Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles

Digital Asset Management in Adobe Experience Manager

  • Print
  • + Share This
Digital asset management is a critical part of delivering high-quality web experiences that contribute to the achievement of business goals. Adobe Experience Manager includes a digital asset management solution that unlocks these features within the context of a web experience management platform.
This chapter is from the book

Business domain of DAM

One of Adobe Experience Manager’s core features is its Digital Asset Management System, commonly referred to as “the DAM.” Digital asset management as a domain isn’t unique to AEM. Rather, Adobe has implemented an enterprise class DAM system that can actually serve as a stand-alone solution, apart from all the WCM features. However, what makes Adobe’s DAM solution particularly valuable is how deeply integrated it is with the rest of the AEM platform. The DAM is a key piece within AEM for integrating the creative concerns of designers and artists and the digital marketing concerns of content managers and web-driven revenue generation.

Before digging into the DAM’s capabilities within Adobe Experience Manager, I want to step back and discuss the general business concept of DAM.

What is digital asset management?

Your organization’s brand is embodied in a sea of media files. Some of them remain within the organization’s walls, such as graphics used as letterheads or design files for creating print advertisements. Some are made public and shared, such as video demonstrations and white papers.

Many of these media files actually toe the line between internal and external assets. Some may become public and go viral, even if they weren’t intended for that use. Others that were intended to be public simply waste away.

The thread tying them all together is the difficulty that virtually all organizations face attempting to keep track of these media files. Digital asset management is the domain of managing a variety of rich media files so that they can be effectively used to support the organization’s brand.

Digital asset management is not really the same thing as document management or records management, although they do have some similarities. Some organizations find that a document management solution is adequate for their digital asset management needs. Document management is really about cataloging mostly text-based content. You often see document management systems in place for managing forms, reports, structured content such as XML, and the many Microsoft Office document types. Document management is usually a key component of enterprise content management (see Chapter 1).

When trying to manage media files, however, you face some unique, complex challenges compared to simply managing documents:

  • How do you catalog files of completely different formats?
  • How do you search files that cannot be indexed textually?
  • How do you deal with the huge amounts of data created by media files?
  • How do you make it easy to adapt those media files to changing business needs?

You’ll still face some of the same problems as with document management, including how to provide permission-appropriate access to files and how to distribute those files to the appropriate channels. But, I want to dig a little deeper into these issues to really hone in on the benefits of a dedicated DAM.

Catalog diverse media

Digital media files can be vastly different from one another, to a much greater extent than documents and records. The former tends to be less structured and richer, whereas the latter tends to be more structured and text-based. Media can include video files of different formats, image files of different formats, PDFs, or design assets like InDesign files. These formats are all so different that cataloging them in a common way becomes difficult. Imagine trying to sort a bunch of photographs, CDs, receipts, and videotapes (yeah, remember those?). There’s not a particularly good way to sort them...at least not obviously. Digital asset management uses software to address that very problem. It enables you to catalog diverse media in such a way that it becomes ubiquitous.

Optimize searchability

Search engines use indexing to determine how relevant a resource is to a search term you enter. The search engine “crawls” all the available resources making records (an index) of how it is categorized, what it contains, and other properties of those resources. The search engine internally organizes and optimizes that information to create a fast search experience. Then, when you enter a search term, the search engine can poll its index of resources and immediately return the resources relevant to your search terms.

Most enterprise platforms that manage data or content include search features, including document management and digital asset management systems. In a document management system, where most of the content is text-based, the crawling approach is fairly straightforward. It’s easy to understand how a machine can “read” the text in a document and make an index of keywords.

But how to interpret the content of videos, images, and other rich media files? Most of them don’t have text to “read.” Those that do contain text would probably require some kind of optical character recognition technology to read it. That’s why digital asset management systems enable those managing the resources to apply rich metadata describing the media assets. The system will also make sure that metadata taxonomy is similar enough that it can be indexed effectively, making for an efficient search experience that doesn’t care whether the media is a picture or a video.

Manage file size

Remember when Napster—the first mainstream platform for downloading music in MP3 format—became available? It took half an hour or more just to download a single song. God help me if my dad picked up the phone and kicked me off the modem-based connection, or I finally got the entire song and it downloaded incorrectly. It was frustrating because rich media files, like audio and video, are enormous compared to text-based files. Images are bigger than text. Audio is bigger than images. Video is bigger still.

As a result, a digital asset management system must manage huge amounts of data—for enterprise organizations, gigabytes (or terabytes) of content. The sheer scope of managing potentially vast amounts of digital media means the system has to maximize speed and performance. As cloud-based architectures continue to become the norm rather than the exception, a DAM must also consider how to optimize that design.

Adapt media

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ll break the news to you that requirements change fast. Customers will change their minds on a dime. Managers trying to stay ahead of customers will do the same. That means rapid change. It also means that inflexible systems will become a burden rather than a benefit.

Digital assets are often multiple file formats, sizes, variations of color, and so on. Without a system to manage these nearly identical versions of a media file, it can be cumbersome to keep track of all these variations. A digital asset management system does this. It allows those responsible for the media to retain the element that should remain consistent while also organizing each variation created for special uses. And while doing this, the system also maintains the fundamental relationship between these multiple media file variations.

What are your needs?

I find that many clients for whom I implement management solutions overlook the relevance of digital asset management in their overall digital strategy. Digital asset management is less generally understood than basic web content management, and it’s not as easy to see how effective digital asset management contributes to revenue.

However, I can assure you that effective digital asset management processes and implementation are a key piece in the digital marketing puzzle. If implemented well, it will increase the value of your overall platform by simplifying the integration of rich media into your digital brand experience.

If you don’t truly understand what you need from a digital asset management system, you could end up with a catch-all media repository. I see it time and time again. Content managers throw all their website images into a single folder, just so they can be added to a webpage. No one manages the metadata. No one organizes a logical taxonomy of media files. The repository gets bigger and bigger until it’s no more organized than whatever system was previously in place.

I’m not going to insist that everyone’s digital asset management needs are complex or dynamic. Some organizations’ needs are complicated and some are simple. I’m only advocating that you go through the exercise of truly understanding your needs before you start using a DAM system like a storage closet.

To assess what you need in a digital asset management system, ask the following questions:

  • What kinds of media assets do I need to manage?
  • How do I plan to distribute them to the public?
  • What is the volume of my media files as a whole?
  • What are our key workflows when creating and managing digital assets?
  • How are those workflows effective? How could they be improved?
  • Where are the opportunities to automate parts of those workflows?
  • What creative development tools do I use to edit digital assets?
  • How are our media files organized? How do we want them to be organized?

Answering these questions won’t guarantee that you’ll have an effective digital asset management or content management implementation. But, if you can build consensus about the answers to these questions, you will be in a better position to execute your digital asset management strategy.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020