One of DBGallery's founding themes was that an image collection is only as good as its metadata. That good tagging practises more than doubled the value of an image collection. And that in many cases, metadata is as important as the asset itself.
According to an SNC-Lavalin's post on digital asset management: Only by treating data as an asset — often the most valuable asset on their inventory — to be actively managed across its entire lifecycle for maximum returns, can they hope to achieve the kind of savings and efficiencies necessary to give them a competitive edge.
According to mydamservices.com: The management of your digital assets are only as strong as your metadata.
This sentiment can be found across the web, and touted by any number of digital asset management professionals.
The reasons behind metadata's importance:
- It makes images significantly easier to find. Looking for images of last years trade show that includes the CEO? Search for "2021 New York Trade Show CEO". Without this data most people are browsing thumbnails of a large collection, wasting huge amounts of time. And worse...most people often don't find what they're at all. This leads to:
- Huge amounts in personnel time.
- Added value because the image a person knows will add the most value to their efforts is more readily available vs having to use a compromise.
- Once entered, it is there forever. In other words, a little effort upfront provides returns for many years to come (for the life of the collection).
- A system can use this data in various ways beyond searching. DBGallery's Data Views, where the data is parsed and placed in a tree is a good example.
This is the reason why there has been a continued and strong focus on tagging and searching using metadata even as the product has branched out and strengthened in other areas.
Getting Metadata into the System Automatically
Before manual data entry is needed DBGallery will auto-populate images:
- It used AI-based object recogition, picking up common objects.
- Street address data is automatically added using reverse geocoding anytime an image is uploaded or a new location is set on an image within DBGallery. This info includes street name and number, city and country.
- Any existing metadata is read from files as they are uploaded. This may have been keyed using other systems, from Photoshop and Lightroom to other DAM systems.
Inevitably, some data will need to be manually entered. Knowing who should do this can be a big help.
- Content creators: Wherever possible this is the best source of data. This usually includes: photographers, video producers, artists, document creators.
- Admin staff: The users, or consumers, of assets can't be expected to know the rules or the system well enough to be relied on entering data (it may be surprising how many organizations rely on those folks!). Admin staff know what data should be entered, and how to do so efficiently given they do so more frequently.
- Volunteers and work term students: While not relevant to all types of organizations, those such as non-profits and eductional institutes can often avail of these potentially large and inexpensive groups.
Keep in mind that this is for the benefit of at those who need to find the digital assets, and that is what the system is in place for. Making it easy for them to find the right images fast provides huge value to the company.
DBGallery's Metadata Strengths
- Be significantly more efficient by tagging any number of images at once. (https://docs.dbgallery.com/tagging)
- Even with a mix of existing tags, when multiple images are selected for tagging new keywords can be appended to each image.
- DBGallery parses all data of for all images and places them into a browsable tree, allowing the image collection to be browsed using this data tree. It's called Data Views and can be seen at the bottom of the folders tree on the left side of DBGallery.
- A spreadsheet-like data entry and viewing page: Grid View (https://docs.dbgallery.com/grid-view).
- Any existing IPTC/XMP metadata is read from files upon upload.
- Advanced data searches, including binary and our smart search. Smart search overview: type any number of words in search and the results are ordered based on those with the most of those words at the top. (https://dbgallery.com/introducing-a-smarter-search)
- AI-based Object Recognition detects common objects in photos. (https://docs.dbgallery.com/object-recognition)
- Reverse geocoding to automatically add address information (as noted above).
- When a user does a search, all data stored for images is searched: We'll search everything from the camera name, author, keywords, custom field data, automatically recognized images, folder name, collection name, copyright fields, etc.
- Take control of how data is presented: Change the data layout of almost all areas image data is displayed (above and under thumbs, shown in shared images, and all other places its important). (https://docs.dbgallery.com/datalayoutsettings)
- A keyword dictionary. Great for renaming, deleting and other keyword management operations.
- Control who can add new data. The keyword dictionary can be 'fixed', where only admins can add new keywords. User permissions determines who can edit data in which folders and collections.
- Configure the data captured and searched for by defining custom fields, setting them specific to your industry or company. (https://docs.dbgallery.com/custom-fields)
- Batch import metadata to populate images during system initialization, or at anytime for select images and folders. (https://dbgallery.com/download/DBGalleryDataImportGuide.pdf)
- Export your metadata. DBGallery is an open system, where your data is yours and can be exported at any time (to be imported into other systems, as one very common example). (https://docs.dbgallery.com/download-data)
- See all data modifications in the system. See audit trail where changes can be searched for by type, user, and date. The full list of data modifications for a specific image can be viewed in the Versions tab. (https://docs.dbgallery.com/activity-monitoring)
- Subscibe to metadata changes in the system. This may be done on a folder or Collection basis. For example, there is a client folder where you would like to receive a notification when they make data changes. (https://docs.dbgallery.com/action-notifiications)
- Use DBGallery's API for adding, editing, and seaching metadata.
- Recommended Tagging Practices: https://docs.dbgallery.com/recommended-tagging