Those DAM Tools

Digital Asset Management (DAM) tools are an emerging category of software made for manipulating collections of rich media files. Rich media file types can include photos, illustrations, video, audio, fonts, and desktop publishing files from applications such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign or Quark XPress.

DAM tools are fundamentally different in terms of work process, then DM (document management) tools. Informal systems for DM include VPN and NAS. DAM tools are more than a directory structure with group access. DAM tools add a host of capabilities to allow quick and efficient work with design, advertising, and marketing assets.

They are optimized for:

  • the use and manipulation of metadata including keywords
  • distributable and editable catalogs accessed with catalogue reader applications
  • automated tools for backup, transfer, file conversion
  • simple editing and comparing functions
  • presentation functions

Differences include the ability to manipulate metadata such as:

  • EXIF data (info from the camera about exposure, timing, etc.)
  • GIS data (e.g. GPS location coordinates)
  • comments
  • keywords
  • ratings

Keywords can be very useful for tracking the color, orientation or subject matter of photos. For example, keywords might identify staff members and other people in photos by name. If you then search for “Joe”, all the photos tagged as showing Joe are filtered and shown.

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