When you give a damn about DAM (Digital Asset Management - for the uninitiated), the humble 'search' function isn't usually the flashpoint that ignites your burning passion for managing and organizing your assets.

Imagine for a moment that Charlotte Bronte or Jane Austen wrote a romance novel about the explosive chemistry between an asset database and a marketing team. It wouldn't take longer than the first chapter for the latter's insatiable thirst for organization, management, and distribution to be quenched by a DAM in shining armor. But if we lifted the visor of this metal-clad hunk, what should we find?

Gleaming locks of blonde hair?

Piercing blue eyes?

A Brad Pitt lookalike?

Well, would it surprise you if I said it should be a well-choreographed library of assets that were labeled correctly and tagged?

This romantic trait may seem surprising, but it quickly creates an erotic experience when you search for something in your DAM. Kiss goodbye to scrolling through endless lists of random assets from last year's Winter product launch or mindlessly flicking through 20 of the same picture to find the one you want. Instead, embrace what should become the 'new normal' for asset libraries everywhere: a search function that works, saves time, and makes your life MUCH easier.

To break it down (and escape from this Romantic fanfic I've suddenly found myself knee-deep in), here are our four favorite ways to get the most out of your DAM search tool.

Terrific taxonomy

Nothing to do with taxes — everything to do with organization.

Taxonomy is the backbone of your DAM library and is ultimately where the success or failure of DAM uptake within your team will be decided. If your library isn't well laid out and organized, it's simply not going to be used. Even worse, it may be used in totally different ways by every single colleague — creating a mosaic of assets that would be more at home in a modern art gallery than the DAM of a successful business.

The taxonomy of your DAM is something that your colleagues are already familiar with and that represents how your brand works as an organization. It may sound pretty basic, but labeling a folder after a department, team, or project makes navigation a much faster and pleasurable experience. Plus, the beauty of sub-folders means that you can further deepen the structural layout of your library, allowing your DAM to grow with your team and workload — without altering the structure.

Breaker 2 Breaker 2 Breaker 2 Breaker 2 Top 4 ways to improve the search in your DAM

Controlled Vocabulary

Curiosity killed the cat (apparently). If there is one thing I'd of recommended the cat not to do, it would be to get curious about using a plethora of vocabulary in their DAM library. And while fast and loose use of big words and marketing jargon wouldn't lead to untimely death (albeit potentially from the boredom of trying to find anything), sticking to a basic range of vocabulary for filter and asset names is crucial.

Keywords that everyone across your team and brand can understand (whether it's project names, stakeholder names, campaign-specific words, etc.) considerably include quality of life within the DAM environment. When collaborating brand-wide or with external agencies, establishing an agreed vocabulary for labeling and tagging keeps everyone singing from the same hymn sheet (or, in short — happy).

Asset Names

We hate to keep banging on about names, but when it comes to searching, they're the focal point of a DAM (but you know this by now.)

There's no point reinventing the wheel because we don't need to. We don't need wheels at all because we're a DAM platform, but anyway, let's move on quickly.

What we're trying to get across is that the actual names of your actual assets matter way more than you may think. Think about it would you name a photograph 'A never-ending day in Hell on earth with no chance of escape' or 'A Saturday with the in-laws'? While you may feel emotively inclined to go with the former, it's not helpful for stakeholders trying to find an asset (no matter how true it may be).

Metadata process

Metadata. Without it, well, not a lot would happen when you search for something on your DAM or even the internet in general.

Metadata is essentially information about, well, information. When assets are uploaded into your DAM, EXIF and IPTC/XMP data fields such as copyright, creator information, and usage terms will all be present. Don't be overwhelmed by the super high-tech sounding abbreviations; they're just tech-talk (trust me, tech people love their abbreviations).

To harness the full potential of metadata in your DAM and truly optimize your in-DAM search function, get your team on board with a standard metadata process. A complete set of metadata makes searching for assets faster and your team happier.

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