In part 1 of this discussion, I covered a number of commonly known and practiced search related topics. However, the field of search as it relates to digital asset management systems is broad and diverse. Let’s continue our discussion by going a bit deeper into some of the more specialized techniques that are being practiced.
Last time we mentioned that Content De-duplication can provide significant storage savings for DAM owners. Another asset file elimination technique that might provide similar storage reductions is referred to as Content Assessment. This refers to trawling one’s digital assets and applying methods to measure relevancy, importance, value or liability of the content within these files. The reason for doing this might be to try to determine which digital assets the organization should retain and which it should not. The criteria by which this determination is made is unique to each organization. It can be based on basic file statistics such as the date of creation, last updated or last accessed. Alternatively, it could be driven by strategic business or policy decisions within an organization. Every organization will be different in designing their assessment criteria.
A fairly new area of data analysis that can be incorporated in to your DAM system’s search strategy is called Sentiment Analysis. This is a technique which tries to use natural language techniques to determine if comments and feedback information from users is positive or negative. This type of analysis is currently being used to analyze the chatter on the open web for commercial brands to determine how the public views their company and products. However, it can be used internally as well by incorporating user feedback related to the usability of your DAM systems and the findability of your digital assets.
Concerns regarding intellectual property are important to all DAM system operators. Making sure the digital assets you own are safe and has the proper protections is just as important as making sure the content you no longer have the right to store is removed from your systems. This can be done through careful Rights Management or using Copyright Detection. Rights Management is the means by which digital assets which enter your DAM system have their intellectual property rights captured and are a critical component of what drives file access and usage within the system. Copyright Detection serves a different purpose. It is a means to automatically identify digital asset and determine who owns it and if it is authorized to be made available. This same technique can also be used to detect logos or product imagery and can be used to try to identify old commercial materials looking to be retired.
Digital Forensics is a fairly new science but can also be viewed as a form of specialized search technique. This is an investigative analysis technique that tries to detect fraud or misbehavior. DAM systems are capable of storing all sorts of information that can be important to these types of investigative techniques. Much can be learned from them to preemptively guard against misuse of your digital assets.
E-Discovery is another specialized search endeavor, which is important to DAM systems used within the legal field. This is used primarily in litigation, when both sides send each other enormous numbers of documents for process of discovery. This search technique is intended to help automatically identify key documents important a case and separate them out for further human review. While being very specialized to the field of litigation, the techniques used in E-Discovery are powerful and may be useful outside of litigation.
The field of Semantics is also important to topic of search. The field of Semantic technologies focuses on the meaning of ones data. I won’t go into detail here on exactly how this is done but generally speaking, one uses specific data modeling techniques with the intention defining the precise meaning of ones data which, if done well, can create some powerful search results, most notably, in the area of Inference and Reasoning. These terms refer to semantic technology methods for deriving new information from existing information through the use of logic processing techniques.
By no means is this a complete list of search related topics. The area of search is vast and is continually growing. One thing that everyone on the panel seemed to agree on was, more important that the “Search”, was the “Find”. Being able to find the digital assets you are looking for is far more important than the search technique used. So it is important to think about a means by which one can evaluate how effective your DAM system’s search is. How do you determine that your search is working for your users and helping them find the digital assets they are looking for? It is an important question I would like to explore with you in a future post.
For additional information or to contact Nick, please visit http://www.nuemeta.com