Managing Thousands of Images

I am pretty brutal when it comes to culling out my less than desirable images. Nevertheless I have a very large number of finished and raw images. I use Lightroom to manage my photo library. Managing that large number in a way that allows me to find specific images is a complex topic. There are other reasons to impart some organization on that library. First, I am building this web site. I don’t want all my images here. No one would (or should) look at them. I envision this site as a place to display only my best, “portfolio” quality images. I must be able to find them now and in the future.
Second, I won’t live forever and certainly hope that someone will want to salvage some of those images when I’m gone. They need a way to sift through the mess.
I’ve used numerous keywords in the past without much thought to their organization. As a result even my keywords aren’t that great. I’ve used the star rating system at times in the past, but even that has been without much thought as to what the ratings actually meant, other than I simply liked one picture in that shoot better than another. Star ratings were not consistent across different shoots.
Time to think this thing through. I decided to start at the top and begin by going through and identifying my portfolio images. During that process I’d correct keywords where I noticed them. My final step will be to go through and re-organize the keywords.
I started the portfolio search by filtering out all the highly rated (starred) images, assuming that, at least once, I thought they were my best for each shoot. There were about 1500 images with 4 stars or greater. I was able to cull that list down to around 150. Not bad. I decided to flag my portfolio with five stars AND a “portfolio” keyword.
I am now in the process of going folder by folder giving portfolio quality five star ratings to the FEW images I find. I’ll then filter all those rated images out and assign them the new keyword.
I’ve got a LOOOOONG way to go!