Jump to content

How to get .bridgesort sort order into Daminion! (nifty trick!)

Recommended Posts

Hey Daminion crowd,

I'm a new customer, importing a big volume of images that have been carefully sorted in Adobe Bridge, manually.  That sort order is meaningful, so getting it into Daminion was important for us.

I've come up with a little hack which, inelegant though it may be, does the job.  Feel free to improve on it!

You'll need a text editor like Notepad++, and, unless you're a Python scripter (I'm not) you'll also need Excel or similar.

Step 0. Import your images into Daminion. I leave them in place and assign categories for each folder name.

Step 1.  In Windows Explorer make sure you can see hidden or system files and extensions.  Every folder that is sorted in Bridge gets a little XML file called .bridgesort

Step 2. Make a copy of .bridgesort and name it "BridgeSort.txt"

Step 3. Open BridgeSort.txt in Notepad++.  Delete all the tags at the top, which look something like this:

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8' standalone='yes' ?>

Step 4. Delete the closing tags at the bottom, which leaves only rows and rows of tags and filenames.  Those look something like this:  

<item key='ToC_01.psd20190418102533' />


Step 5. Using Find/Replace, find every instance of     

<item key=' 

   and replace with empty.   Then find every instance of   

' />

and  replace with empty.

Now you have all the images listed in their sort order, but there is this 14digit suffix on every image that you need to replace with a sort order number that Daminion will like.

Step 6. Using Find/Replace and a regular expression, add a tab between the filename and the 14 digits.  Here's what you'll put in the "find" field (14 periods):


and here's what you'll put in the "replace" field (there's a tabbed space after the $1):


Step 6.  Add a new line above the first line of image names, and type "Filename [type in a tabbed space] BridgeSort".  This establishes your headers for the final txt file.   


Step 7. In MS Excel, make a new empty workbook.  Then select Data > from text (import data from a text file) Locate and open your Bridgesort.txt.  It should appear in two columns with column headers.

Step 8. Highlight the entire "BridgeSort column by selecting above the header. Right click, "Format Cells" and change its format to "text"

Step 9. In the cell under the header for the second column, type 0001 (or as many zeroes as you think you'll need for sorting that folder). Then click the cell and drag the solid + that appears in the lower right corner of that cell, drag it down until you've populated every row that has a filename with a sequential number, presented as text.  It may take practice to do this right, but it works.

Step 10.  With a first column under "Filename" and a second column under "BridgeSort", you're ready to Export to CSV and import into Daminion.  From Excel's top menu, File > Export > Change File type > Other filetypes > text (tab delimited)  but give it the .CSV extension.  (works for me.)

Step 11.  Daminion client, You need to create a new Custom metadata tag using the top menu: Catalog >Custom Tags > create one called "BridgeSort" giving it limited values so that it is accepted by Daminion as a tag that you can use for sorting. 

Step 12. Bring up the folder of images (hopefully a category you simply click on) to which you've assigned this Bridge sort.  You'll find your sortable metadata field under "Sort by > Custom > BridgeSort"   If it doesn't show up, you may not have gotten the custom metadata right.  Click any one of the images to make sure the BridgeSort tag is populated with the sort number.  

While there are many ways this can fail to perform, once you get the hang of it, you can get all your Bridge sorts into Daminion and see your images arrayed the way you used to view them in Bridge.

Good luck!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Diane,

can you describe your manuall sort criteria in Adobe Bridge please? And do you continue with Bridge AND Daminion? If yes, how do you want to manage new files?

regards, Uwe 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Uwe,

Starting with our de-facto process: I serve an archive.  Image catalogs (our term) are laid out so they can be viewed on a tablet or laptop, popping up a fullscreen image preview when desired.  The layout includes a title card and spacers, because there's not a line-return as there would be in a design or word processing app.  For us, the order in which images are shown is significant. 

So once we have the layout of a folder full of images set as the artist intended, we lock the .bridgesort file.  Sorting is time-intensive, not to be repeated.

Others may like to sort files for a slideshow, for a presentation, for their own sanity, etc.  But if they've started in Bridge, they could lose that in Daminion... Unless... 

We're likely to use Bridge as part of our workflow, however we hope to use Daminion as our primary browser. Much depends on performance, (we're buying a souped up tower to attach directly to the server with all the images), so our workflow is yet to be determined.  To-date, we've always been disappointed that Bridge thumbnails take so long to load, and that we can't cross-reference as in a database.

New files are likely to be in the area of documentation and projects, but there won't be new catalog images.   Some images will be rescanned, and eventually replace the version in our catalog (our term).   I haven't sussed out that workflow yet, but we'd hope to do that within Daminion, and keep the same filename, with all the metadata transferring to the replacement file.

