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So … what is DAM?

Digital Asset Management & DAM Software System

You’ve probably heard the phrase (and the acronym) but if you’re like most people, you may still be a little fuzzy as to what exactly it all means. Simply speaking, DAM stands for Digital Asset Management. Clear as mud, right?

So let’s start at the beginning — of both the phrase and the concept. What are digital assets? And why should you manage them? Sometimes referred to as visual content, digital assets are a collection of videos, images, documents and other creative files. Most people are able to manage their personal visual content all on their own — or with a little help from a file-sharing service like Dropbox.

But work product is a different matter entirely. If you own or work for a small or medium-sized business, you may have found yourself needing to share digital assets with others — on a fairly regular basis. Maybe one person needs to review a document before it’s finalized. Or your marketing team needs to add images to a PowerPoint. The printer needs your logo. And of course, you want your customers to be able to see your demonstration video.

If all this visual content is overwhelming — with images, videos, and other files that surpass the capabilities of a simple file-sharing system — DAM could be the answer. A digital asset management, or DAM, system can help you manage, organize, and share all those digital assets — with your coworkers, clients, customers and others. All from a central hub.

Widen created Smartimage DAM lite software out of an understanding that users want a digital asset management system that gets the job done — but is easy to use and highly affordable for small businesses and workgroups. With its simple setup and ease of sharing visual content, this is the key to resolving digital asset management issues before they become a DAM problem.

How? By centralizing the digital assets you use the most, you make them easy to retrieve — by not only yourself, but any authorized person that needs access. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the phone, in a meeting or even on vacation because your team members can instantly locate and retrieve the exact visual content they need — right when they need it.

Get started with your own DAM lite solution – Smartimage – with a 15-day free trial.

Five common mistakes with managing photo libraries

camera
Photographs play a large role in the way we communicate. Professionally and personally, animated gifs, emojis, videos, photographs are all part of our interactions. Marketing teams are no exception. A navigable photo library is important to give teams a way to quickly share quality images via these channels. For those who want to be more organized, here are five common mistakes with managing photo libraries and how to avoid them.

Uninformative File Names

Filenames can be a powerful tool for finding and organizing photographs. Descriptive file names can tell you about the photograph without seeing it. While undescriptive filenames like Image142.jpg turn your image search into a guessing game, without a preview.

A descriptive filename looks like SI16-JS-TEAM-01.jpg. It provides information about the file, like that it’s for the Smartimage Brand in 2016 (SI16), taken by John Smith (JS), and for the Smartimage Team photo shoot(TEAM-01). A clear, consistent file naming structure will help your team find what they need faster.

You can learn more about best practices for file naming conventions from Stanford University Libraries.

Forgetting to add descriptive keywords

Everything about the photograph isn’t going to be shoved into a filename. That’s where metadata helps. Descriptive keywords are another tool to make finding photographs faster. It can also help people find what they are looking for by providing more information the person can search on.

Inconsistent keywords

You’re probably catching onto an important theme here, consistency. To reduce time spent searching for photographs, we want to reduce as much uncertainty as possible. Establishing a set of core keywords for your photographs will make your filters more findable and usable.

Identify common themes and information about the images. Review the information and consolidate any redundancies or see if similar assets are labeled by different keywords.

Organizing for yourself, not everyone accessing photos

This is a common challenge for marketing teams creating content and then sending it off to other internal teams or external teams who aren’t familiar with the marketing team’s language. The marketing team may have intimate knowledge of the specific product SKUs while a magazine editor looking for that product image will not.

Understand the various groups that will be accessing your photographs and how they will be searching for photographs. Use this information to guide how your organize and keyword your files.

Communicating photo rights

Who took the photographs and do you have permission to use it are important questions. Was it an internal photographer with your own copyright, did you hire a freelance photographer, or did you purchase the photograph? Keep track of this information so your teams are using the photographs properly.

10 simple tools to keep your team organized

Everyone could use a little help being more organized, especially at work. There are many tools out there that can help you and your company be more organized, focused, and stay on track. Check out the following list we compiled of the best tools to keep you organized.

