we are.

Most DAM software already provide this to varying degrees: for example, as many point out, the physical location of the image is deemphasized in Aperture (love it or hate it).

>>What I fail to understand is why would you like to search an image out of the DAM if you have the DAM in the first place? Does it take a long time to load your DAM? I'd think that it would take less time to load the DAM than doing a primitive search through a folder structure.

What if you want to access your images on a device that your DAM doesn't run on? You mentioned enterprise DB's above: Most folks that use and interact with these systems will tell you that data tends to become "silo'd" in these systems (due to a number of factors). Data certainly has an intrinsic value, but inaccessible data is virtually worthless.

IMO, the real issue that needs to be solved is abstracting the user interface required to get/set the data from the data itself. This isn't a huge problem to solve--since it's been solved for many other types of data--but it certainly presents unique challenges for digital photographs (multiple different file formats, closed or non-public file formats, etc). Most modern file systems support some form of (or some degree of) arbitrary metadata...and Windows and Mac OS provide the means to index and search these data. There is a clear case to be made that adding metadata may require specific applications and specific user interfaces...but why do we need specific applications to access it? (Just to be clear, I'm not arguing that a CR2 file should be renderable "anywhere;" I'm arguing that the metadata describing the contents of these files should be accessible anywhere).

The move to the cloud will only highlight these problems.


PP
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Bob Rockefeller
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« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2014, 06:59:35 AM »
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What I fail to understand is why would you like to search an image out of the DAM if you have the DAM in the first place?

Some of us are unfortunate enough that our DAM of choice, Aperture, is being discontinued. And we don't know how much of Aperture's metadata will migrate to Photos.

Maybe, one day in the future, there will be no more Lightroom, either.

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digitaldog
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« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2014, 09:06:23 AM »
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Some of us are unfortunate enough that our DAM of choice, Aperture, is being discontinued. And we don't know how much of Aperture's metadata will migrate to Photos.
Maybe, one day in the future, there will be no more Lightroom, either.
Exactly. Or one may wish to migrate to another DAM. Or someone else might need to find an image outside the current DAM. It's like backing up to multiple drives, it's a belt and suspenders approach. And as I stated, I've often found images I'm looking from directly from the finder within a folder I've clearly named faster than launching LR and looking from there. I can see no justification for not using a well organized folder structure and naming for anything I store on a computer when I am comfortable doing said organization. If someone wants to use a different method and it works well for them, so be it. This gets back to the root of the OP's question about organizing and following the recommendations of one fine book. You don't have to follow it to the letter.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #27 on: August 09, 2014, 09:13:12 AM »
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http://scottkelby.com/2009/10-things-i-would-tell-new-lightroom-users/

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(2) Use Collections instead of Folders
Folders are where the actual photos you imported from a particular shoot are stored. Your good photos from that shoot, bad photos—the whole ball of wax. But once we import photos, are most of us really care about are the good ones, and that’s why Collections were invented (well, it’s one of the reasons anyway). Matt and I always joke that “Folders are where we go when we want to see the shots that weren’t any good” because we put all our “keepers” in a collection right away. Collections are safe, and will keep most users out of trouble.

(3) Store all your photos inside one main folder
You can have as many sub-folders inside that one main folder as you want, but if you want to have peace, calm, and order in your Lightroom, the key is not to import photos from all over your computer. Choose one main folder (like your Pictures folder on a Mac, or your My Pictures folder on a Windows PC), and put all your photos inside that folder. THEN import them into Lightroom (and if you’re importing from a memory card, have those images copied from the card info a folder within your main folder). Plus, this makes backing up your image library a breeze. Every time I run into someone who’s Lightroom life is a mess, it’s because they didn’t follow this one simple rule. Also, if you’re working on a laptop, it’s totally fine to store your photos on an external drive, rather than on your laptop.

Imagine migrating from proprietary collections to another DAM with such a setup.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #28 on: August 09, 2014, 09:53:24 AM »
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Some of us are unfortunate enough that our DAM of choice, Aperture, is being discontinued. And we don't know how much of Aperture's metadata will migrate to Photos.

Maybe, one day in the future, there will be no more Lightroom, either.


I moved from iMatch to LR. Doing data migration from one system to the other is notthat of a problem if you know the data structuring. It is a mapping excercise. Also data migration best practices show that you will never get all data across without some manual intervention or cleanup. Key is you have to know and decide on how to deploy the structuring  concepts of thesystem you move to.
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Bob Rockefeller
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« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2014, 10:29:38 AM »
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http://scottkelby.com/2009/10-things-i-would-tell-new-lightroom-users/

Imagine migrating from proprietary collections to another DAM with such a setup.

