MerlinX (MX) provides an exciting and user-friendly approach to keywords with key enhancements to handling and editing. As a member of the Technical Services team I’ve recently observed that this can be a confusing area for new users. With a few simple guidelines users can employ some Digital Asset Management best practices from the start and can quickly organize data in a useful manner.
Keywords are initially configured under the Keyword page located under Administration. For a site with keywords already configured, the list will be presented. For navigating a large keyword list users may enter the desired term in the search box provided at the top and then clicking the Get keywords button. This search box can take full terms, starting letters, and partial term entry and will return that portion of the list that portion of the list that matches the criteria. For example, entering “T” will return all items starting with “T”.
For sites that want to generate a list of the configured keywords a link, Generate List of All Keywords, is provided at the top right, and a new browser tab will open with the full list of keywords. This is a handy tool for sites just coming to MX who want to review and consolidate the keywords being used. For example, a site could have both ‘DOG’ and ‘DOGS’ as keywords. With this list they can decide on which keyword fits their system best and remove references to other ones. This will be especially handy for any site that uses place names – States, Provinces, and Countries – where abbreviation is occasionally used and the full word is used elsewhere. For sites that want a strict naming convention, the keyword list can be managed from this interface to retain the proper convention.
Next we come to addition and deletion of keywords, which is as easy as one or two mouse clicks. Adding new keywords through this interface is pretty simple. A text box is presented at the bottom of the window immediately under the list. Enter the new keyword and click the (+) button to its left to add the new keyword and it will immediately be available in the list, and available for users to search and add to metadata. Deleting keywords, on the other hand, which is done by clicking the (-) button next to the desired term, should be approached with care. When a keyword is deleted, MX will also check for the presence of that keyword on any records and remove it from their metadata. Selecting a keyword for deletion will first move that keyword to the right-hand deletion panel. This is the confirmation screen. Clicking “Delete These Keywords” will then do the actual removal of the keyword from the list and from the Merlin records.
Similar to the deletion function, modifying keywords can be done by using Replace Keyword to update all records with the old term to a new term as well as updating the entry in the list. For example, “WA” can be modified to “Washington” and all records previously tagged as “WA” will now reflect “Washington”.
As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to always query Merlin first for keyword use. For any deletion or replacement desired, do a search for that keyword to see how many records would be affected. Keep in mind that replacing or deleting a keyword on a large quantity of records can impact users currently working in the system. Another point is that these changes are not reversible so some consideration and planning ahead is a good idea.
I find this feature one of the coolest aspects of MX and hope this guide provides a quick look and some important need-to-know facts so users can jump right in.
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