Digikam albums are actually folders, so where are the collections/albums?

I guess I’m used to Aperture and Lightroom where there is a filesystem view (let’s call that folders) and a collections/albums view…

In digikam, it appears that Albums = folders. When I manage albums, I am actually managing the file system itself. I am playing around with digikam and tried creating a new album and found that moving or copying images in albums actually modifies the file system itself.

Where in digikam is the ability to manage a set of images in an organizational structure that doesn’t change the file system? For example, in lightroom I currently manage my filesystem as yyyymm where all files are are stored in that structure. I then manage a view of the world with hierarchical collections where one image can live in many collections. For example, I could have one collection called ‘family vacation to the beach 2020’, and another collection called ‘best beach photos’.

Does digikam support such organization? I see there are hierarchical tags, but do I really need to tag every image, or is forced tagging the way that the digikam authors intend image organization to work?

If that’s the case, the authors should make it known and perhaps just relabel ‘albums’ to be ‘folders’.

@Rob_Brown I’m asking myself the same question. I need virtual folders or whatever you want to call them.
It seems that digiKam 7 understands the albums to be the same thing as the files and folders on the HDD.
In other words: When I delete an album in digikam 7 I also delete the same folder on my HDD.
My system is Linux Mint 19.3 or whatever the latest version is.

I use tags for that purpose. My photo library on disk and thus digikam albums is structured by “event” sorted by date (e.g. “20190817-Family_Hike”). Then if I do virtual albums (e.g. “2019-Family_bestof”) I have a top-level tag (which isn’t applied) called “collections” and the virtual album name is a subtag of that.

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Thanks for confirming this, and for the good suggestion for a ‘Collection’ tag. I will try that.

I have to think of a good way of recreating my collections from lightroom to digikam, so if I label all images with a structured approach for the collection that should work.