Industry Solutions
Rasmus Bergander (1)
Elina Dimitrova - image
Regina Lisa Schneider - image
Image_DAM Taxonomy

What is a Media/Digital Asset Management Taxonomy?

Rasmus Bergander (1)
Elina Dimitrova - image
Regina Lisa Schneider - image

A media/digital asset management taxonomy refers to a scheme of classification which is used to categorize and organize the metadata for digital assets. It is simply the data structure which a DAM and MAM system is built upon to make your digital assets findable through searching and filtering. For this reason alone, the taxonomy design must be the first priority when implementing a DAM or MAM system. 

Professionals within the media/digital asset management industry know and use the terms taxonomy and metadata on a daily basis. The issue is that most people outside of the industry have no clue what these terms mean, and why they are so important - which this article seeks to rectify.

Understanding taxonomy and metadata in a media/digital asset management system

The probably easiest way to illustrate the concept of taxonomy and metadata is by using the “Hello, my name is…” introductory sticker you often see at conferences or class reunions. 


There are different variations of the introductory sticker where they provide information about yourself regarding everything from names and professions, to where you live; in other words, an attribute of some sort. The same principle applies to media and digital assets. The media/digital asset management metadata is the collective term for all of the information an asset (or in the case of the introductory sticker: an individual) holds. One attribute (e.g. name) is a single piece of metadata. But in most likelihood, when working with digital assets, you will have access to a range of different pieces of information.

Now that we understand the role of metadata, we can continue the metaphor to explain media/digital asset management taxonomy. The taxonomy is simply the different information you have chosen to include on your introductory sticker, e.g. name, profession, city, etc. The more information, the better your ability to store them and perform much more detailed and advanced searches within the system. 

Taxonomy 2

Why is taxonomy important?

Having a media/digital asset management taxonomy is important for two main reasons:

  • Asset cataloguing
    A successful DAM/MAM implementation relies on cataloguing of all assets on the level of available metadata. Having an intuitive catalogue allows you and all other users to easily browse the different areas of the system to find the media/digital assets you are interested in. In very basic DAM/MAM implementations the taxonomy is equivalent to a “folder structure” and should be designed with the users in mind according to their behaviour - such as what files they need access to on a regular basis. In more advanced implementations, and where the data model supports it, taxonomy can be context sensitive, such that users only see fields or categories in a hierarchy that are related.
  • Searching
    Performing a basic search on a single attribute within a media/digital asset management system will often yield a great number of search results relevant to your query - often too many results to be of any use. Instead, by using multiple attributes (metadata) as part of your taxonomy, you can perform much more complex searches on additional attributes. For example: searching for “orange” as a Keyword rather than including other attributes such as “Description” where the word could have been used in a different context (orange as a color rather than the fruit).

Flexible and scalable MAM/DAM system from Vidispine

The most important part of a MAM/DAM system when it comes to taxonomy is to be flexible. You need to accept that the implementation will constantly change and evolve to meet the needs of the business and users. The initial taxonomy structure will most likely change over time to fit the users way of work, as will the need for different features and integrations you require to be able to expand your business. 

All of this is possible with Vidispine. We can help you store, manage and maximise the use of your media/digital assets. Contact us today for more information about digital asset management.

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Your Contacts for Media/Digital Asset Management Taxonomy

Rasmus Bergander (1)
Rasmus Bergander
Rest of the world
Elina Dimitrova - image
Elina Dimitrova
North America
Regina Lisa Schneider - image
Regina Lisa Schneider