Digital Asset Management Industry has some very precise language to explain what we do. Not to mention an expanding amount of acronyms (MAM, DAM, PIM, VDP, ECM, WCM). It also has specialists with a deep knowledge of very specific information. If you have a background in library science, or have used the words “Taxonomy” or “Ontology” in a sentence, this is not for you. Stop reading now.
If you are like some of our customers that are just trying to figure out how to get organized – this is to get you started in the right direction. I recommend you start by playing this helpful game (very popular in my house) – Bert from Sesame Street sorting his bottle caps.
How do you want to sort? What is important about those caps that he wants to capture? Is it the Color? Category? The brand? The picture? The flavor? Which ones should go together? Which ones should overlap categories?
“A problem well defined is a problem half-solved.” – John Dewey.
You can’t organize your data without first defining what you have, what you need, and anticipating what you WILL need in the future. What is important about your assets, where is their value? If you can’t find them, it’s just like not having them.
A good place to start is to get a big whiteboard and start listing out your content. Then start thinking about what you need the assets for, and what is the finished product with this content?
Mind maps are going to be more helpful than just a linear list. Remember – you’re not looking for a list of everything you have, you’re looking for a list of catagories and relationships.
Where does it come from (internal, user generated, branded, rights management issues)
What do you use it for (print, web, presentations, reference, research, production)
How you would try to find it (naming conventions, descriptions, searchable content)
What do you need to know about it to for search and retrieval (how would your consumer describe it to ask for it)
A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place
Good content metadata prevents you from saying things like, “I’m looking for that thing. You know….that I was using the other day. The one with that picture on it of that guy. From that movie……the funny one.”
Take this picture. What is important about it? That depends on how you might want to use it. Think about all the reasons someone might want to find this photo. Those are the tags (metadata) you want to attach. If you were the breeder, you probably don’t need a tag that says “DOG” because that’s not going to narrow down the content. However, if you are a news organization that wants a photo of a dog navigating post hurricane flooding, the tag on this photo will need to be very different for you to find it. You want to think about the CONTENT and the CONTEXT of the asset in determining how to label and how to design your organization of those labels. Two organizations could have the same content and different ways to organize that information. This is why there are entire companies devoted to this topic alone. A simple question to ask, and a well thought out solution gives the most value to any system you implement.