The Importance Of Governance For Digital Asset Management

Posted: December 10 2020 by

Central to digital asset management, or DAM, is the tagging of assets so that they can be readily retrieved — something of critical importance for extensive libraries of text, images and video.

But random tagging by a multiplicity of users doesn’t get the job done: tagging needs to be done consistently, and according to a taxonomy, a hierarchical classification scheme. If you’re a library user, think of the Dewey Decimal System; but unlike public libraries, there’s no one-size-fits-all taxonomy which will serve the needs of retailers, healthcare, finance, scientific organizations, or sport associations.

What is digital asset management?

In a recent episode of MarTech Live, Paul Murphy, digital image expert at UEFA (the Union of European Football Associations) explained how he brought order to a vast collection of soccer images from different sources. “For the Euro 2016 tournament, we had a variety of photographers shooting editorial, commercial and operational content,” he explained. So, different suppliers, different sources of content, different styles of photography — but the end users were going to have access to a mix of this, depending on their asset rights.”

Murphy’s team mapped keywords being used by the photographers onto tags in UEFA’s controlled vocabulary to make the tags filterable for the end users. The controlled vocabulary was also circulated tio the photographers for reference. “We had a photo editing team working with all content throughout that tournament to make sure everything was coming through our business rules correctly, and following tagging rules, and then we could just do a quality control on top of that.”

It was actually a bigger challenge, said Murphy, to apply governance to matches held throughout the regular season, where an individual photographer might be creating editorial images, as well as working for a sponsor to take photos with stadium ads in the background. “We can find we’re over-stretching the supplier, and we then get several hundred images in.”

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Those images need to be correctly tagged, but the photographer may not known that, in UEFA’s controlled vocabulary, a certain camera in a certain position goes by a specific name. It’s then up to Murphy’s team to improve the quality of the tagging. “For a major tournament we’re almost seamless,” he said. “We’re trying to improve on the other aspects.”

Mark Davey is a leading DAM consultant, founder of IQ Equity, responded to Murphy’s comments: “The key word around getting this right is ‘governance,'” he said, “around the taxonomy, the vocabularies, and the meta-data standards that you use — specifically in larger enterprises as well, because you’ll have different divisions using different names. Cory Doctorow coined the phrase ‘meta-crap’: this is when people don’t take the taxonomy, the meta-data and the governance around those things seriously.” That can impact the user experience across the enterprise, he said.

Watch the full conversation with Paul Murphy and Mark Davey here.

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