I am hoping some of the people here who have lots of LR experience can give me some advice. I have recently started using LR 4.1 RC2 and yesterday I upgraded my PSE Organizer 9 catalog that had all my photos along with keywords and star ratings. My question conserns what I do now that I am using LR and how do I not lose anything. Below you will read how things are set up and what I hope to accomplish. It concerns catalogs and importing from a catalog. By the way, I have read the LR documentation about that here, but I am not clear if it will do what I hope to do:
I have about 50k original out-of-camera photos (mostly raw since 2006, mostly jpegs before that). I also have several thousand high-resolution film scan TIFF files. For all the files I have them organized with one folder per month going back to 2001 (the film scans are in separate folders) and all those monthly folders are inside another folder.
I have all of my photos stored on a USB external hd (ehd) with the LR catalog on my internal hd. The LR catalog is the one made yesterday when I upgraded my Organizer catalog. I keep duplicate copies of the most recent 12-24 months of photo folders on my internal hd (ihd) to make it easy and fast to work on them and because the ehd is not always connected to the computer. There is not enough space to put all photos on my ihd. All the photos on my ihd are in a different LR catalog of recent photos and this is where I do all my editing, adding keywords, star rating, etc. My backup software copies new/changed files to the ehd so it always has a current copy of all photo files.
I am sorry that all of the above is so long, but I thought I would need to explain it so that now that I am ready to say what I want to accomplish you can understand the background. From time to time, maybe at the end of each month, I would like to somehow merge the info LR has in my catalog that contains the recent subset of photos (editing settings, history, keywords, stars, etc.) with the same photos in the LR catalog that has all my photos. Probably at the same time I would delete the oldest month photo folder from my ihd and remove it from the recent photos catalog. In other words, for recent photos they are in two catalogs: the recent photo catalog and the total photo catalog. From time to time I must delete older photo folders from my ihd and, of course, remove them from my recent photo catalog, but the photos are still on the ehd and in the total photo catalog.
I want to see if this seems workable to you. Any downsides I should be aware of? Any gotchas? Other ideas? Thanks for your ideas and advice!