So, you’re ready to enter the wild, crazy and exciting domain of digital asset management. You’ve probably been to a few conferences, seen a few presentations, and maybe even talked to others about how they manage their files. Through all of your research, it’s more than likely that people have thrown around one or more terms that have made you scratch your head. Fear not, we’ve created this list of some commonly used digital asset management terms to help keep things straight.
A programming interface that allows for the sharing of data or specific features between your DAM and other core business systems. Typically refereed to as API.
A catalog is the database that stores information about your assets. Catalogs are the highest level of organization in a DAM and hold file information, metadata, thumbnails, and certain settings. Catalogs do not contain the original asset, but merely a pointer to where the original asset resides, be that on the server, a CD, DVD, or elsewhere. Catalogs can contain all types of metadata that is extracted from files, as well as any custom information that you may need to track.
Cataloging, also called ingesting, refers to the process of telling your digital asset manager where to find your original files, and allowing the asset manager to extract pertinent metadata from those files. During the cataloging process, your original files may be automatically moved, renamed, have metadata extracted, as well as have custom metadata applied.
A brief and simple document that explains how users can accomplish a common task within a digital asset management system. For example, cheat sheets are often used to explain how to add files to a DAM. Usually a supplement or a replacement of formal training, cheat sheets can be created quickly using bulleted lists within a word processing program along with screenshots of key steps in the DAM user interface (screenshot keyboard shortcuts are helpful). Users can then view the cheat sheet electronically or print it out.
Custom File Info Panel
Custom file info panels allow you to create your own metadata “form” within Adobe applications (for example, a new tab in the “File Info” window in Photoshop). Custom file info panels can be used to capture and display both standard and custom XMP metadata, allowing users of Adobe applications to quickly and conveniently access workflow-specific metadata from within the Creative Suite. Custom file info panels can also ensure accurate metadata entry by presenting users with predefined lists, labels, and other guidance for entering metadata. More information is available on Adobe’s site.
DAM is an acronym for Digital Asset Management. Digital Asset Management (DAM) – the process of cataloging, finding, delivering and preserving digital assets; including images, documents, video, audio and any other digital file. Digital Asset Management systems provide users with a central location to search, locate, access and share files in an easy and efficient way.
Is transferring a database (assets, metadata, folder structure, etc) from one system to another. Usually happens when one system is replacing another.
This is a file format created by Adobe that is publicly available and allows photographers to hold image data and access files in the future. Unlike proprietary camera raw formats that cannot be read by a variety of software applications, DNG provides a public archival format for raw files to share files across workflows.
Converting a physical file, such and a paper document, slide or printed photograph, into a digital file.
A standard for vocabulary fields used to describe an asset in an effort to expand cataloging information and find assets more easily. The fifteen metadata fields, called “elements” are: title, creator, subject, description, publisher, contributor, date, type, format, identifier, source, language, relation, coverage and rights.
The process of storing descriptive information about your file directly within the digital asset itself. Embedding metadata is important in digital asset management because it maintains the asset’s information as it moves through the workflow and across different software applications.
The term enterprise content management refers to the strategies, methods and tools to capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. It was created by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) and is usually an enterprise-wide effort of large magnitude and includes all types of digital assets, including organizational and operational files. Because the scope of an enterprise content management solution is too broad, organizations find themselves in need of a more focused digital asset management solution to assist in the needs of creative and marketing groups and their rich media assets (images, video, audio, layout documents, PDF, etc).
Is a specification for the image file format used by digital cameras, and was created by the Japan Electronic Industries Development Association. The EXIF data is embedded within the image file itself, usually jpeg or tiff, and is used by many camera manufacturers. Adobe created a better, more flexible metadata format for photography and image processing, called XMP (extensible metadata platform), but EXIF is still a very popular and supported metadata specification.
The ability of a digital asset management system to read and collect information about your assets, and usually occurs upon ingesting and cataloging files. This is important, as it allows users to enter metadata in other software applications that can later be used in the DAM system to help users organize and finds assets more efficiently.
A vocabulary that uses a collaborative method to categorize your metadata, where freely chosen keywords are used instead of a controlled vocabulary (such as with taxonomy). It could lead to inconsistencies in the classification of information (kitty versus cat, for example).
Galleries are containers you can create for organizing and displaying items within catalogs. Items added to galleries are not copied, moved, or changed in anyway. For example, an item (asset) can be added to more then one gallery but will still point back to the same record, metadata, thumbnail, and original file. You can think of Galleries as “virtual collections” or like playlists in iTunes.
Ingesting is also referred to as cataloging. The process of adding or uploading assets to your digital asset management system, and adding, embedding and extracting metadata to/from your assets. Once the assets are in your DAM system, users can search, find, share and work with your digital files.
A group of news agencies and vendors that develops and maintains technical standards that affect the industry. The IPTC defined a set of metadata attributes that can be applied to images and is embedded with the file, and is called “IPTC header”. This information travels with the digital file and is read by many software applications, but has its limitations. Adobe’s XMP format is quickly becoming the most commonly used standard for images for transferring metadata.
Refers to the speed of communication from a computer or device when reading/writing data via network or to/from a disk drive.
The action of assigning information to your assets to describe them better and help others find them later. Keywords become part of your digital assets’ metadata. Organizations usually use a combination of taxonomy and folksonomy for describing their assets.
How responsive the DAM interface will be to commands like searching and paging through results.
Metadata is descriptive information about your files (data about your data). Digital asset management systems rely heavily on metadata, as it’s critical for searching, retrieving and managing your rich media assets.
A computer appliance built for storing and serving files. This device ‘lives’ on the network and is not attached directly to a server. Typically used by smaller work groups.
The IT department is responsible for setting up and maintaining the digital asset management solution hardware inside of their server room or data center.
A file format used by professional photographers that contains image metadata and that is yet to be processed into other formats such as jpeg or tiff. It’s sometimes called digital negative. Because each digital camera manufacturer has its own raw file format, support for these raw files varies among digital asset management vendors. A more standard alternative would be to use Adobe’s DNG’s file format to hold image metadata.
Enhanced digital assets such as images, graphics, illustrations, audio and video that offer a more interactive experience for users, especially when compared to simple text documents.
When talking about databases, your schema is the framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information. It is your structure, your list of fields (such as date, author, name, subject, etc) that you would like your catalogs to contain.
Is a dedicated network that provides access to consolidated storage. SANs are primarily used to make storage devices, such as disk arrays appear like locally attached devices to an operating system (Server). Typically used by enterprise level organizations.
Tagging is the activity of adding metadata to digital assets to annotate and categorize content.
The technique for creating classifications, using a very controlled vocabulary. Unlike folksonomy, it is hierarchical in nature, and represents information about your assets or metadata. An organization may use taxonomy to better manage the metadata that users will assign to the digital assets.
Uploading in digital asset management usually refers to the act of ingesting or cataloging assets into the DAM system.
Adding a logo, copyright information or other message to a digital asset, usually to prevent unauthorized usage.
A standard created by Adobe for processing and storing metadata about all types of digital assets such as images, documents, layout documents, etc. Metadata is embedded into the files and allows files to be shared and transferred without any of the information getting lost. Because of its extensibility, allowing users to add their own metadata fields, it’s quickly gaining popularity and replacing IPTC.
Adobe provides the XMP Toolkit free of charge to vendors to help them implement metadata handling, and includes specification and documents on how to use XMP, as well as code to implement it.