Much to learn, but I thought I'd share this "getting started" hack for preserving the precious Bridge sort order.   I haven't put time into auto-populating a field with manual sort numbers from within Daminion. For now, someone else can sweat through that one.  I'm trying not to develop anything in our workflow that a regular software update could overwrite or make obsolete.


Diane ("deon")

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Diane,
I'll try to describe how I understood it. I hope it is correct. There is a folder on the hard drive with the works of an artist, e.g. a painter. Within the folder there is a "cover sheet" and the paintings, in this case the photos of the paintings, are sorted manually by Bridge as the artist would like them to be for a show of works, a catalogue or the order in which they are hung in an exhibition, for example. In other words, the sorting is a snapshot for a specific purpose and the folder does not have to contain all of the artist's previous works. Where is the complete oeuvre stored? You may have written that there will be no new catalogue images, but I wouldn't rely on that. What happens to new works by the artist and the link to the old existing works if they are filed in the documentation/projects area? What happens if only some of the works in the folder are to be used for a brochure, slide show or exhibition presentation, for example? The Daminion "Shared collection" function could be used here.
Storing the files in the respective file system on the hard disc is not really interesting. Theoretically, all files could be stored in a folder on the hard drive, provided they have unique names.
Personally, I only use Daminion to manage, tag and sort photos, audio, videos, documents, etc. But I would do the same with any other DAM. Every change made outside of Daminion, which applies to all database-based DAMs, must then also be "mapped" in the Daminion database (rescan folders, import, read metadata, etc.) There is of course a risk of deviations or inconsistencies in the database (known in Bridge but not in Daminion) or content (metadata).
I could imagine, for example, that the project tag is used in such a way that a project sub-tag is created for each exhibition etc. under the total inventory of the artist. But all other possibilities/tag combinations are also conceivable.
Now to the sorting: I admit that I can't think of anything universal at the moment. There is currently no fixed sorting in Daminion, as is the case in Bridge with the "external" .bridgesort file. The sorting criteria in the web browser are significantly lower compared to the Daminion Windows client. The use of "custom tags", as you are already using, could be one method. However, since the selected sorting always applies to the entire inventory or the selected elements, in your case possibly a sub-project, in Daminion, you would have to create a custom tag for every possible sorting. But that doesn't seem very practical to me.
But perhaps other Daminion users have even better ideas.
Best regards, Uwe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Ah, in this case, the Artist's archivists (me and the team) are working posthumously, hence the "no new images".  The Suite layout stands for all posterity.  

As I'd mentioned, we are just beginning to move the archive into a DAMS.  All the records of all the works are filed carefully in a structure where folder names are consistent, and archivists 100 years from now should be able to make sense out of what they're looking at.  Getting that initial structure into Daminion was our hoped-for starting point, which we've accomplished, including the sort order of the catalog of each Suite of images (nearly 100 Suites), as laid out by the artist.  Bridge sort order is only mission critical in relation to the definitive record of images in their Suites.  I have not turned my attention to sorting for image use such as publication, collections, exhibition, etc.; just the definitive layout of each Suite as it stands.

But for image use projects, I would expect to use the sort functions built into collections.  Alternatively, that kind of sorting may all be preserved in the external "editor" format, such as InDesign, Premiere, etc.  Since we actually have a separate directory structure where we have preserved historical image use, with copies of images, it's not out of the question to use the same Bridge sort import trick there if needed, using the same "BridgeSort" tag since it is applying to a different group of files (see my final comment).  However for future projects, it would sometimes be convenient to simply sort files in Daminion. I would expect the sort order to be preserved in association with the folder (virtual or extant) container for the files. We are creating a tag structure for Image use projects.  Since our files will always have a parallel actual file structure that matches the category tree, it's easy enough to preserve the sort order in each project folder if it is really important.  (Again, looking 100 years into the future.)

As for working with file metadata, we don't want to be making changes outside of Daminion once we get there, unless checked out and checked in.  I agree that would be a nightmare.  Even a single individual would have to have a careful procedural checklist to follow every time.  We will, however, be saving each completed project into our directory of completed projects.

Back to sorting... at this moment, there's a manual-sort bug that should have been corrected in build 3443, but my testing shows there are still odd behaviors. I'm trying to trace them in case it's something happening on our side, and not in the code.   Once it's fixed, I see sorting collections to be extremely handy for present-time projects.

Beyond that, your question reaches into issues of how we are going to identify variants of an image, keep metadata intact for each, etc.  We are just starting out, haven't defined our workflow, and have simply crossed one rather imposing bridge that needed crossing. And I shared the hack that got me to the other side.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...