Are you Losing Digital Objects Within Your Folder Structure?
Typically most people have about a thirty day memory of where they put stuff including their digital objects which might be stored in some type of folder structure within their laptop or file server. Depending on the volume of your projects, you might be able to quickly locate items from some folder naming convention, but that can take time and there always runs that risk that objects might be lost or misplaced from being dropped in the wrong location. Ultimately this approach will start to break down as the volume of digital objects increases and that 30 days’ worth of knowledge becomes dimmer as time marches on.
Searching Instead of Trying to Find
Digital asset management (DAM) provides a vastly more efficient alternative to a folder-based approach. The DAM approach is simple, by making digital objects searchable through digital descriptions; users can retrieve items through “Search” from the associated fields in the database. The main benefit is not having to recall where you placed an object but remembering any description of that object so it can be instantly retrieved
How Does Search Work?
Often as we think of “search” the thing that comes to mind is the term “googling-it”. We go off to the internet in search of something of interest, add keywords, and then the Google search engine brings back web pages, images, or videos based on the relevance of those search words.
This seems simple enough but what makes the search engine know how to find these digital objects/web pages?
The answer is Metadata.
What is Metadata?
Metadata is the “Data about Data”, or descriptive terms associated with a digital object like author, title, subject, date created, and file type. In turn the more metadata associated with the digital object the more Searchable the digital object becomes when trying to retrieve it through searching a database.
How Does This Pertain to a DAM Software Solution?
A web search engine and a DAM search engine run on similar principals using algorithms to identify objects in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user’s search request. A Web search works because someone has already applied the metadata to the digital objects for us to find. A DAM works in a similar way, but it is up to the administrators or users to apply a metadata structure to make their internal collection searchable.
Are there Different Types of Metadata?
Metadata can be broken down into the three main categories of descriptive, structural, and administrative.
- Descriptive Metadata are data terms associated with a digital object that allows the identification, location, and retrieval of that object through descriptors such as creator, file name, and the subject and keywords, an example is the IPTC standard for images.
- Structural Metadata provides information of how the components of a digital object is organized, for example is it associated with a collection or collections.
- Administrative Metadata provides information of the technical source of the digital object with information of the file type, how and when the digital object was created. In addition administrative metadata can also cover information about the intellectual property or rights management of a digital object that gives a description of who owns the object, where and how an object can be used.
What am I Looking for with Digital Asset Metadata in Making Objects Searchable?
There are quite a few methodologies and digital asset management field features that can streamline the processes of working with metadata. Below are some key components to consider as you evaluate digital asset management metadata strategies.
- Keywords–descriptive terms that can be applied in a free-form or enforced list.
- Taxonomy –a very structured form of keywords that are hierarchical.
- Field Level Text –typically short descriptors organized in categories relevant to the collection.
- Picklist – suggested or enforced descriptive terms from which to choose.
- Rights fields –metadata pertaining to owner and the usage rules of the objects in the DAM which may also include expiry dates.
Please look for next the installment as we go over using search within a DAM.
How does search work in a DAM Software Solution? (Part 2 – Power of search within a DAM)