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Traveling Asset Management's Bumpy Road

(August 2005) posted on Fri Aug 05, 2005

Developments in Tiger and Longhorn and other tools for managing assets.


By Stephen Beals

The current shift in approaches to the development of digitalasset
management (DAM) software is more a change of form
than function. The basics have not changed much: DAM is still a
matter of being able to find"?and then deliver"?the files you
want when you want them.

But in the past, at least for digital service providers, that
process had been tied almost exclusively to finding images. Today,
the approach to DAM is much more sophisticated and focused on
finding solutions that work across the entire enterprise.

It's all in the metadata

It's important you know a
bit about metadata before
we proceed. Metadata is
data about data. It is data
that's embedded in the files
to transport information
about that file wherever it
might be needed. In using
your digital camera, for
instance, you may be surprised
at how much information
accompanies the image you shoot. The shutter camera
name, date, shutter speed, aperture, and other settings are all to
be found within the file data. Not only is there the data that represents
the asset itself, but there is also data about the asset.

The data about the image is all "metadata," which is really
only text. Although it adds very little weight to the file size, it
can add great value when you need to find an asset. Programs
such as Adobe Photoshop can read metadata, but you can
also add to it. Metadata can take the form of keywords, the
creator's name, the project, or other information about the
file. Metadata for an image of a hot red pepper, for example,
might contain the words "fire," "hot," "red," "pepper," "spicy,"
"Mexican," "food," and so on. Determining what words need to
be entered into metadata fields is half the battle when it
comes to retrieving the right asset.

To provide software with the intelligence it needs to manage
your assets, metadata can be added either automatically (the
way your digital camera does it) or manually. For these new DAM
systems to truly work, however, entering this data needs to be a
painless process.


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