In the modern era of information, search tools play an important role in providing users access to all the data they need. The digital space is full of countless content across several e-commerce digital databases, marketplaces, and software platforms. With search functionality, you can narrow your search to specific content. However, access to this data is only possible if the content is tagged with metadata.
Metadata is descriptive information about a specific content; for each data, there is a corresponding metadata field. These fields provide the structure and information needed to make your digital assets retrievable.
Below are tips on how to organize your metadata.
Determine Metadata Fields
One of the main challenges to organizing your metadata is choosing your metadata fields. However, once you have identified potential metadata fields, you can narrow down your list while giving careful thought to how they are named and spelled.
Once you have this locked down, choose 6-15 fields you can populate now and manage long-term. You should keep the DAM system flexible; this way, you can add fields later and edit metadata values. Common options for metadata fields include:
- Key Dates
- Product Model Numbers
- Asset Type
- Asset Metadata Type
- Geographic Use Restrictions
- Usage Rights and Restrictions
When combined, metadata fields form a metadata schema that is the organizational foundation of your DAM system.
Keep it Clean and Concise
The key to a sustainable metadata structure lies with the details and fields you choose. It’s advisable to avoid creating more fields than necessary. When determining a metadata field, you should gauge if the field will help execute your marketing programs, affect rights, or add value to the user.
This is the best time to review the terminologies used for metadata values and fields. The best way to go about this is by leveraging file naming conventions. File naming conventions are frameworks for naming digital files in an accurate, descriptive, and consistent manner.
These conventions also provide valuable information on file content and how it relates to others in the system so that you don’t have to open the file to understand the contents.
Use Controlled Fields
Specific metadata fields such as dropdowns, checkboxes, and pallets use controlled vocabulary lists for metadata values. This way, users can access a list of pre-set options to choose from when populating metadata.
Controlled fields minimize human error by reducing the need to key in values manually. It’s also a way of ensuring consistency across your organization’s digital assets.
Documentation helps you understand your data and make it easy for others to find. Using and properly citing your data helps add documentation to the content and datasets you create.
Documentation refers to all the data needed to interpret, understand and use a specific dataset. It’s advisable to begin documentation at the start of the project, adding relevant information in the course of the project. This may include the procedures used for documentation in data planning.
There are several ways you can add documentation to your data, for example:
- Embedded documentation- includes descriptive headers and summaries as well as code, field, and label descriptions.
- Supporting documentation- includes working papers, project reports, publications, catalogs. And questionnaires.
Documentation helps create a system-wide alignment and standardization for users to upload assets. It also helps with routine administration, making it easy to transfer your metadata strategy to a different DAM administrator.
DAM systems are designed to generate reports on user search activities, including the most recent search terms and searches with zero results. Understanding what your users are looking for can help you identify ways to optimize metadata.
This gives you the basis for adding and editing fields and values to help users access the information they need. The best way to achieve this is through leveraging data lineage techniques. These techniques allow you to track data from the origin, what happens to it, and its destination over time.
Data lineage gives you visibility into data flow while simplifying the ability to locate errors in data analytics. With these techniques, you can constantly adjust your system to meet the needs of your users.
Metadata plays a vital role in your search tool and should be given the necessary attention it deserves. You should also work on optimizing your metadata; this way, users can easily navigate your domain and access the information they need.