Keyword Tag Search Problem


Do you use “lazy syncronization” ? If yes you need to click on the “refresh” icon in the bottom bar.


I just found the check-box for “Lazy Synchronization” and it is not checked.


Okay…, one more experiment failed.
First, I copied the digiKam files folder as a back-up.
I started digiKam, put it in Albums View, and clicked the very top “Albums” so nothing was selected.
I opened Tag Manager; and, I hi-lited the top of the tag tree “Tags”.
I then clicked Sync/Export (which is somewhat misleading, as I don’t see any way to export anything).
In the Sync/Export menu, I clicked “Wipe All Tags from Database ONLY”.
In a matter of seconds, the Tag/Categories pane went blank and the Tag Manager disappeared.
I waited a bit and then closed digiKam.
I waited a bit and restarted the machine.
I waited a bit and started digiKam.
I opened the Tag Manager and then the Sync/Export menu and clicked “Read Tags from Image”.
It told me that could take a while and I clicked to go ahead.
It did take a while.
I went to bed and came back a few hours later and it was done.

My tag tree was mostly there.
In the main parent tags, there were a few errant sub-tagged images listed as parent tags, not many, maybe half-a-dozen; in most of these cases, it would not be all of the images within the particular sub-tag group, but maybe three of several.
I did not meticulously explore any deeper than the main parent tag structure; I have no idea how many misplaced tags may have been scattered where they did not belong.
All of my tag icons were gone.

Now for the acid test:
I went to Tag View and tested some of the tags that I knew had been displaying incomplete information and missing thumbnails = FAIL FAIL FAIL
After all of this, I hadn’t gained a thing.
All of the corrupted data had obviously remained while the tags were wiped and digiKam just re-associated the re-enlisted tags back with the corrupted data — it did not purge itself of the corrupted data as I had hoped.

Back to the drawing board…

Before I performed my lengthy experiment described above, I found another distressing problem that may or may not be related to my big problem.
I noticed some antique and classic car images were also tagged as “Sawmill”
I know for absolute fact that I did not mistakenly apply the Sawmill tag to these images; also, the affected images were scattered as to when they had been inducted into digiKam and it would be a huge coincidence if I had made the same mistake with the Sawmill tag on all of those occasions.
I noticed the number of images tagged with Sawmill was many more than I thought there should be.
So, I checked the Sawmill tag in Tags View and I found many more wrongly tagged with the Sawmill tag than there were correctly tagged.
I had images of people, fire-trucks, Poland-China Hogs, 1972 Plymouth Barricudas, Minneapolis Moline tractors, Shetland ponies, helicopters, and more, all showing as tagged with the Sawmill tag; no way could I have made that many mistakes.

I don’t yet know if this discrepancy is restricted to only the Sawmill tag, or if I am going to start finding many more other wrongly associated tags…; I suspect and expect the later.

I have spent countless hours meticulously building my tag tree and carefully tagging my images and now my sole reason for doing so is self-destructing.

I fear it may be years before my bug report yields a fix or a solution.

I have considered deleting the database and starting all over anew; but I have very little hope that digiKam won’t somehow reconnect itself to the corrupted information, hidden somewhere within the bowels of my registry, and me be back in the same place I am after all the work, or just wait until I get everything to working good and fall to pieces again.

Thanks for everyone’s patience and suggestions thus far.
Sorry for so long and so much to digest in a single post; I tried to make this in two separate posts but it would not allow it.

Update 11-Dec-2018: After meticulously finding and removing all the wrongly applied “Sawmill” tags from random images scattered throughout my collection, this morning I found a few more totally unrelated files carrying the Sawmill tag.

I had hopes that migrating the database to a different HDD would possibly solve the problem; however, after a very lengthy fight to get it done, nothing was gained; and, if anything, things were worse.

I have given up on any means of fixing my corrupted database; and, one-by-one, folder-by-folder, I am building a new database.

I am going to be hugely frustrated if my problem shows back up in this entirely new configuration.


I am a patient man, but at this point I am getting severely frustrated.
I thoroughly hid the old digiKam database folder.
I started with a clean slate, or at least I thought.
I restarted the machine several times in hopes of purging any remnants of bad memories.
I meticulously re-enlisted my photo collection, folder by folder.
I periodically checked tags view and so far all was seeming to be going good.
…until, I got into mid-2017 (I started at present day and was working my way backwards), at which point I checked tags view and the exact same thumbnails that were refusing to display before were behaving in the exact same manner as they were before.
Another failed attempt…another two or three days wasted…this is getting ridiculous.
I don’t see how this could even be possible; I thought I had disassociated digiKam from the old problem.