Basecamp: to organize projects

Basecamp is a project organization tool that allows you to set up a project and share it with your team. Within your project, you can set up tasks, deadlines, have discussions, and upload files. It allows you to assign tasks to certain people and it makes it easier to communicate on a project since there is one communication channel. Also, it allows those people who don’t like new apps to still communicate over email. If someone doesn’t want to login to Basecamp, it sends them email notifications that they can reply to, and their reply is posted in Basecamp for everyone else to see. Basecamp also keeps a handy schedule that shows all of your upcoming events, to-dos, and deadlines and it can also be synced with your Google Calendar, Outlook, or iCal. You should definitely check out Basecamp if you need assistance organizing your projects: www.basecamp.com

Basecamp

Source: Basecamp

Google Calendar: to organize your schedule

Tired of trying to figure out where all your coworkers are? Sending hundreds of emails just to schedule one meeting? That’s where Google Calendar comes in. Your company should be using Google Calendar because it makes scheduling meetings so much easier! When you schedule meetings in Google Calendar you can use a feature called ‘find a time’. This feature allows you to choose who you need in the meeting and then view all of your calendars together in one window, making it easy to find a time that works for all of you. Additionally, you can put a message in the meeting that will be sent to all attendees with an invitation asking them if they can come to a meeting. You should be using Google Calendar if you need help coordinating schedules: www.google.com/calendar

Hootsuite: to organize your social networks

No one wants to spend all day on Twitter — well maybe you do — but no one should have to spend all of their day on Twitter. That’s where Hootsuite comes in. In Hootsuite you can schedule future tweets and Facebook posts, saving you lots of time. Additionally, you can manage multiple social accounts all in one. Not only can you schedule posts, but you can also view multiple feeds at once and view analytics from your social networks. It’s perfect if you feel like you spend all day managing your social networks. In addition to managing Twitter and Facebook, Hootsuite also works with Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, Instagram, and YouTube. If you need more help with your social networks, you should definitely check out Hootsuite: www.hootsuite.com

hootsuite-publishing-screenshot

Source: Hootsuite

LaterThis: to organize links

Are you ever working on the web and you think, “Oh, that’s an interesting article, but I don’t have time to read that right now…” or “That site would be relevant to this other project I’m working on…”, well that’s where LaterThis comes in. LaterThis is a tool that allows you to save links you like and read them later. You may be thinking “Well, why don’t I just use bookmarks?” but LaterThis is more than just a bookmark. In LaterThis links are automatically organized for you. You can also tag your links so that you can easily search for them later. Often, people tend to bookmark links and they forget they are there or they forget what they bookmarked them for. This is why LaterThis is a great tool to start using: www.laterthis.com

Pingboard: to organize employee information

Pingboard is a chart with all employees’ names and pictures on it. When you click on an employee’s picture it displays their contact information, their title, what department they work in, who they report to, a snapshot of their Google Calendar, skills, and other personal information. In addition to displaying information about employees, it also shows their status: are they working remotely, are they out of the office, are they on a business trip? It’s great for all of your employees to get to know each other and to have transparency about who’s doing what. Pingboard also integrates with Slack, so on Slack there will be a channel that says where everyone is. It’s also great for new employees wanting to put a name to a face and there’s even a handy flashcard game that helps you to remember everyone’s name! Pingboard is great for any company trying to increase transparency: www.pingboard.com

Shoeboxed

Source: Shoeboxed

 

Shoeboxed: to organize receipts

Shoebox is a place where you can digitally store all of your receipts and business cards. You can also track mileage with the GPS on your smartphone. When you scan receipts into the app it organizes them for you and also gives you the ability to create expense reports. The receipt images are also accepted by the IRS. When you scan business cards, you can create contact lists that can be exported. The app is fully secure and you can also search through your archive of receipts. Additionally, you can fill an envelope with your paper clutter of receipts and ship it for free to Shoebox and they will turn it into digital data for you. You can also organize online receipts you receive in your email. Shoeboxed is great for anyone wanting to better organize their receipts and business cards: www.shoeboxed.com

 

 

