Where do we start?
When configuring an Asset Bank it is always important to ensure you consider your users first - who are the key users? What assets do they use the most? What search terms are likely to be most important to them? By considering the perspective of your users throughout the configuration then it will help to ensure the end result is functional and easy-to-use. There are a few key areas that we normally walk through in order to get a baseline structure for the system.
Folders are particularly important as they form the basic structure to store your assets. This means that users can browse through your Folders in order to quickly and easily find what they are looking for. Folders are also used to control your permissions, as users may have different access on a folder-by-folder basis. Sub-folders can also have unique permission if you need to segregate certain assets, but it is important to avoid unnecessary folder depth as it can make the system time-consuming to browse. It is also worth noting that the folder names are also searchable, so for example, if you are using a product name in the folder structure, you don't need to repeat the same product name in an attribute.
Attributes control the different fields available for storing information (metadata) about your assets. Whilst it is possible to have fairly generic terms such as 'Description' and 'Keywords', it is often useful to be more specific (i.e. 'Country', 'Photographer') as it will prompt your users to enter certain information in a more consistent manner - especially if you set the attribute to be a defined dropdown list, for example. It is possible to make a Keywords attribute more effective by using a controlled vocabulary, possibly with a hierarchy and synonyms where appropriate.
Groups are used to give permission to your users and change which functionalities of the system are available to them. Folder permissions are the broadest way of controlling their access (e.g. can view all folders but can only download a specific one) but it is also possible to be more specific using other options such as Attribute Exclusions.
These areas are all related to each other and often you need to consider how subsequent areas could affect your initial decisions. For example, as user permission are controlled on a folder-by-folder basis, you may need to consider your different Groups whilst creating your Folders.
These areas are a great starting point to setting up an Asset Bank, but there are many more areas which can be customised in order to maximise the effectiveness of your system, such as customising the search options or changing branding for specific user groups.
It's important to ensure the system is built with your users in mind, as the only way to ensure a DAM implementation is successful is ensuring that it is an enjoyable and useful experience for your users. Regular consultation with your users during the configuration stage (and even when the system has gone live) is a great way to ensure the decisions you make are beneficial for all. Our years of experience in configuring the software can also be a useful resource!