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Merging iPhoto Libraries, the easy way
Authored by: jiga on Jun 09, '04 07:36:27AM
Merging iPhoto Libraries, the easy way:

1. Make sure you have enough free space two times the size of your library to merge in on your hard drive.

2. Using DiskUtility (in OS X 10.3), create a disk image large enough to hold your library once. Name the opened volume "iPhoto Library".

3. Using TextEdit, create a file called IPHOTO.XML and place it inside the library. The file should contain this text:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">
<key>My imported pictures</key>
<string>iPhoto Library</string>
<key>iPhoto Library</key>
<string>./iPhoto Library</string>

4. Copy your library to this disk image and name it "iPhoto Libary". If you're done, the folder structure should look like this:

iPhoto Library (Disk image)
 \- IPHOTO.XML (Textfile)
  - iPhoto Library (folder, containg all your iPhoto stuff:)
      - Albums (folder, pretty empty)
      - iPhoto.db
      - AlbumData.xml
      - Library.iPhoto
      - 2004 (folder, containing subfolder for each month+day)
         \- 05
             \- 31
                 \- DSCF0001.JPG
                  - ... (many more pictures)
                  - Data (folder, containing files "1.attr" and "1")
                  - Thumbs (folder with Thumbnails)

5. Inside Disk Utility (in OS X 10.3), choose the menu "Images > Convert..." to create a read-only copy of your disk image.

6. Mount that new image and iphoto is happy! drag-and-drop the CD onto your library to import your photos!

(Thanks to

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Merging iPhoto Libraries, the easy way
Authored by: tonyboy on Oct 17, '04 05:08:36PM

For the benefit of anyone else who might want to do this, here are a few notes:

1) You don't need to make a disk image in step 2. Just make a folder called "iPhoto Library". In step 5, use the "New image from folder" command to make a read-only or compressed disk image in a single step.

2) I was only able to get this to work using joshX's XML data. More specifically, in jiga's version, the two keys in the XML data need to be "ArchiveName" and "ArchivePath", respectively.

3) When saving the file in TextEdit, you need to make sure you save it as Plain Text, and not Rich (formatted) text. Use the UTF-8 encoding. If using BBEdit or some other tool, make sure you save as UTF-8.

4) If you need to store or transmit the finished disk image, you might be able to save considerable space by creating a compressed disk image. If you need to protect your data, you can apply encryption to the disk image as well. Don't forget the password!

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Merging iPhoto Libraries, the easy way
Authored by: brianboonstra on Oct 22, '04 10:39:32AM

I would not expect much in the way of compression: most people's libraries have all their pictures in already-compressed formats like JPEG, which of course do not compress much further.

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Space-Time saving techniques - No need to convert the disk image, just lock it and re-mount
Authored by: VRic on Jun 13, '05 08:27:43AM

iPhoto will consider any read-only volume as an iPhoto CD/DVD if its root level contains an iPhoto library folder and an XML file describing it as explained previously.

So you can save a lot of time and disk space by avoiding unnecessary conversions:

(1) you don't need a read-only image, just a read-only volume. You can mount any volume read-only if you're CLI-savvy, or you can lock the disk image file in the Finder's Info window, which is much easier (you'll need tu unmount/remount the image for the change to take effect)

This will probably skip some disk image and library duplications.

(2) using a normal writable disk image as the master will allow you to test and refine your setup easily (without copying the library again if all you want to change is its name in the XML file for example). Once the image is created, you can edit the XML file, lock/remount the image to test it in iPhoto, then unlock/remount to edit it again, etc.

(3) you won't have to bother what the final size will be if you use a "sparseimage" disk image, which will start small and only grow as needed while copying the library

(4) you can even edit the library itself in iPhoto (to load that library, hold the [Option] key while launching iPhoto: it will ask you to locate a library, select the one on the writable disk image, you can then edit it in place)

(5) you can also easily save space by trashing the "Originals" folders in each roll's folder in case you must reclaim a few MB to let it fit on a CD (iPhoto libraries keep duplicate "originals" of any file you edited: if you're confident you won't need to undo changes, you can remove those from the disk image, the resulting library will work the same).

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