In response to a couple of questions that I received regarding the Aperture File Management post from a week or so back I thought that I would share a quick tip for those struggling to get their Aperture libraries beaten into submission. If you have more than a couple of images Aperture's search tools are a god send. One of the concepts that I mentioned briefly in the File Management post was that you could use any criteria that you would like to create a selection to subsequently use to "relocate masters". One of the things that I did not mention is some searchable metadata buried in Aperture's search HUD that comes in very handy when organizing a complex storage scheme.
While doing casual full text searches by typing directly into Aperture's search box in the browser is certainly effective for most tasks some of the real power is only available utilizing the search HUD. The specific feature and metadata that I am highlighting today is the "file status"metadata. If you go to any level of your library, including the all photos view, and click on the little magnifying glass icon immediately to the left of the text search box in the browser you will bring up the search HUD. In order to access the "file status" metadata search just click the "+" button in the upper right corner of the HUD and choose "file status". Doing this should add a new search field to the HUD that looks like this.
As can be seen, this search allows you to select images by the way the image masters are stored and whether they are currently offline (on a drive volume not connected to your computer) or online if they happen to be referenced masters. Utilizing this metadata in combination with whatever other search criteria or your position within your libraries organization hierarchy allows for some very powerful file management without a whole lot of work on your part. It also allows you to fix some errors and misjudgements of the past that may have made your library a disorganized mess with respect to where masters are located.
Give it a whirl, while you are at it try some of the other metadata search features if you are someone that has only used text searches for the most part. Playing around with this stuff can give you some great ideas for smart albums that will save you a ton of time in your workflow down the road.