Slack: to organize your conversations

Slack is a messaging app that keeps all your team’s communications in one place. You can create multiple channels for different chat topics to keep conversations organized. These channels can be made public or private, depending on your needs. Additionally, direct messages can be sent within Slack. Slack also has a feature that allows you to search through all of the conversations, which definitely comes in handy when you’re thinking “What did we talk about again?” In addition to chat functionality, Slack also allows you to upload files (images, spreadsheets, documents, PDFs) so you can share them with others. Slack also integrates with many other tools. You should definitely check Slack out if you want to organize your flow of communication: www.slack.com

Smartimage: to organize files

Smartimage is a tool to centralize, organize and share your files — including photographs, graphics, videos, and other file types. With Smartimage your content is all in one central place and can be accessed from anywhere. Additionally, you can organize all your files with tags to make them easily searchable. You can search by file names, keywords, and tags. Smartimage also has helpful downloading and sharing capabilities. For instance, if you upload your logo into Smartimage, others can choose from common file conversions when they download it. And the sharing capabilities allow users to share individual files or collections of files and they can even be password protected. Smartimage is a must have if you are having trouble keeping all of your files organized: www.smartimage.com

Smartimage Collection

Source: Smartimage

Toggl: to organize your time

Toggl is a simple tool that allows you to track your time spent on various projects. This is great for anyone who has to report their time. You just click to start tracking your time on a certain project. If you forget to click start, you can also enter in your time manually. Toggl also allows you to organize your time with tags. There are also features that enable you to export timesheets and create reports that you can send to your boss or customers. Manually remembering and tracking your time are things of the past with Toggl: www.toggl.com

Trello: to organize your tasks

Trello is a tool that you can use individually or with a team. It’s a board that contains a “list of lists” that are filled with cards. The cards contain items like ideas, to do’s, current tasks, and what you have recently finished. It’s very user friendly and your team will catch on to using it quickly. Trello also allows you to upload files from your computer, Box, Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive. There is also functionality to create labels, due dates, checklists and notifications. If you or your team are struggling to stay organized, you should definitely check out Trello: www.trello.com

Trello

Source: Trello

 

 

Hopefully this list was helpful and you found some apps your team can embrace to get you all more organized. Just remember, solely signing up for a tool won’t make your team more organized. It’s important that everyone on your team uses the tool together and on a regular basis. Stay organized!

5 Reasons to make time for categorizing and organizing company photographs

Camera on deskHow long does it take you to find the right images for a project? How long do you think it takes others in your department or company? When asked about digital clutter, Laura Stack, president of time-management consulting firm The Productivity Pro said, “Most people spend at least 30 minutes to an hour a day looking for things.”

If reducing your organization’s digital clutter isn’t enough, here are five more reasons why it’s time to categorize and organize your company’s photographs.

1. Minimize financial loss of lost or misplaced photographs

When things aren’t organized, things get lost. When things get lost, they need to be replaced. Your team’s digital workspace is no exception. Add up all the devices your team uses, the shared folders, and the various file organization practices each person uses and you’ve got plenty of opportunities for lost and misplaced files.
Keeping your brand’s photographs organized in a single place with a single organizational system helps minimize the cost of re-creating or re-purchasing photos. The larger your library of photographs and the more people contributing and access the content, the more important a consistent organizational system becomes.

2. Maintain brand consistency

Consistency is important for brand recognition. With consistency in your brand’s style and imagery, your audience can recognize your content – even without seeing your logo or brand name.
The more people creating and sharing content representing your brand, the bigger the challenge maintaining a consistent brand image can be. Control the photographs and images that are available for use in representing your brand to build and maintain a consistent brand look.

3. Stay focused on what you’re working on

Being organized helps you stay focused on what you want to achieve. When your end goal is a PowerPoint presentation, time looking for an image you need for that presentation is a distraction from completing that project. Wouldn’t you rather spend your time creating great looking content instead of searching through unorganized folders and emails.

4. Minimize time spent in email and other work communication channels

A poll estimated that U.S. workers spend 6.3 hours a day checking email. Fielding emails for image requests is time-consuming. Especially when there’s back and forth emails to get the exact photo someone’s looking for. A photo organizational structure that allows for quick, easy access of content will help reduce the emails asking for help.
Make an effort to create self-service access to your photo library for your team. If everyone shouldn’t have access to all the photographs, find a solution that allows you to control access.

