Seth Earley discusses Digital Asset Management
Here are the questions asked:
- How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
- How does taxonomy relate to Digital Asset Management?
- What advice would you like to give to DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?
Henrik de Gyor: [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today, I’m speaking with Seth Earley. Seth,
how are you?
Seth Earley: [0:09] I am terrific. Thank you for having me.
Henrik: [0:11] Great. Seth, how are you involved with Digital Asset
Seth: [0:15] Well, I’ll tell you. We have been doing work with Digital Asset
Management for probably the entire 15 years that I’ve been doing this kind of
work. I’ve been involved in content management, in document management, in
knowledge management for that period of time. Throughout the entire career,
we’ve always had to deal with nontextual assets. We’ve always had to deal with
some rich media. [0:40] I remember at the beginning when we were doing work
with Lotus Notes. The first time you could drop an image into a rich text field, I
was like, “Wow. This is so amazingly cool. I cannot believe you can drop a picture
into a rich text field.” Ever since then we’ve been dealing with digital assets
and Digital Asset Management Systems.
Henrik: [1:02] Excellent. Seth, how does taxonomy relate to Digital Asset
Seth: [1:13] You can infer something about text assets. You can derive something.
You can do text mining. There are is-ness and about-ness inherently
within the content. [1:20] When you build an index, when you’re doing search,
you’re searching text assets by inferring something about the nature of the
content. You can create a forward index by looking at the words in a document.
You invert that index, which gives you the pointers to specific documents
based on the words. And then, that’s derived metadata about the text, about
[1:43] You don’t have that ability to do that with any kind of Digital Asset
Management, with digital assets, with rich media, with images. There’s no inherent
is-ness or about-ness, so, of course, we have to use metadata.
[1:56] The way we look at metadata and taxonomy, taxonomy is really the way
of beginning to organize your metadata. We don’t look at taxonomy in a very
narrow sense of navigation. We look at taxonomy from a perspective of classification
and overall information architecture.
[2:15] When we start looking at taxonomy, we want to begin thinking about the
types of fields and the ways that we can start to tag the assets with metadata.
Then we want to populate those fields with reference data, with the drop downs,
with the controlled vocabularies, with the lists and attributes.
[2:36] Taxonomies are considered to be hierarchical in nature. We can certainly
have hierarchical lists of controlled values, but there’s all sorts of different ways
of looking at information architecture that references taxonomies. Taxonomies
are the overall organizing principles around your metadata fields.
[2:58] Of course, whenever you think about metadata, if you have a large list of
attributes or a large list of values, you have to break those up for human consumption.
We can only deal with fairly short lists, maybe 5, 10, or maybe 15
items. If you start to get into lists that are 100 terms long or 200 terms or 500
terms, how do you deal with that? Well, you have to break it up. That’s where
you have to use hierarchies.
[3:25] You can even think of metadata fields as the top-level terms of your hierarchy.
A doc type will be a top-level term of a hierarchy. Maybe an asset type
would be a top-level term, or maybe a channel, a region, a language, or any of
those other types of attributes. Those can all be considered top-level terms of
the taxonomy. Really, all of the metadata is an expression of the taxonomy.
Henrik: [4:01] Makes complete sense. Seth, what advice would you give to DAM
professionals or people aspiring to be DAM professionals?
Seth: [4:12] Well, I think the best advice that I can give would be to get experience,
even with projects that are nonprofit organizations or organizations
that don’t have a lot of money, so that you can build your skills. Get a broad
understanding of information architecture, including things like wire frame development,
metadata schemas, and taxonomy development. [4:41] Look at the
semantics of your structures, and try to understand a little bit about library
science. Library science is the core foundation for all of these organizing principles.
I heard someone recently say that a Digital Asset Management system is a
Metadata Management System that does fancy things. I totally agree with that.
[5:04] You really do need to understand metadata structures and metadata schemas,
and understand things like Dublin Core. Look at the different ways that you
can organize those assets using various types of technologies. Look at how the
various technologies leverage organizing principles and leverage information
[5:28] I would get some very practical experience, though. Find a nonprofit organization
that doesn’t have a lot of resources, that would like to get your elbow
grease and your hard work to help them fix a system or help them organize their
assets. That’s a great way to build your resume.
[5:50] If you’re more experienced, definitely broaden your expertise by looking
at some training in library science and metadata schemas. Have a good, broad
understanding of the technologies.
Henrik: [6:04] Great idea. Well, thanks, Seth.
Seth: [6:07] Thank you.
Henrik: [6:08] For more on Digital Asset Management, log on to
anotherdamblog.com. Thanks again.
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