Know your assets from your files, and your taxonomy from your metadata

Digital asset management terminology hassplintered into many languages. As DAM providers push to carve their niche in an ever-growingmarket, you might question the difference between brand asset management, media assetmanagement, marketing asset management and much, much, more. The thing is, they’re all DAM, but if you’re new to the technology, you might find yourself getting lost in the language.

To decipher digital asset management and move forward with any solutions, an understanding of the commonly used, but often misunderstood, terms will have you chatting DAM in no time.

DAM dictionary

Metadata describes your assets with important information that can be utilized to find themagain. Metadata isn’t only searchable; it’s also there to provide context for assets. There are many metadata standards available (well over one hundred.) Four popular standards to become acquainted with include: DC (Dublin Core), EXIF(Exchangeable image file), IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council), and XMP (eXtensible metadata platform.) Metadata can live within a system, within a file, or both.

On-prem refers to an on-site DAM system that is vendor provided and hosted on company serverswhich store content behind a company firewall andis typically managed by an organization’s IT team.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a method ofdelivering applications using a subscription orservice model. The majority of SaaS products areprovided as web applications that users access viaa browser.

Digital Asset Management is a vendor-hostedcloud solution that provides access via a webbrowser and is not dependent upon being managedby an organization’s IT team.

Search is a foundational feature of digital assetmanagement. Allowing users to locate a selectionof assets within the wider repository usingchosen keywords, facets and filters, powerfulsearch features are one of the primary reasonscompanies decide to invest in DAM.

Systems integration is the process of exchangingdata and assets between two or more IT systemsso that the users can enjoy enhanced benefits.
In the context of digital asset management, itcan refer to integrations with other marketingtechnologies such as CRM (customer relationshipmanagement system) or CMS (contentmanagement system.)

A taxonomy is a scheme of classification used tocategorize and organize digital assets. It is the datastructure which the DAM system relies on to makeassets findable via searching and filtering.

Watermarking is used to help enforce copyrightcompliance and protect assets by applying a translucent logo or image over the top of asurrogate asset such as an image, video ordocument to prevent it being copied and reusedwithout authorization.

Collections are groups of digital assets that arecurated by individual users. Created by the userand not the system, collections can be made toreduce the time spent locating and sharing assetsbecause users can easily group assets togetherhow they like.

Data migration is the transfer of data from theexisting source to its replacement. The processis consultative and often involves mapping therecords from the old system into the new, thenwriting scripts or programs to automate it.

Derivative files are additional assets that arecreated from the original—such as previews,thumbnails, and watermarked editions. Theterm also relates to assets that will be used forproduction purposes, but a key aspect has beenaltered, such as sizing and so forth.

A digital asset is any form of a digital file that hascurrent or enduring value to an organization orindividual. Common digital assets include images,documents, logos, videos, and other digital formatsthat have respective metadata.

Digital rights management (DRM) refers to thetechnology and practices used to protect digitalintellectual property from being used in a waythat breaches the terms of its licence, typicallymeaning the prevention of the illegal copying ofassets.

Embedded metadata is information or dataregarding a digital asset stored inside thedigital file itself. The main purpose of embeddedmetadata is to further guarantee that metadatadoes not get separated from the digital file it isassociated with.

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