5. Reduce stress

Have you ever scrambled to find a photograph right before a meeting or presentation? Or have you ever needed to field image requests while you’re out of office? Urgent requests for images can be stressful for the one needing the image and the one looking for the image. When your company photographs are categorized, organized and accessible, you know where to look and can find what you need quickly. There’s no need to wait for others to get back to you – reducing stress for all involved.

If you’re ready to categorize and organize your company’s photographs, check out these tips.

Image library organization tips for teams

organized kitchen counter
Pictures, copy, presentations, colors, symbols, and videos are ingredients to good content. The ingredients work together to create more informative and engaging content. Keep your ingredients organized so your content creators can find what they need, when they need it.

Think of helping a friend prepare some fish tacos in their kitchen. You’re asked to grab the lime juice from the refrigerator. If ingredients are haphazardly thrown into the refrigerator, you’re left to poking around the shelves until you find it. Like the importance of keeping a kitchen and refrigerator organized, you need to keep your images organized to save your team time.

We’ve got some tips and ideas to keep your content kitchen organized. Today is the time to stop throwing the lime juice behind the milk and start organizing ingredients in a way that’s intuitive to your teams.

Organize images into collections

The Kitchn recommends using upper shelves for leftovers, drinks, and ready-to-eat foods. Lower shelves are ideal for raw ingredients. The door is for condiments. Having collections of like ingredients gives you a starting place for finding what you need. Collections, or folders, act as these starting places where you can easily browse like groups of images.
When organizing your images, it can help to take a step back and think about what you have. Then separate your images into collections. You can further organize those collections into smaller buckets. We recommend not going deeper than two levels to keep your library easy to navigate. Think about if you had to open 5 doors in your refrigerator to access your lime juice. How would your guest ever find it? That’s where tags, searching and filtering come in.
Remember:

  • The goal of organizing images into collections, or folders, is to make it easy to drill down to exactly what you want to by following a very organic, logical, and easy-to-understand process.
  • Avoid creating collections, or folder, structures that go more than two levels deep. This reduces the amount of clicking in and out of collections to find the right images.

Make images searchable with tags and description

While in your friends kitchen, being able to look around in an organized refrigerator is one thing. What if you could type “lime juice” into your phone and it appeared in front of you? It might not work in your kitchen but it can be as easy as that for your image library. All it requires is a little work upfront applying tags and descriptions to the files and the right system to facilitate the searching.
There are three basic steps to applying tags and descriptions.

  1. Collect data. You can use metadata already attached to files and any existing folder structure to inform your tagging.
  2. Organize the data. Identify common themes and information about the images. Review the information and consolidate any redundancies or see if similar assets are labeled by different tags. Here are some ideas for metadata.
    Photos: Filename, description, photographer, keywords, rights
    Logo: Filename, description, recommended use

  3. Edit data. Start by applying common tags and descriptions in batch. Then apply data unique to individual files.

image tag and description metadata
To help connect user to file, they must both use the same vocabulary. Before you start applying tags to files, understand what’s being searched. By understanding how your users talk about and search for files, you can apply tags that are meaningful to them. For example, you ask your sales team if they search by product name, product number, or both. It also helps to understand the search capabilities of the system organizing your files.

Provide image information users need to know

Like expiration dates on food, or putting your name on food in the office kitchen, providing information about your files helps identify how to proceed with the given image. Consider once a user has found the right image, what else do they need to know? Include any information that helps the users appropriately use the image. Some things to consider are image rights, brand standards, and photographer.

Train and guide your team on image library organization

Communication with your team is important to maintaining an organized and accessible image library. Consistency in the way files are organized is critical. Those uploading images and applying keywords need to know how to do properly.

Clean and organize frequently

Cleaning your kitchen and refrigerator isn’t a one time deal. Neither is maintaining an organized image library. It’s something that requires weekly or even daily attention. But don’t feel overwhelmed. By spending a little time working on the above every week, you’ll prevent the big scary mess that would accumulate over time.