Taxonomy & Metadata Services
Taxonomy and metadata are the DNA of DAM systems. Without an effective metadata model, a DAM solution will stand zero chance of achieving a positive ROI because users will not be able to find the digital assets they need. We offer a range of metadata-related services, covering taxonomies, controlled vocabularies and metadata schema (in the wider sense).
Designing Metadata Schemas
We have a well-established procedure for implementing taxonomies and devising metadata schemas that involves liaising with internal subject experts and investigating what existing schemas are already being used in the business. If you have central systems like Master Data Management, we make sure that whatever work is done on your metadata framework is compatible with existing activity so your time and money is not wasted.
There are many other factors that need to be carefully taken into consideration when designing a metadata schema or taxonomy. If you are concerned that you might lack the time and resources required to implement one properly, we can help you to avoid that risk. We have decades of experience of designing and implementing metadata schema and we can bring the benefit of that knowledge to you.
Improving Metadata Schemas
If you have an existing taxonomy or controlled vocabulary which is not proving to be effective, we can take what you have now and then review the model to identify any potential flaws. The majority of issues with taxonomies or controlled vocabularies comes from a lack of governance processes being in-place to quality control the terms added.
We review the existing schemas and test them by cataloguing digital assets using the current values. This provides some empirical evidence about how effective it is and where the problems are found. We can conduct user interviews to validate what our own investigations have been indicating.
Based on the data collected, we propose some modifications to the taxonomy or controlled vocabulary, implement them and then carry out the tests once more to ensure that the issues have been rectified and the schema is now fit for purpose.
Establishing a taxonomy, controlled vocabulary or indeed any metadata schema is a great way to help better ensure your digital assets will get catalogued or tagged in a clear and consistent fashion. On its own, however, it is not enough to guarantee that digital assets will be catalogued with the required quality. To achieve this, you need metadata management governance processes to be in-place.
From a systems perspective, there are workflow controls which can be implemented in some DAMs (or added to them using APIs etc. if not). At a more fundamental level, however, is having policies in-place and best practice methods that keep the metadata schemas under constant review so issues are identified (and resolved) as they are found. In addition, not only do these controls need to be in-place, they must not be onerous or it is likely that users will either ignore or try to work around them. We can give you the benefit of our many years’ experience in this field to make certain that your metadata governance processes are effective and efficient so your metadata schema continues to deliver value and achieves your quality objectives.
The metadata entry and management capabilities of some DAM systems are inadequate and render them unsuitable for in-depth or large-scale digital asset cataloguing work. We can develop custom metadata entry tools which will generate metadata for importing into your DAM.
These exist independently of the DAM system and can export in formats which are commonly supported by DAM systems like CSV, Excel, XML or JSON. The metadata entry tools can also be integrated with (or include) a project management element so you can track the progress of cataloguing projects.
Metadata Migration & Transformation
Migrating or merging taxonomies poses some complex challenges. As well as filtering out any values which are duplicates or no longer required, care is required to ensure that any existing references in the legacy taxonomy are mapped across to new values.
We have many years of experience transforming complex data structures like taxonomies. We use some automated tools to streamline the process and combine this with judicious manual adjustments also.
If a DAM system has to integrate with another data source, whether it be another DAM, a Master Data Management (MDM) system or any other taxonomy, the question of mapping always comes up. We can analyse the source and target taxonomies then help you to rationalise them by devising rules to translate one value into another.
We have software tools and a series of techniques we have successfully implemented over many years of working with taxonomies to help you achieve your interoperability objectives.