Metadata and keyword best practices

Last update: 2023-06-27
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Metadata best practices

Metadata is all of the data used to describe an asset. Metadata fields have a name, and users can edit or change the information in many of those fields. Some metadata fields are populated by the application or device the asset came from and cannot be edited.

Using consistent metadata increases the searchability of your organization’s assets. Plus, assets downloaded from Workfront DAM retain their metadata, which provides another layer of protection for your assets if they leave Workfront DAM.

Here are some best practices to help with your organization’s metadata efforts:

  • Always add ownership or credit information to your assets for identification outside of Workfront DAM.
  • Add usage terms for rights-managed assets to prevent misuse.
  • Add metadata to your assets as soon as you upload them.
  • Implement predefined dropdown menus for commonly used data to prevent inconsistencies.
  • Educate contributors responsible for adding metadata on your organization’s metadata strategy.
  • Communicate your metadata requirements to external vendors (for example, Photos must be submitted with the usage terms, credit, and location metadata already added).
  • Conduct regular audits to ensure metadata is being added properly.

Metadata strategy

Your organization likely has developed a metadata strategy. If you’re uploading assets to Workfront DAM, be sure to learn your organization’s process regarding:

  • Who is responsible for adding metadata.
  • Which metadata is required.
  • When is metadata added.
  • How often will assets be checked for proper metadata.
  • Who is responsible for the metadata checks.

Keyword best practices

Keywords are a subset of metadata. Keywords tend to be generic, descriptive terms about the contents of the asset. This information is added to the asset, often manually after upload. All keywords go into one field (labeled Keywords). For example, a photo of the Eiffel Tower in Paris may have keywords such as landmark, tourism, or lights.

Keywords are searchable, so it’s important that keywords be entered on assets consistently.

Your organization may implement a keyword taxonomy, which is a controlled list of keywords you can choose from when editing an asset in Workfront DAM.

If your organization does allow you to enter keywords manually, keep these tips in mind.

  • Be consistent with acronyms and abbreviations. Don’t keyword one asset with “AZ” and another asset with “Arizona.”
  • Be consistent in plural versus singular. Choose one format or always use both. For example, either use “feet” and “hands” or “foot, feet” and “hand, hands.”
  • Be consistent in how you describe an action or activity, for instance, either use “running” and “swimming” or “run” and “swim.”
  • Don’t be too narrow. “Keokuk, IA” may be too narrow for a keyword and completely unrecognizable to users. “Southeast Iowa” would be better.
  • Don’t be too broad. “University” may not work, especially if everything in your system relates to a university. Determine what will distinguish the assets, such as a specific college name.
  • Be mindful of relevance. Just because every asset has a project code does not mean it will be useful to users relying on keywords to find assets. If this information needs to stay with the asset, consider adding it in another metadata field.
  • Don’t use too few keywords, otherwise they won’t help narrow search results.
  • Don’t rely on keywords for every piece of data. Use metadata fields for information such as photographer name or location.

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