I wonder if Kelby meant to put a hierarchy of folders inside a main, photo, folder rather than loose image files all in a single crowed folder? I have my hierarchy of location folders inside a single folder named "Lightroom Library."
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Isaac
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« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2014, 10:40:39 AM »
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For those who use a strict date-base folder hierarchy, how do you work with the files on initial import?

- create a new folder with the OS
- use a script to rename image files in the OS

prefix (date the new folder was created) - suffix (sequence number within the folder)

20140809-001.ARW
20140809-002.ARW

No thinking about categorization required before getting to work on the images.
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Bob Rockefeller
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« Reply #31 on: August 09, 2014, 11:10:24 AM »
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- create a new folder with the OS
- use a script to rename image files in the OS

prefix (date the new folder was created) - suffix (sequence number within the folder)

20140809-001.ARW
20140809-002.ARW

No thinking about categorization required before getting to work on the images.

Isaac,

OK, so that leaves you with a bunch of renamed images in the initial folder all ready for editing and adjustments. From there, how do you get them all distributed into the folder-by-date structure? Drag and drop?
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Bob
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« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2014, 11:17:05 AM »
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OK, so that leaves you with a bunch of renamed images in the initial folder all ready for editing and adjustments. From there, how do you get them all distributed into the folder-by-date structure? Drag and drop?

This is overthinking the issue. You just use LR's import dialog to rename files and distribute them to folders.
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Bob Rockefeller
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« Reply #33 on: August 09, 2014, 11:24:36 AM »
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This is overthinking the issue. You just use LR's import dialog to rename files and distribute them to folders.

Oh, OK! I get it! The first folder is not known by Lightroom at all. Lightroom then imports from it.

At that point the new group of files is in the folder-by-date hierarchy. That's the end point desired. How do you work with the files in Lightroom scattered around like that? Lightroom creates the previous import catalog collection, so you can work from that. But if you haven't finished that work before the next import, how do you manage that?

I import a group of files into an •import folder and work on them there adding keywords, deleting duds, and making adjustments. If I import more before I'm done with those, they just stack on and can be sorted by date.

Once I'm done, I drag-and-drop the finished files into my folder-by-location hierarchy.
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« Reply #34 on: August 09, 2014, 11:40:23 AM »
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Think back to our conversation about Aperture's managed folder system which you said was actually date-based. Did you need to know that to work with your pictures? Clearly not, because you used Aperture's virtual folders and metadata, and it's the same here. If anything, you'd tend to use metadata fields more in Lightroom - for instance, the four iptc location fields would cover your geographical folder structure. I don't see any great virtue in your last drag and drop step, but if that's what you want to do....

One feature I really dislike is the Previous Import, and for the reason you offer.. It's less of a problem now I use 32 gb cards and might only need to import once after a shoot, but with my old 4 gb ones it's a pain. Instead I have smart collections such as shot within the last x days, and I save some of these as "Favourite Sources" - that's in Filmstrip at the bottom left where you see most recent locations.
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« Reply #35 on: August 09, 2014, 11:42:43 AM »
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Maybe look up my workflow smart collections?
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« Reply #36 on: August 09, 2014, 01:12:22 PM »
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I use hierarchical folders by day, e.g.,

2014
2014/2014-07-31

and handle this setup in the Import dialog via an Import preset.  (I don't touch those settings normally.)
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« Reply #37 on: August 09, 2014, 01:46:01 PM »
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This got a little off course. I don't think anyone is suggesting "one big folder" to hold all the images. And there is only one place I was when I took the picture - it too is "immutable and objective" - unless borders are redrawn and I'm will to take my chance with that. I was in NJ for the Mustang shot, not NY, even though NY was a subject of the image.

And no one is suggesting that the folder structure be the only way to find an image. A robust metadata (tags and keywords) system is assumed.
Never assume anything!  Tongue

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The folder structure may simply be the first level of organization, with metadata providing many more levels and layers. I think I'm sticking with Andrew here, it makes very good sense to me to use folders that are places.
Terrible idea to use subject as basic physical organisation. One of the many reasons why it isn't a good idea is that you may end up with 10s of thousands of pictures in one folder.

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From there we got into a number of different hybrid folder naming structures: YYYYMMDD-TT-ShortLocationDescriptiveTitle, 2014-08-18 Dogs, Leica/2014/2014-01-31 and so on. If it's "bad" to categorize with folders, then these approaches are certainly "bad" as well.
Not at all, you are not categorising your shots just because you stick then in date folders with a description. You are simply storing them in a sensible way. The date-description approach is good as it's very easy and works in any OS/programme and makes sense to any human. I do not see any downsides to using it. Folder sorting by camera such as Leica though is pointless.

