sand slipping through a hand
PHOTO: Renata Fraga

A recent article in the Atlantic, “There is Too Much Stuff” posits that, “when you type hangers into Amazon’s search box, the mega-retailer delivers over 200,000 options. On the first page of results, half are nearly identical velvet hangers, and the bulk of the rest are nearly identical plastic. Even if you have very specific hanger needs and preferences, there’s no obvious choice. There are just choices.” 

Sounds like a typical search in DAM, no?

There is no magic. There is no silver bullet. There is no easy way to do this. If you want to find what you are looking for, then you will need metadata. Search is nothing without metadata as its power. Value is not found — it's made — so make the metadata meaningful to you, your users and your organization by managing it well.

Businesses Need Metadata

Search is how we navigate data to procure content and hopefully extract the meaning and value we seek. The problem with enterprise search is corporate systems contain many different types of data, and not all of it is easy to search.

We have both structured data and unstructured data. Structured data is made up of discrete pieces of identifiable information, such as names, addresses, locations etc., that are found in database fields and are structured for use. Unstructured data is something quite different: it doesn't have the boundaries of a database or a system. Unstructured data may include images, videos, text files, social media posts and much more. That’s all good content, but it doesn’t have the structure that is needed for it to be easily found via traditional query methods. The struggle in managing content within the digital world is as complex as the digital workflows underpinning the efforts. We can build trust through effective metadata and earn trust through good governance — in fact, your DAM depends upon it.

Business systems are full of unstructured data. Users produce content without any metadata to search and categorize by, creating an unusable library of files. An intelligent and robust metadata model and data dictionary can solve this problem, providing a reference for your work and a place for users to search, a place where they can enquire about everything.

Related Article: Using AI for Metadata Creation

Metadata Saves Everything

Metadata development helps effectively manage and exploit a company’s knowledge. Successful content-related strategies — for data, digital assets or text — requires implementation of a holistic metadata schema that is supported by technology, people and process. Metadata is valuable. It allows us to ingest, discover, share, and distribute assets by applying systematic organization. Metadata is the best way to protect and defend digital assets from content clutter and mismanagement. Invest the time, energy, and resources to identify, define, and organize assets.

Metadata serves asset discovery by:

  • Allowing users to find assets by relevant criteria.
  • Bringing similar assets together.
  • Distinguishing dissimilar assets.

Yes, sorting belongings by category better clarifies your needs, which is why metadata is such an important part in DAM. Metadata brings value to the assets making them not just identifiable but accessible. You know assets are critical to business operations and you want them to be discovered at all points within a digital lifecycle from creation, to discovery and distribution.

Related Article: DAM Metadata Gives Me All the Feels

Content Demands to Be Discovered

Language is everywhere. Meaning is everything, and optimization is everlasting. To aid the process of content discovery, there needs to be an effective layer of content curation with metadata description where content may be managed for specific use and distribution. The practice of that descriptive curation is best applied with metadata. As content creators and consumers, we organize in order to find something; content demands to be identified and discovered in order to be consumed.

Metadata is never really finished, it’s continuous. It’s ongoing improvement and development that needs time and effort. Just as with good governance practices, it demands full attention to change and the sophistication of metadata through its evolution within an organization. Metadata matters and it is neither a trend, nor a buzzword. Metadata is the most real application of asset and data management that enables creation, discovery, and ultimately to distribution and consumption. Start now.

Related Article: Metadata Makes the DAM

Metadata Makes the DAM

DAM accelerates the conversation between business and consumer. Businesses creating and disseminating brand and marketing messages and products will engage with the consumer community, who will respond with shopping behavior, internet searches, assets and data such as reviews, comments, images, check-ins and other actions. Content should be viewed as a constant connection between people, process and technology. DAM is therefore right thing to do for your content and your brand.

Leveraging meaningful metadata provides your best chance for a return on investment on the assets created and becomes an essential line of defense against lost opportunities.

When it comes to assets in your DAM and metadata, more is less, and accuracy in search is everything.