Using Timelines As Tools To Help Develop Metadata Schemas For Better Cataloguing
In this CMSWire article, David Diamond discusses some methods using timelines as a means to help catalogue assets. I found this quite a good item because it offers some practical advice on how to catalogue, which is the challenge that presents itself shortly after you have realised you need to do it.
David uses three core classifications:
- Historical Metadata
- Current Metadata
- Future Metadata
“Think of your metadata values as each falling somewhere on a timeline, with Historical values on the left, Current values in the middle and Future values on the right. This visual exercise enables you to spot any holes in your metadata schema, and it also illustrates where your timeline might be overstuffed with values that are redundant or beyond your needs. (Rule of thumb: If you can’t imagine ever searching for or reporting on a given metadata value, chances are you don’t need it.)” [Read More]
This is a useful framework as it gives the cataloguer some points of reference to think about when recording details about assets that will help people find them later. It also draws out any business rules that you can apply to a DAM system so it helps the cataloguing process to be more accurate and efficient, rather putting up unnecessary obstacles or asking for pointless details that won’t be used.
Anyone who has implemented DAM will be well aware that even if you sit all the stakeholders down and ask them what they want to store about each asset, people will either not properly understand what they are being asked to consider and/or change their minds when they see what is being catalogued (often just a matter of days after agreeing to it). The best the software can do here is to make it easier for people to change their mind, this is really about people and their perceptions of and interactions with your assets, not technology.
The timeline metaphor probably isn’t the only one to consider and it may well require some refinement for each use case – but it’s a good starting point and it might be useful to re-evaluate your existing metadata classification schema by running it through this conceptual model.
Along similar lines is the article we featured a few weeks ago by Jonathan Studiman about enhancing your DAM system using information standards principles. I think the point with a lot of these guidance pieces is not to consider them as ‘silver bullets’ to solving all your cataloguing requirements but as a set of pointers to help you think about what is being recorded in your DAM system so you can get the balance between effort and findability right.Share this Article:
Thanks for the write up, Ralph. I really like what you said about this helping people better understand why they’re tracking a particular value. I’ve seen so many DAMs that are top-heavy with adjectives, but short on rules, guidance, goals or other such values that could help an organization better leverage its content.
No problem there David, you’ve written a great article. I’d have to agree with you also about the number of DAMs that ask too much. I’ve heard people rationalise this on the basis that you can always take stuff out, but if no one wants to fill in the metadata because it’s an onerous undertaking for every single asset, that’s no good either.
This is quite a difficult subject – more so than most people realise when they first look at it. Incremental testing and seeing what works can help, but you need to have a metadata strategy in mind first (like the one you’ve described).