My next plan of attack is to completely and totally remove digiKam; dig way down deep in the hidden confines of the registry and pick out all of the hidden pieces; and, start from the very beginning with a new virgin install.

digiKam could be a really good program if it would work; it has the best method by far for creating tag trees and installing tags; it also has the best method for searching out images by tag.
It is wonderful that there is this huge tags panel on both sides of the window, one for assigning and the other for finding.
I have used and free-trialed just about every free and pay-for organizing program out there and not a single one even comes close to the wonderful tag handling features of digiKam.
But, none of this matters if it doesn’t work.

And I know that it can work, because it did work wonderfully for several years.
Honestly, it is as if some virus or worm has taken over my tags view and is progressively eating away at it from the inside out.

And then there is that Sawmill tag that keeps popping up on image files that I would never in my wildest imaginings have ever put there.
I search them all out, remove the errant Sawmill tag, and in a few hours there is a another random bunch showing up with it.

There are people in the crazy house that haven’t went through what I have in the last few weeks.

(Mica) #47

In the past I’ve used Revo Uninstaller to get rid of some crusty java installations, perhaps it can be of use here.


I found this back when I swore I would never own another nVidia product:

I have found the method to be quite successful for completely removing whatever the target may be; just substitute the program in question wherever it says nVidia.


I am not sure what is happening. Maybe it is worth to compare a couple of recent images to few from that problemaric mid 2017 ? Exiftool or exiv2 could be good tools to read all metadata and see if there is anything suspicious


Also you could try setting up a Linux virtual machine and try digikam with the same image collection there.

(Simon Frei) #51

Is there a particular reason you add every folder as a separate collection instead of the parent folder?
Of course this shouldn’t cause the problems you describe, but I would expect it to be slower.

If it’s the exact same files, did you already try to copy those and only those to another location and add that as a collection to digikam - to see if the problem occurs as well?


The behavior is so erratic that it is a bit hard to explain.
I first thought that, once a thumbnail refused to display, that it always behaved in that manner; however, last night, I just started at the bottom of the tag tree and worked my up, and I found images affected from all years randomly scattered throughout; and, images that I know for a fact were not displaying properly were displaying fine and others that had not previously been affected were exhibiting the problem. (I didn’t get very far up the tree)
That being said, there is one particular tag group that has certain thumbnails that, once they disappear, they have stayed disappeared; however, in that same group, there are others that disappear for days, only to reappear later.
That is a good experiment you described and I will definitely try it.
I had considered also copying some of them onto one of our other machines and seeing what the other machine’s digiKam did with them.

Thanks for the idea.


Okay, it gets even weirder…
Using FastStone so as to be independent of digiKam, I selected 18 files that were not displaying properly and copied them to a test folder and made that folder a Collection in digiKam.

In Albums View, all 18 images displayed and worked as they should.

In Tags View, even Collections that had been displaying the correct number of items on the blue separator bar, now are only saying and displaying a single item, even when I know there are many more.

In a couple of instances, the blue separator bar would be half-lapped over the thumbnails, either above or below.

Thumbnails that belonged to one collection would be displaying in the wrong collection.

And it gets even weirder…
No matter which tag group any of the 18 test images was displaying in, only a single item would display where there should have been more — and — high-lighting/selecting any of the test images would result in the right-side Tags panel to grey out.

Even weirder still…
I have no idea what was going on in the collections that were out of my view.
That being said, I could see a test image thumbnail and also a thumbnail of the collection above.
There would only be a single item displaying in the above collection.
However, when I clicked on the test image thumbnail, the single thumbnail being displayed in the collection above would change to a different image.

These 18 test images function as they should in other programs that I have tried.


I have just uninstalled digiKam; and, when I went digging into the various nooks and crannies to delete any remaining traces, I found these two files lurking in my AppData Local folder:

digiKam_tagsmanagerrc and digiKamrc

Could this digiKam_tagsmanagerrc file be the reason why, even though I would delete the thumbnail database and even rebuild the main database, my Tags View problem would always remain with me ?

Of course, I can’t play around with it now, as it has been uninstalled, but I would be curious to know if maybe this could have been the culprit.


I don’t think so. These are just configuration files not database files


I haven’t noticed - seems to pick all what tagged.