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For those who use a strict date-base folder hierarchy, how do you work with the files on initial import? It seems that you must have to assign some keywords, or something, right away so that the group doesn't end up spread out over a number of different day folders. I know Lightroom gives you the previous import collection by default, which is good, but very short lived.
I simply import into date folders and do the detailed stuff afterwards. On occasions where the subject matter of the import is the same, I may add some keywords then. But if importing from say my phone then it may be a week's worth of pics, so I import and label the folder with the day's shots in. And may even subdivide the days if there are lots of different subjects. As I said above this makes casually browsing through one's photos very easy.

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jjj, if you take a picture on 2014-08-18 with a dog and a cat in it, which folder do you put it in?
I explained that in same post. 2014-08-18 Cat + Dog, the description is simply what's in the folder on that day. It is not how I organise pictures of cats or dogs. I could easily have done 2014-08-18 Cats, Dogs and Goats, but if the subjects are completely separate then why not place in separate folders if you have lots of each. If I only had 15 animal shots in total then 2014-08-18 Cats, Dogs and Goats would be fine if I had hundreds of shots of each animal that day then separate folders makes more sense. The whole point of any organisation is to whittle down and find what you are looking for. Large folders with thousands of images don't help with that.
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« Reply #38 on: August 09, 2014, 01:58:56 PM »
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I moved from iMatch to LR. Doing data migration from one system to the other is notthat of a problem if you know the data structuring. It is a mapping excercise. Also data migration best practices show that you will never get all data across without some manual intervention or cleanup. Key is you have to know and decide on how to deploy the structuring  concepts of thesystem you move to.
Folders ordered by date/description do not need any migrating or mapping as they just work and is the main reason I use it. The metadata is also there too for metadata organising, so dead easy.
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« Reply #39 on: August 09, 2014, 02:27:47 PM »
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Oh, OK! I get it! The first folder is not known by Lightroom at all. Lightroom then imports from it.

At that point the new group of files is in the folder-by-date hierarchy. That's the end point desired. How do you work with the files in Lightroom scattered around like that? Lightroom creates the previous import catalog collection, so you can work from that. But if you haven't finished that work before the next import, how do you manage that?

I import a group of files into an •import folder and work on them there adding keywords, deleting duds, and making adjustments. If I import more before I'm done with those, they just stack on and can be sorted by date.

Once I'm done, I drag-and-drop the finished files into my folder-by-location hierarchy.
Still overthinking.  Smiley
Import by date, you can rename files at same time if your subject is all one thing. Once in LR add description to each folder and you're done with physical folders. Unless you want more than one folder per day for multiple subjects - entirely optional but remember this is adding metadata organising at same time, folder names are metadata too.
Use smart collections then to organise your work by locations, animal or whatever.

The reason why dates for folders is preferable is that there is no ambiguity. That's the day the photos were taken, add description and thats it, job done. Add metadata to taste and get developing.
With folders sorting by subject it all gets messy.
Take locations -  I go to Swansea take some photos and place them in a folder called Swansea. I then return to Swansea because I decided that I really liked it there and then do a series of images of Mumbles, another visit and I do shots in the Grand Theatre, another visit was of mountain bikers on Kilvay Hill.Return once more and shoot a different part of the Mumbles. Now where do these shots go? Swansea seemed fine for a single visit, but then repeat visits make it the locations more complex and you may go from a few dozen shots of Swansea to many thousands. so you may have to rejig what's in the original Swansea folder as say for example were taken around the docks. Manually moving files around as your subject locations get more granular is a pointless waste of time.
So rather than just Swansea, folders may now be
Swansea
 -City Centre
    -Grand Theatre
      -Exteriors
      -Interiors 
    -Oxford Street
    -Swansea Market
- Docks
  -West Dock
  -King's Dock
 -Kilvay Hill
 -Mumbles
  -Mumbles Castle
  -Mumbles Seafront

A dog folder can get just as bad. You shoot a some dogs, they get added to dog folder. People like your dog shots you do some more and add them to dog folder then you get a name for being a dog photographer and that's your business. Can't keep all those doggie pics in one folder.

Now if you organise location or dogs by smart collections this can grow/become more complex as you go along and images automatically get added to smart collections even if all you did was add a description such as Mumbles Castle/Labrador Puppy to the folder description. Do this with actual physical folders and you are simply digging a hole for yourself.
       
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