Filenames: Keys To Unlock The Findability Of Your Digital Assets
My co-contributor, Spencer Harris, has written the first DAM News feature article of 2018: The DAM Difference: Filename vs Metadata. In this item, Spencer discusses the value of filenames for digital assets:
“Think of your asset as a coin: it has monetary value, and when its use is maximized, you can make it go a long way. That coin has two sides to it – a head and a tail. They co-exist and are related to each other. You cannot have one without other. The two sides to every asset are the filename and its metadata, and are what create the value for your asset. Without them, you will not be able to find or use your asset, and therefore it’s no longer an asset, but rather a bunch of ones and zeros taking up space on your server or hard drive.” [Read More]
Some people are eager to point out that the file is diminishing in significance for Content Digital Asset Management (especially now we are in the cloud era where local storage is less prevalent). I have some sympathy with perspective and the word ‘file’ itself is a bit of a throwback to a pre-digital era where many information science concepts were first invented. Whether you want to call them ‘files’ , ‘objects’, ‘assets’ or any other container-entity term, however, the key (aka ‘filename’) isn’t ever likely to go away. At some point, you are going to need to isolate a specific digital asset and the filename (even if not called by that name specifically) is probably how you will do it.
A couple of years ago I discussed the role of unique identifiers in DAM and how they were important for interoperability between systems (of any kind, not just DAM ones). Filenames have the same role but for human beings (who frequently find themselves doing the actual ‘interopability’ manual leg-work for IT systems). They are the keys to being able to identify an asset without having knowledge of the content. While relying on them exclusively for findability would be a poor way to manage your digital assets, basic common sense should tell you that entirely depending on an IT system for asset identification is risky and you still need some way to tell what an object is, at a glance. This is why the filename as an idea is unlikely to ever entirely disappear and the reason Spencer’s advice remains both relevant and invaluable.Share this Article: