If you’re not already familiar with metadata, a simple explanation of it is that it’s “data about data.” That’s pretty easy to grasp, right? The difficult part, however, often comes in understanding how to utilize the metadata to the fullest extent and get the most out of your assets. To know how to use metadata, and why we consider it the heart and soul of DAM, you’ll need to understand the following:
- What metadata is
- What different types of metadata exist
- Why metadata is the heart and soul of digital asset management
In this blog post, we’ll review the topics above, so you can have a clear picture of why metadata is crucial to digital asset management and how it can enhance your user experience and allow your DAM system to reach its full potential.
What is Metadata?
In short, metadata is the language of digital asset management. It’s a broad term used to categorize the various data points that can both describe and help identify digital assets.
The data points used to describe and identify digital assets may include information like:
- The date the file was created
- The filename
- Keywords pertaining to the file
- A description of the file itself (example: caption)
These terms may be embedded within the asset or file itself or input into a separate location like an artificially intelligent DAM platform, or even a spreadsheet.
What are the Different Categories & Segments of Metadata?
There are three main categories of metadata. In addition to the different types of metadata, there are different ways to segment it and group it that can often be used interchangeably.
- Structural Metadata: Structural metadata is data that describes how a digital file or asset is organized, such as page numbers, sections, chapters, and indexes, to name a few.
- Administrative Metadata: Administrative metadata refers to the technical source of the asset. it can include data like the file type, file size, date created, and license information.
- Descriptive Metadata: Descriptive metadata is any information that describes the digital file or asset. It may include information like the file or asset’s title, author, owner, category, or genre.
- Content Metadata: Content metadata categorizes the data describing what’s in the file with related keywords, tags, verticals, or industries.
- Instructional Metadata: Instructional metadata explains how to use an asset (internally, externally, or both).
- Historical Metadata: Historical metadata is where the asset originated from and what adaptations or tweaks have been made.
- Current Metadata: Current metadata is simply the asset’s metadata at the current time.
Metadata doesn’t necessarily always stay the same, either. In fact, during its lifetime, many digital assets are often repurposed, reused in different formats, and adapted or tweaked.
Why is Metadata important?
When it comes to digital asset management, metadata is important because it is the data or information that describes the images, files, and other assets in your DAM system and makes them searchable. Without this information, your DAM system would not be able to operate to its full capacity, plain and simple.
Metadata also provides a range of other benefits, including:
Supporting Digital Archiving
Many companies operate like this: files and assets live exclusively on network servers and local drives. Finding files can be frustrating, difficult, and inefficient, to say the least—especially without any metadata to refer to.
If you’ve moved to a DAM system, you’ve likely experienced this prior to getting your system up and running. And if you don’t use a digital asset management system, you’re probably experiencing this right now.
If you switch to a DAM and use metadata tagging, managing your files and assets will become easier, and you will vastly improve the usability and discoverability of your materials. If multiple people touch files and assets in your company, using metadata will streamline managing your assets. It is crucial that your users understand the importance of metadata and how it should be attributed in the DAM so that assets are searchable and easily retrievable.
Streamlining your SEO Efforts
In addition to supporting digital archiving, metadata also supports streamlining your SEO practices.
When you add the right information to your images, videos, and other assets, you can use that metadata to inform the optimization of your web content. Adding relevant metadata to the images and videos on your website is crucial for SEO success. Both Google and users navigating your site need to know what the assets are, and tagging your assets will make it easy for both parties to understand why they are relevant to the page or content.
If you use the same keywords and phrases for more than one image, it will hurt your SEO. Google wants to show users unique content that is relevant to their search, so be sure to use unique keywords and phrases for every digital file or asset.
Automating Workflows for Your Employees
Metadata also allows for automated workflows. With rules in place, you can set up workflows for your team and automate them, helping users to be more efficient and productive in their day-to-day responsibilities.
Without these data points, however, you won’t have any rules to base your workflows on.
Metadata & Your DAM: A Match Made in Heaven
It’s evident that without metadata, digital asset management would not be what it is today. If you’re looking for a DAM system that supports digital archiving, quick searches, streamlined SEO, and automated workflows, consider MerlinX.
To learn more about MerlinX, contact us today.