happy woman
PHOTO: Jessica Felicio

“Discard everything that does not spark joy” — Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo and her philosophy of removing clutter from one’s personal life and home is a phenomena to say the least. The premise is simple, but effective: our homes are full of clutter and the time has come to tidy, clean and remove the excess. Kondo is effective in her campaign against disorganization and her ability to find a “spark” of interest in this popular show reminds us we all have a lot of clutter in our lives that need organization.

But can this be transformative? And can it translate to the modern office? Absolutely! Any change to the norm that allows for greater access to content is a good thing. Librarians in digital asset management (DAM) have been doing this for years and “tidying up” is the best preventative measure for information overload and content disorganization.

DAM Prevents Clutter

DAM consists of the management tasks and technological functionality surrounding the ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution of rich media digital assets to facilitate and maximize their use and reuse in marketing and business operations. DAM also involves managing the volume of assets (past and present) and keeping a record of what's happened to the assets and how they were used, to help plan for their future use. 

A good DAM prevents the clutter. The unique and distinguishing aspect of DAM is it can serve as the single source of truth for an organization, preventing unauthorized distribution or confusion about versions.

Types of digital assets include, but are not limited to, the following: product images, photography, logos, illustrations, marketing collateral, animations, audio and video clips, presentations, office documents, CAD files, and a number of other digital file formats. Instead of sitting on shared drives or network locations where there's no search, no security and no metadata, a DAM becomes a valuable tool for an organization looking to manage its content and brand more effectively. It ensures that the right asset is being used by the right people at the right time for the right reasons. 

A stress free, clutter free DAM makes good sense — and yes, DAM does spark joy.

Conducting a systematic content assessment gives an organization insight into where it stands in managing its information effectively. All of this is done with a view to determining whether the organizational data and content environment supports organizational objectives and meets regulations. This assessment should explore:

  1. What is your content?
  2. Where is your content?
  3. What are you trying to do with your content?
  4. How will you access (identify, retrieve, distribute) your content?
  5. How are you able to use your content (rights management)?

Related Article: DAM: The Future of Content

Joy — It’s a Process

You, and no one more than you, know your assets and what they can do for you. Defining a strong digital strategy demands you collaborate with those who best know the systems and other resources needed to release your assets’ potential. Digital assets are varied and needed for many different reasons in your transformative strategy. As long as change exists in your business, your strategy will change. It is never really “finished.” It is important to prepare for this and a large part of that lies in ensuring your solution is flexible and well-governed. 

Successful collaboration starts by defining what your customers and business want to do with digital assets and then creating the plan to achieve it. After that, communicating how your assets are used to drive business will inspire others, from IT staff to all users present and future, who seek to innovate them for future use — it’s access in action.

Related Article: DAM Provides a World of Truth for Customers and Marketers

Joy — Metadata Is a Love Note to the Future

Metadata development is a strategic imperative in your efforts to effectively manage and exploit a company’s knowledge. The successful implementation of any content-related strategy — for data, digital assets or text — requires putting a holistic metadata schema in place that is supported by technology, people and process. Metadata increases the return on investment of a content system by unlocking the potential 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 for discovery. Metadata serves asset discovery by:

  • Allowing assets to be found by relevant criteria.
  • Bringing similar assets together.
  • Distinguishing dissimilar assets.

Yes, sorting belongings by category better clarifies your needs and that 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 that 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: Digital Asset Management Follows These Enduring Truths

Spark Your Joy

A wise friend and educator once proclaimed there is “a place for everything and everything in its place,” — in fact, this is one of the major tenets of library and information science and the practice of classification. Access is everything. Classification is meaningful. Action is needed now for the volume of digital assets on our desktops, storage drives, shared drives, collaborative spaces and content repositories throughout the corporate structures created to manage content. 

Think about the digital experience for users and ensuring they identify, discover and experience your brand as you intend. It is a necessary defense. Integrity of information means it can be trusted as authentic and current. If we define an asset as something that has value to the organization, then it is clear we should place controls on access. Having a librarian as part of this effort to assess your assets to determine what is appropriate and what is not is an effective method for managing content, removing the clutter and finding joy in your DAM.