DAM users should be responsible for creating metadata during the key moments they interact with a digital asset.
If you are planning to launch a DAM or ECM system, you are probably thinking about how your metadata will be created and applied. A good place to start is by examining your company’s digital content lifecycle. The DCC published a reference model that contains the main stages of a successful curation and preservation strategy.
We can expand a few of these parts to align with a creative process. For example,
There is an opportunity to add metadata during each of these phases. I call this additive metadata: those values which are appended, validated, and otherwise improved at each stage of an asset’s lifecycle. A subset of fields from a company’s metadata schema are recorded during key stages, reflecting the needs, abilities, and expertise of those initiating them. This ensures digital assets are usable at every step of the process and allows businesses to apportion the cost and time associated with metadata creation.
To determine what staff should be accountable for metadata creation, find out who:
- commissions assets
- creates assets
- contributes assets
- ingests or catalogs assets
- transforms assets
- approves assets
- validates assets and records
- consumes assets
- reports publishing feedback
- archives assets
- reuses assets
Your answers should correspond to the roles you setup in your DAM system:
Note: “A daemon is a background process that handles requests for services such as print spooling and file transfers, and is dormant when not required” (Stevenson & Lindberg, 2010).
Metadata changes over time
Because an asset’s life is cyclical, its metadata should evolve alongside it. For example, if an archived digital asset is reused, its approvals, ownership, distribution, and context might change. Modifications should be added rather than overwritten to ensure an asset’s provenance, integrity, and authenticity. This data is necessary should you want to generate accurate usage reports.
Think of additive metadata as the spices you add to a dish. Too many and you spoil its flavor. Too few and you risk losing its richness. Strike the right balance – by examining the ingredients of a successful DAM strategy such as content lifecycle, people, processes, roles, and technology – to achieve the ambrosial quality you seek.
How do you employ additive metadata? How does your DAM system capture changes to metadata over time?
Stevenson, A., & Lindberg, C. A. (Eds.). (2010). New Oxford American dictionary (3rd ed). Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.
Wootton, C. (2007). Developing quality metadata: building innovative tools and workflow solutions. Amsterdam ; Boston: Focal Press.
Some might find the IPTC CEPIC Image Metadata Handbook useful, especially the “Interactive Table” PDF which can be customized to show which parties are responsible for adding specific metadata values (primarily IPTC Core and IPTC Extension fields) http://www.iptc.org/photometadata/imagemetadatahandbook