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Click to Download PDF File of 10 Core Lessons of Digital Asset Management

I wrote this from my learnings at the Henry Stewart DAM Foundation seminars that took place in
Los Angeles back in 2016. It outlines several key areas like how to position Digital Asset Management in any organization, what people to engage on implementing a solution, how to make decisions on the proper platform, price point considerations, how some companies have monetized their assets, how to define metadata taxonomy and trends in the DAM industry currently.

DAM Lessons for the Initiate

Other Things to Know to become a DAM Superstar!

Click to Download PDF File of DAM Lessons for the Initiate

I developed this short presentation with both the new DAM manager and the Executives looking to hire in mind. It outlines many of the other hats that a Content Librarian will need to navigate at some point to successfully implement a DAM system into a company of any size.

The Life of Content

My Presentation from the Henry Stewart DAM Conference

Click to Download PDF File of the Life of Content

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Life of Content Presentaton
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This is a presentation of how all content is created, planned, authored, distributed, managed, and consumed by us as human beings. It seems complex to begin with, but if you take each of the seven main sections and study them one by one, it becomes clear. Each step depends on the other, but they are just phases or steps that do not require that they happen in just this order.

  1. The Idea: Simply put, how ideas are formed and communicated. It is that eureka moment when the initial thought or concept is born.

  2. Content Creation: How the concept goes from the mind to the physical world so that others can see and internalize the idea.

  3. Planning & Strategy: If the idea is deemed worthy of further development, this stage is where the idea is vetted and managed to become a project that needs to be fulfilled to satisfy a business case, creative endeavor, or to solve a problem. Project Management is a major factor here.

  4. Authoring: Once the development of the concept has taken place, the planning and management over how to fulfill the idea are mostly done, authoring can now start to take place. Authoring is the main stage where content and assets are developed to explain and enlighten others on how the concept works, how the idea can be fulfilled, and the problem it solves.

  5. Asset Management: Authoring and Content management work hand in hand to make sure that the assets and information to explain and fulfill the idea are accounted for, available, and properly formatted so that authoring of the project can take place.

  6. Analytics & Tracking: In the business world, this can be accomplished I'm many ways depending on the channels of distribution. Web Analytics through a myriad of tracking software, Nielson ratings, word of mouth, and Ad promotions are all ways of doing this. The trick is that you have to figure out how you're going to track your target audience before you distribute the content.

  7. Distribution: How the Concepts & Content are delivered successfully to your target audience. This is a critical step to make sure that all your hard work is realized.

This all takes place over the project timeline and each stage has its own tools/platforms to complete the tasks in each stage. And of course, each stage has its own way of being governed to stay on task, to re-use information, and communicates with each of the seven other steps in the "Life of Content" to be truly successful.

A Brief on Metadata

What is Metadata vs. Tagging vs. Taxonomy

What is Metadata and Why is it Important (DAM 101)

It’s information created about information. It’s used to help organize and manage that content. A common example of metadata is the produce lookup codes on fruit and vegetables at the grocery store. You might know what broccoli looks like, but a cashier will need to enter the proper code when you’re checking out at the supermarket. When you have a lot of things to track, information can be hard to find. A common metadata approach makes your information easier to find for customers, employees, store managers, and all of the people who contribute to the company.


What is the difference between metadata and taxonomy?

Metadata describes your information. Taxonomy is what you use to organize your information. (i.e., “Let’s group all the clothing together.”) Metadata is raw information and taxonomy is the strategy to organize the information.


What is the difference between taxonomy and tags?

Taxonomy is the structure of your information. Tags in the asset management system are one of the tactics you can use to label pieces of content and make them findable. If you have a selection of products, you can use a tag to identify what’s the same color, or function.


Who should be responsible for managing your metadata and taxonomy?

That depends on the organization. Usually, there is someone responsible for information architecture who determines the categories and groups of the taxonomy, as well as what they are labeled. This is typically an information strategist or a specialist in user experience (a kind of digital librarian). There are also content authors, who apply the label of the taxonomy to each piece of their content. In a best-practices scenario, the person who knows the information is the one who adds that metadata to the piece of content in order to reduce the amount of time between tagging and moving the metadata information into the Asset Management system.

When is the best time to apply metadata? 

Some fields will be captured in the asset management system, such as the file type or file size. Others, such as a tag that helps market a product (think: “products for Canada” or “things that are blue”), are determined during the content planning process and will need to be maintained by content authors. In some systems, A.I. triggers can help tag some of these requirements but A.I. tags are very general.


The Three Main Types of Metadata: Descriptive, Structural & Administrative


Descriptive: This helps us standardize how we talk about content. 

  • Answers the question: What is it about?

  • Saves descriptive information in a consistent way

  • Captures standard data about each asset

  • Often used to help manage content and govern work (updating, reviewing, etc.) (“What did we post to the site last March?”)

  • Many of these tags can be handled through automated configurations

  • Think: Title, Author, Publisher, Date, File Size, Filetype, Colorspace, Creation Date...


Structural: Helps associate things with other like things. Also referred to as affinity.

  • Often useful for site tagging and searching 

  • Helps create filters and relevant content

  • Support searching and retrieval

  • Should be protected by managers and not open-ended

  • Can reinforce directory structures or create alternative directories

  • These requirements can be handled in the taxonomy configuration mostly through tags.

  • ​Think: Use, Division, Nameplate, Family, Type, Model, Color...

Administrative: This information helps manage a resource, such as how it was created, workflow, access rights, legal, and usage information.

  • Project Information

  • Production information

  • Expiration of the Content (Run lengths)

  • How are the images created and who is responsible

  • What are the restrictions on usage

  • ​Think: Expiration Date, Rights, Talent, Buying Comments, Features, Project Name...

Other DAM Resources

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Click to Download a PDF File on DAM best practices from Extensis

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Click to Download a PDF file on the Definitive Guide to DAM by Bynder


Well, after all this seriousness, I feel it would be a good chance to add a little comic relief. Many times, asset management just comes down to this. Sometimes, just working in a more common and intuitive way can go a long way in removing obstacles to everyday work stress.

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