Monday, April 6, 2009

DAM, I mean Digital Asset Management-1 of many

In this economy those of us who still have a job are trying to work a bit smarter not necessarily harder. With that being said I have had the opportunity to attend a few DAM webinars hosted by extensis, which have been very good. This is a subject that is hard to find info about, mostly you just see ratings for various software programs but these webinar sessions have really encompassed the whole thing. If you don't have the need for a hardcore DAM program there are some easy ways to set up your own system using metadata. Here are somethings to consider when starting your own digital asset management system.

-Define your work flow and find out what your weakness-for instance we often take old files and update them but do we know if the image in it is the final or updated image?
-What is it that you want to accomplish?-for us it was making sure that everyone is using the most current image or logo
-Since metadata is the drive for digital asset management you need to figure out the framework or structure so a list of fields that you think are crucial, the one you that would like to have and the ones that you don't necessarily need but may come in handy.
-The next step is figuring out if you want the data to be controlled vocabulary, rigid, consistent and may be hard to add but easier to search or if you want a loser structure where it is more collaborative classification, flexible, inconsistent and easier to add but difficult to search. You may want to do something in between.

After you figure this out, start small and note that the metadata should be applied as soon as possible. I apply my metadata through my adobe CS3 products which is great because you can run your searches through bridge. Some of the fields that I find most useful are
-keywords-for obvious reasons.
-copyright-usually images that we get from our photography vendors already have this field populated which is very helpful in future uses.
-copyright info url-this is a great field that is also auto-populated by stock houses so you know where they came from, they also usually add a description which isn't all that useful I don't think
-camera data-very interesting for photographers, your camera will usually populate this meta data section which is helpful when trying to find out what camera you used for that particular shot, there is a bunch more info in there that will pull from your camera and other fields you may find come in handy.
These are just a few hi-lights but you can make your own metadata fields that may cater to your specific needs. Next DAM article will touch base on how this can be beneficial to your clients.

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