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What you can do with metadata

Metadata is what empowers your DAM system -  without it, your asset collections would just be a bunch of files sitting in a large repository without giving you any clue as to how you could retrieve the correct assets when they were needed. This topic deals with some practical aspects of metadata that can help you plan the metadata implementation in your organization's DAM system.

Using metadata to visualize the content in your collections

A user who accesses a DAM system for the first time may only have a vague idea of what type of content he can expect to find. Your FotoWare DAM system can be set up to give users visual clues as to how they can use it: A taxonomy shown next to the thumbnail grid can expose file types, categories, keywords or any other type of information that you believe users will find helpful in navigating content.

For example, a car dealership may have tagged their pictures and videos with the model year, manufacturer, model name, color, engine size etc. All this information can be made visual to allow a user to tick off several values and have the archive's content update to reflect his choices.

Learn more: Taxonomies

Controlling access to assets using metadata

When users upload content to FotoWeb, the uploader's user name is stored in the uploaded files' metadata. This can be used to filter archive content. A user who opens an archive with uploaded assets may for example only be allowed to see and edit the files which he has uploaded. While other users' files may also be in the same physical location, the FotoWeb archive has a search associated with the archive's access list so users only see their own files.

See an example of how this can be implemented on the FotoWeb upload area.

This can be taken even further - By adding custom tags to assets in your DAM system these can be used to control who sees what. For example, if some of the assets in an archive should be made available on a public portal embedded on your company website, an archive manager can be given permission to tag files with a "public" tag in a metadata field, which in turn makes it available to unauthenticated guest users on the FotoWeb portal. The obvious upside to this is that you don't have to manage duplicate files in separate archives; it's all managed using access lists and tags in a single archive, and users only see what they're supposed to see.

How much descriptive metadata is needed?

There's no easy answer to this question. As mentioned, quite a bit of technical metadata is added to files at the time of ingestion/import into the DAM system.

It's the descriptive metadata that poses a challenge, since it will typically have to be meaningful tags and descriptions that are added by humans rather than automated by a computer system.

FotoWare complies with the XMP standard, which makes it possible to create a near endless number of fields that can be used to add descriptive information about each of your assets. However, such meticulous attention to detail may not be appreciated by users who add assets to the system: If a user who uploads 10 new files to the system has to fill in 20 descriptive fields for every uploaded file, there's a fair chance that user will give up the entire operation.

The solution may well be to allow users to fill in only a very few fields that roughly describe the assets being added. The uploaded assets can then be handed over to an archive manager who oversees the uploaded files, adds additional metadata in accordance with company policies and then publishes the assets when all is ready.

Standard information, such as legal disclaimers, copyright information etc can be applied automatically through a process triggered by a user, or it can be fully automated by for example a Color Factory workflow process.

The rule of thumb is not to make the ingestion process too complex for users - keeping it simple at this stage and letting someone proficient oversee the ingested assets will help ensure metadata consistency throughout your DAM system.

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