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    The power of metadata: An introduction for DAM users

    Effective search is the foundation of a successful digital asset management (DAM) system. However, search relies on the power of metadata.

    Metadata unlocks your digital content’s true potential, enabling efficient search, improved findability and trusted content governance. This article explores the essential role of metadata in driving successful DAM practices. 

    The role of metadata in digital asset management

    DAM is more than a technology; it is a people- and process-driven experience. When managed well, DAM removes the content silos in your organization to provide a more meaningful sales, communications and marketing operation process and hence, a better customer experience. DAM functionality, from layouts to workflows to metadata, rights management, taxonomy and search, underpins the structure for integrated media management that will drive your success.

    Metadata is crucial because it provides vital information about the origin, destination, and usage of content. It brings structure and significance to the data in business and personal contexts. For clarity, users can select from a predefined set of terms to assign metadata when uploading content to systems like DAM, MAM or CMS. This ensures consistency in labeling, preventing ambiguity in search results. Taxonomy is vital in recognizing the organization’s vocabulary and enhancing the search process.

    A well-designed controlled vocabulary will help avoid “no results” pages by linking synonyms, misspellings and even acronyms to the terms in the digital assets. These “no results” pages are rife in out-of-the-box search engines and rarely offer a useful “next step” suggestion to users who see this frustrating message. And, if you thought finding an image was challenging, finding a video is also challenging because it is moving. And, if you want to find a specific “clip” or “still” from the video at a specific time, then there better be functionality in your DAM to do this. 

    With hierarchical folders, the user is forced to navigate through the structure established and can only search in one way primarily. The user must follow the folder paths to find their results, as keywords can be unreliable. The power of good metadata allows for more opportunities for greater search success. Because users search for content in many ways, accurate, high-quality metadata in a flat structure ensures that content can be found.

    With their great metadata, the user can find this image no matter how they search for it. Remember that free text fields like “keywords” and “description” provide flexibility in tagging but can fall victim to typos and inconsistencies and require more end-user training to get solid metadata. Hence, get your metadata in order. 

    Dig deeper: The 5 best practices of digital asset management

    The Google effect 

    I can’t tell you how often I have heard the question, “Why can’t it just be like Google?” Because it can’t.

    When people search on Google, they can expect a large set of results for their query, of which the top few results will satisfy their needs. This is because a search engine that indexes the entire web’s content has different vocabulary, algorithms and ways of judging “good content” than a search application that indexes only a few hundred thousand of your company’s assets. Your DAM works differently, and that’s a good thing.

    Search, like metadata, is a human endeavor. While search experiences may be powered by metadata, people make it work. They determine what they are looking for and how to find it. Engage users regularly to optimize your DAM search process. Failure to communicate with users and provide ongoing training hinders search accuracy and adoption. 

    AI-powered image search can improve the discovery and findability of the specific images or videos you may need. Metadata-based searches will be enhanced by AI-powered image recognition capabilities that can appraise and determine the probability of images featuring similar content, allowing your users to discover content in new ways. 

    Dig deeper: How to build your DAM foundation

    The metadata effect

    Metadata is the best way to protect and defend digital assets from content mismanagement. Invest resources to identify, define and organize assets for discovery. Consider how you use metadata to help organize folders on your computer, giving you a place to store files for future use. You also organize your music into playlists based on your emotions, making it easier to find them later.

    Metadata aids in uncovering essential facts, while governance ensures trustworthy content management, encompassing creation, usage and distribution within organizations. Content does not emerge fully formed into the world. It is the product of people working with technology in executing a process — the transparency needed for content to be authoritative, authentic and willingly responsible. 

    Ultimately, trust in technology and the data flowing through its pipes will lead to greater participation, increasing information’s value and utility. Understanding users’ needs and showing transparency in the technology, the people and the process will improve the experience and start the path to building trust. 

    Here are some things you can do to increase search efficiency and accuracy: 

    • Create file names with targeted keywords. Make sure to provide a good file name indicating at least a key element of the content, which might even be the category or subject of what it represents. 
    • Create titles with targeted keywords. Try to identify what the video is about and put that in the title entry. 
    • Add text description. This is a great opportunity to briefly describe the video with the key elements of what took place and what is important to your users. 
    • Custom thumbnail images. This is a tricky one but very important. The DAM may automatically create a thumbnail for you, but it may not be a good representation of what the video is about. If this is the case, you may have to manually create a thumbnail that best represents the content — a little extra effort will go a long way. 
    • Closed caption options. If this is available to you, then take full advantage of this functionality, which provides greater accessibility for your videos. You may well be able to search text from the video — whether it be lyrics to a song or statements in a speech — this is great functionality. 

    Dig deeper: 4 steps to faster DAM search: Creating a file naming convention

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    The post The power of metadata: An introduction for DAM users appeared first on MarTech.

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