A digital asset taxonomy is a system for categorizing digital assets, such as images, videos, documents, and audio files. Digital asset management systems use it to structure and label them in a consistent and logical manner, making them easier to find, use, and manage.
A digital asset taxonomy typically includes a hierarchical structure of categories and subcategories, with each level representing a specific aspect of the asset. For example, the top level of a digital asset taxonomy for images might include categories such as "photography," "illustrations," and "graphics." Each of these categories would then have subcategories, such as "landscapes," "people," and "objects" under photography.
The taxonomy can also include additional attributes or metadata, such as keywords, descriptions, copyright and right usage data, to provide more detailed information about the assets.
Digital asset taxonomies are critical for organizations with large numbers of digital assets because they allow for efficient organization, retrieval, and management of assets. They also help to ensure that assets are used consistently and in compliance with organizational standards, policies, and regulations.
Creating a digital asset taxonomy requires a thorough understanding of the organization's digital assets, their intended use, and the stakeholders involved in managing them. It typically requires data analysis, user research, and stakeholder feedback to ensure the taxonomy is relevant, accurate, and user-friendly.
Designing a DAM taxonomy is essential in implementing a digital asset management system. It ensures that assets are easily discoverable, shared and distributed effectively, and protected from unauthorized access.
The first step in designing a DAM taxonomy is to conduct a thorough inventory of the digital assets that your organization currently possesses. This can include images, videos, documents, audio files, and other types of digital content. The inventory should contain information such as content type, file format, size, resolution, and associated metadata.
Once the inventory is complete, the next step is to analyze the assets and identify common characteristics and patterns, including subject matter, product, marketing type, geography, and intended usage. Identifying these common characteristics will help inform the taxonomy's design and ensure that the assets are organized logically and meaningfully.
The next step is to create the top-level categories for the taxonomy. These should be broad, high-level categories that reflect the overall organizational structure of the assets. For example, if your organization deals with visual assets such as images and videos, the top-level categories might include "photography," "logo graphics," and "video."
Once the top-level categories have been established, the next step is to create subcategories. These should be specific and reflect the characteristics and patterns identified during the analysis of the assets. For example, within the "photography" category, subcategories might include "product images," "product lifestyle," and "event." The subcategories should be specific enough to make finding the assets you are looking for easy but not so specific that they become difficult to navigate.
It is also important to consider the need for cross-referencing and tagging to make the assets easily discoverable, which may include using keywords, tags, and metadata to improve the accuracy and efficiency of search results. Additionally, it may involve using controlled vocabularies to ensure a consistent language is used to streamline the tagging and classifying of assets.
Once the taxonomy is designed, testing it and getting user feedback is important. This will include testing the usability of the taxonomy with both asset creators and asset users by gathering feedback on how easy it is to find and access assets. It's also essential to gather feedback on the accuracy and completeness of the taxonomy and make any necessary adjustments.
Establishing clear guidelines and processes for how assets will be classified and organized within the taxonomy is also essential. This can include policies for adding new assets, editing existing assets, and archiving assets that are no longer needed. It is also vital to establish governance policies for the assets and the taxonomy to ensure they are managed and updated properly.
Scalability and flexibility should also be considered when designing the taxonomy. The taxonomy must adapt and evolve as the organization and the digital asset system grows. It should be able to handle new types of assets, categories, and subcategories as needed. Additionally, the taxonomy should be able to integrate with other systems and tools, such as content management systems and marketing automation platforms.
Developing a workable digital asset taxonomy is crucial in implementing your enterprise's digital asset management system. A well-designed taxonomy ensures that assets are easily discoverable, shared and distributed effectively, and protected from unauthorized access. A well-designed taxonomy is also designed so tagging assets can be efficiently completed. DAM Ops has had significant experience developing taxonomies for companies and understands the balancing act between required information and nice to have.