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Create a DAM Taxonomy in 5 Easy Steps


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Are you unsure of where to get started with DAM taxonomy for your digital asset management (DAM) tool? It’s not as difficult as it might sound. Many companies and individuals will work with you to create a custom taxonomy depending on your choice of software vendor or if you choose to hire a consultant, but it’s also something that you can do yourself with the right advice from taxonomy experts! If you can make a list, then you can take a stab at taxonomy.

We’ve created a short guide that outlines the high-level steps you need to take to create a great DAM taxonomy from scratch in as little as five steps!

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Create a DAM Taxonomy in 5 Easy Steps

  1. 1. Create a DAM taxonomy in 5 easy steps Taxonomy and metadata for digital asset management
  2. 2. 1. Appraise your digital assets 2. Make controlled lists of terms 3. Create and document taxonomy 4. Test and verify 5. Rinse and repeat
  3. 3. Appraise your digital assets to help shape your DAM taxonomy
  4. 4. Create a DAM taxonomy in five easy steps Asset appraisal • Determine which digital assets to appraise & scope of DAM system • Audit all possible folders and drives that are in scope • Gain an understanding of the variety of digital assets in each department • Compile list of file types (.jpg, .png,) and asset types (photography, documents) • Use the digital asset appraisal guide and tracking sheet to complete the audit • Send out free DAM survey to each business unit or team to complete
  5. 5. Make controlled lists of terms to be used in your DAM taxonomy
  6. 6. Create a DAM taxonomy in five easy steps Make controlled lists of terms • List all possible values for a term (for example the data field “month” will only have the options January through December) • Keep the list clean by staying within a class or category • Analyse existing search behaviour or existing metadata schemas • Check file-naming standards and required metadata fields • Determine relationships between fields, dependencies and hierarchies • Use a whiteboard, excel, or a concept mapping tool
  7. 7. Create & document DAM taxonomy
  8. 8. Create a DAM taxonomy in five easy steps Create & document taxonomy • Create metadata dictionary that lists terms with operational definitions and relationships to other terms • Use Excel, a concept mapping tool, or taxonomy documentation tool to create a “final” output of the taxonomy • Determine which parts of the taxonomy are meant to be searchable, which are administrative, structural and which are purely informational • Don’t forget to document embedded XMP data that you will add to your taxonomy (colorspace, creator, rights, etc)
  9. 9. Test & verify DAM taxonomy
  10. 10. Create a DAM taxonomy in five easy steps Test & verify taxonomy • Conduct audit searches for known-items • Conduct audits for serendipitous browsing • Verify upload experience for various types of digital assets and user groups to ensure that taxonomy and metadata are scalable • Conduct user acceptance testing (UAT) with specific measurable criteria, document and analyze, update DAM taxonomy with consolidated findings
  11. 11. DAM taxonomy rinse & repeat
  12. 12. Create a DAM taxonomy in five easy steps DAM taxonomy rinse & repeat • Audit on yearly or quarterly basis depending on business needs • Use search metrics from DAM analytics to determine usage and popularity of terms • Document updates • Adjust DAM taxonomy as new asset types are ingested • Adjust DAM taxonomy as new user groups are on-boarded into the system
  13. 13. Ready to organize the content chaos with DAM software?