Metadata and tags are key to driving efficiency in AEM. Users, leaders, and management realize the need for holistic strategy, but they find it difficult make headway. Often knowledge is siloed among users, making holistic strategy difficult—and makes adjustments even more problematic.
What is the difference between metadata and tags? What are the business aspects to take into consideration when driving your strategy?
Metadata adds structure to less structured content.
Example: A basic image has pixels. We can call those “core data.” It is the metadata that describes the format, the category, licensing details, etc.
Metadata is most frequently used for assets. But there is a large number of use cases for metadata in content pages or experience fragments as well.
The following are the categories of which metadata can be generated:
Within the categories listed above there are four major types:
Folders are a natural way to navigate and browse the content in AEM. How are your stakeholders going to interact with AEM? This will determine how your folders are structured. Normally folder structure architected with one (or two) of the following in mind:
For AEM Sites, navigation is key. Folders are used to control access to the assets and pages.
Which tiers of authors are going to need access to homepages? What about product pages? Or campaign? Use permissions plus folder structure to put in the right governance.
There are three ways methods to store metadata:
The structure of how metadata is captured and formatted is called the metadata model or metadata schema. This must be agreed upon before assets or pages are ingested into the system.
A metadata model usually is architected to meet the following use cases:
Author metadata mainly supports operational processes. Publish supports retrieval and distribution use cases.
A tag is a keyword or term assigned to a piece of information.vFor example, instead of entering “car”, “vehicle”, “automobile”, a tag system allows only one value to choose from, making searching more predictable. Tags normalize and simplify the categorization of assets.
Note: Although AEM allows ad-hoc tagging it is best practice to stay from this as it could lead to undefined and unwieldy taxonomy.
Common uses of tags:
When used in AEM, tags can help in achieving a much shorter implementation of the complex feature, such as:
A Taxonomy is a system of organizing tags based on shared characteristics, which are usually hierarchical structured per organizational need. The structure can help finding a tag faster or impose a generalization.
Example: There is a need to subcategorize stock imagery of cars. The taxonomy could look like:
Now a user can choose whether he wants to look up images of sportscars in general or a “Porsche” in particular. After all, both are sportscars.
Best Practice: Avoid flat taxonomies. Flat taxonomies lack the benefits described above and require constant maintenance
Using a Taxonomy as Thesaurus. When a user searches for a keyword, the system creates a second search for all synonyms found there.
Additionally, Instead of typing “car” manually, the system can provide a list of keywords to improve consistency.
Using a Taxonomy as a Dictionary. Instead of just printing “car”, you can expand the single tag and use all the tag’s synonyms.
Multiple Categories. In contrast to a folder hierarchy, tags can be used to express multiple categorizations at the same time. An asset tagged with:
Not all metadata should be considered as a candidate for tagging system. Technical metadata can, unnecessarily duplicate the information. The best candidate for tags is business metadata. .Tags are a good choice to enforce consistent vocabulary, facetted search, and navigation.
Tag management benefits from a dedicated core team. New members should learn purpose and function of the taxonomy first before adding new tags. Seasoned experts, acting as gatekeepers to new tags, will reduce long-term inconsistency.
Taxonomies should be employed by content authors and understood by end users. They should be created before the content creation process. Any shortcuts will result in additional effort for management and maintenance.
Things change, and the needs of the tag list will too. Come-up with sound maintenance process that will reduce duplication.
Make sure content contributors know how they can propose changes, and that editors or content managers are reviewing the terms regularly.
Standardize Tags. Create glossary that provides an authoritative vocabulary. Without establishing standards, duplication will present problems. Additionally, it is advised to audit not only the taxonomy but also the usage of the tags.
Don’t Over-Tag. Tags can lose their significance if too frequently distributed…Pprune extraneous tags for optimal efficiency.
Re-evaluate Tags Over Time. Remember that business terminology and business context rarely stay static. You may find the need to re-standardize and re-apply tags.
Using AI-powered Smart Tagging. Smart tagging [see link] is an AI capability in AEM to reduce the effort of manually tagging assets. Smart tagging uses an AI to infer information about the subject of an image. It generates descriptive tags that describe the contents of an image.
Understanding business requirements is an important step in executing a metadata management model. Without definition, the information cannot be stored. It will be necessary to revisit the model periodically. This a vital quality control activity.
Additionally, metadata should be captured as early as possible in the content creation process. If metadata isn’t 'applied at the right time, there is little chance of applying it retroactively.
Utilize metadata to enhance collaboration: Utilize Adobe Asset Link, Adobe Bridge and the AEM Desktop to tie creative process together and utilize metadata to streamline creative workflows. Using these tools will enrich metadata and the user experience across your creative process.
A few guidelines might help you to decide how to categorize metadata:
Description – If the data describes the asset or piece of content it should be part of the attached metadata.
Search – If the metadata shall be used in search it must be attached.
Exposure – If you are exposing the metadata on a distribution platform to a third party, be careful not to also expose “internal” metadata.
Duration – The longer the metadata is supposed to live, the more likely it is to be a good candidate for attached metadata.
Related Business Processes – It definitely is helpful to have a permanent product ID as part of the metadata. But the category of an item in relation to the product catalog is a questionable metadata for the asset.
Organization and Processing – If the nature of the metadata is of organizational nature, such as state in an approval workflow or ownership of a certain department, external metadata should be considered over attaching the metadata to the asset.
To create the strategy, ask the following questions: