Digital Asset Management (DAM)
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What, Why, How - almost everything you need to know about Digital Asset Management (aka DAM)

What is Digital Asset Management (DAM)?

(DAM explained in plain English)


"A digital asset management system is in simplest form, a searchable catalogue of your digital content assets"

(Source:David Vaassen, Founder at Brandkit)

"Digital Asset Management (DAM) consists of management tasks and decisions surrounding the ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets."

(Source:Wikipedia)

"Digital Asset Management is having an identity crisis. Today the term "Digital Asset" is being used widely as a name for crypto currencies, non fungible tokens, and similar contructs. Traditionally Digital Asset Management has been concerned with digital media or digital content assets, NOT blockchain derived assets. Digital Asset Management systems are NOT another form of crypto wallet."

(Source:David Vaassen, Founder at Brandkit)

Digital Asset Management (or DAM) is a concept that starts from the assumption that certain files (assets) have a high intrinsic value to an organization (for example brand identity artwork files). This value can be amortized across multiple uses more readily by using a database system (instead of a file system) to track, organize, display and distribute these assets. (Source: damagemag.com/DAMDictionary.htm).

In Digital Asset Management, files with high intrinsic value, are recognized as valuable assets of the organization or business, are called digital assets and are often managed with the same care as physical assets.

Digital Asset Management systems, typically software or web-based services, provide tools to store, manage and securely distribute digital assets (files) to authorized users.

The 10 requirements of a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system

(1)
Single and batch operations

DAM systems ingest assets individually or in mass sets, and allow for the manipulation of those assets and their metadata individually or with mass actions.

(2)
Secure storage

DAM systems secure the assets they contain. Security in a DAM extends to defining access control lists (ACLs) for assets and defining roles for users accessing the system.

(3)
Binaries and metadata

DAM systems store assets as both binaries and metadata. A DAM system can store multiple file types and allows for the customization of metadata fields and the metadata in those fields attached to the stored files.

(4)
Render and transform

DAM systems render/transform assets on ingesting into new forms, such as thumbnails or proxy files. The new forms generated on asset ingest via transformation should all be stored as asset parts of the original file uploaded.

(5)
Asset enrichment

DAM systems enrich assets through the extension of metadata and metrics regarding the use and reuse of the asset throughout its lifecycle.

(6)
Versioning

DAM systems relate assets by tracking the relationships between and among an original asset and versions/variants of the original. Versioning and version control tools are central to an asset’s life in a DAM system.

(7)
Collaboration and structured workflows

DAM systems regulate a structured process in the management, creation, and review of assets with workflow tools. Via programmed workflows, DAMs allow for a decentralized workforce to collaborate together in a centralized system.

(8)
Search and retrieval

DAM systems allow for users to find assets and to retrieve those assets by facilitating search through metadata, collections, workflows, and access control tools. By increasing the discovery of assets that may not have been easily accessible before ingest, a DAM assists workers in leveraging existing content for maximum work potential.

(9)
Asset previews

DAM systems have a preview function that allows users to view assets before downloading or opening a file on their own device. By allowing users to take a look at assets in search quickly, without download, DAM systems reduce the amount of time users must spend in search.

(10)
Sharing and distribution

DAM systems produce/publish content by providing methods whereby assets may be shared, linked to, or otherwise be distributed outside the system. This DAM function may be as simple as generating a URL on ingest or as complex as allowing users to build collections of items for sharing with a workgroup.

Learn more about DAM with Additional reading:

The 8 core features of a modern Digital Asset Management system

Tagging Guide - A Framework for digital asset management

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Statistics above last updated 1 Feb 2023