This is getting ridiculous !
I completely un-installed digiKam, even to the point of manually deleting every last vestige from the registry.
I performed a new pristine virgin installation of the most recent stable release that I could ascertain, version 5.9.0
One by one, I meticulously reinstated my entire photo collection of finished jpegs ONLY.
Once I got the entire collection reestablished in digiKam, I closed my eyes and investigated Tags View.
Just for fun, I purged the metadata from a selected group that were not displaying properly.
I created some brand new header tags and brand new sub-tags.
I brought these up in Tags View and still they had the problem.
I did learn another quirk about the situation: I had a particular tag that I knew for fact should have had 22 images displaying from a certain “collection” or “Album” if you prefer.
Only five were showing; the blue header-bar said there should be eight; and, I knew for fact that there should be 22.
I removed the tag from the five that were showing and the remaining seventeen that had not been showing magically appeared with full control abilities.
Just for fun, I moved to a different HDD and that did not help a bit.
I was determined to get to the bottom of this situation, emphasis on the “was”; I think I will take up drinking instead.
So far, all thumbnails show up and work fine in Albums View.
Just about every time I use digiKam, I find more and more images wrongly tagged with various random tags that no way did I apply.
Surely I am not the only human alive that has had this issue.
The big mystery is that there was no problem at all and everything worked perfectly right up until it all went haywire.
Also, since I did the new install, digiKam now crashes frequently for no reason that I can fathom; and, when it reopens after a crash, it has forgotten where I was.
I have numerous photo editing programs and not the least problem with the performance of any of them — only digiKam.


Perhaps your cat tag of subs isn’t registering? I have resorted to using subs only I dunno how to turn on cats.

Have u used other soft on u pics? How tags are written to DB/images/sidecars might not be the most compatible. Depends.

(Simon Frei) #59

I don’t think you have ever investigated the tags on problematic images with a different program - or did I miss it? When I was using some very olde digikam version (4.x) I managed to **** up my tags pretty well, and digikam was even more confused than I was. I do think nowadays it is much more robust with regards to “weird” tags, but maybe it isn’t.
tldr: I propose to examine a problematic file for all its tags (e.g. with exiftool -a -G1, I think there is also an exiftool gui program for windows) and see whether there is something weird. If there is nothing obvious, do the same with a picture that works just fine and compare.


I can see all the applied tags in (to only name a few of the programs I checked) Windows Explorer, FastStone, XnView, etc.
Every tag in my entire photo collection has been applied with digiKam.
I have noticed that, although not all of the problem images, but the majority of them, were images taken in 2017.
What blows my mind is that I completely purged my system of digiKam, as if it had never existed; then, I installed it anew and folder-by-folder reinstated my collection and the problem is right there as if I hadn’t done a thing.
Right up until I first noticed the problem, there was no problem.
I think I have a recent version of Exiftool in my “things to install someday” folder; maybe I will get it installed and see if it reveals anything.
Thanks for the suggestions.
I hate to admit it; but, I investigated Lightroom to see if it would be a viable and hopefully working solution to my situation; however, working correctly or not, Lightrooms tagging and tag-searching abilities fail miserably when compared to even a crippled digiKam.

(Simon Frei) #61

That’s not so surprising. I know from my windows only times that setting up from a clean install was the solution to everything (and it definitely is a good thing to do in many cases), but it is not a solution to everything. It just makes it very unlikely this is due to disk and thus database corruption. In my opinion you shouldn’t invest any more time in the “reinstall” vector - I just didn’t write that because without having an alternative idea, it just sounds like me being an a***ole.

That’s more interesting. If the reason isn’t that you just never looked closely enough before, this is a pointer that maybe something changed between the last time it worked and when you noticed it doesn’t - but I guess you have thought that over and over already.

That’s good, but that’s not enough. Probably - I don’t know the capabilities of these programs but I highly doubt they do anything than reading one specific metadata field. Digikam operates on various ones for compatibility with all kinds of programs and also for nested tag support, and if the wrong one is “corrupted”, that might through it off (it shouldn’t of course, but it did in the far past and might still now).


This is a screenshot that exhibits the weird behavior of white rectangles appearing wherever I left-click a missing thumbnail that I have managed to make to reappear.
The thumbnails look as if all is well; however, if I attempt to select them for whatever reason, either they disappear again, or the white rectangles just sort of erase them.
Very curiously, I can press the Windows key and all the missing thumbnails will immediately appear — but I cannot do anything with them; likewise, when I attempt to take a screenshot, as soon as the screenshot selecting tool appears on the screen, all of the missing thumbnails immediately show up and thus I cannot capture the evidence of them being gone.

This screenshot also proves that I was not hallucinating when I said that, before the re-install, I was able to view two rather large thumbnails, instead of the three smallish one that are all I can manage now.
When I had uninstalled digiKam, I went back and installed the first version that I ever had and could not for the life of me manage to figure out how I managed to get the two larger thumbnails.
Although I do not have a screenshot, I could also choose to view a single very large thumbnail exactly as you see the two, except that it would be a single column of thumbnails, one per row.
Being able to do such allowed me to be much more accurate when adding tags, as I could better see the details.