Digital Asset Management or DAM is a complicated and wordy business. So we thought we’d explain some of the terms you might come across as you explore the world of DAM. To keep it simple we've devised our A - Z of DAM.


We’re not talking about your house or your stocks here, we’re talking about your Digital Assets, any files, such as a logo, image or video that has associated metadata like titles and descriptions and that is owned by an organisation.


One of the key uses of DAM is to help organisations with brand management. A DAM offers a central brand bank where companies can store and share all their brand materials including logos, banners, ads, and creative materials. itv1

Read how ITV used Asset Bank to relaunch their brand

Controlled vocabulary

A controlled vocabulary (also known as a keyword master list) is a keyword tag structure that is typically curated by admin users. This allows them to create a list of standardised keywords that are useful when describing their assets. The benefits of this particular attribute include consistent spelling of words (users pick from the list, rather than typing in their variation), hierarchies are supported (so tagging something as 'Mustang' will inherit parent keywords such as 'vehicle', 'car', and 'Ford') and synonyms can be added at any time (so if you notice searches are failing for 'male' you can add this as a synonym to the existing keyword 'man' and they will now point to the same assets).


Downloading  is an essential feature of any DAM system. Once users have found an asset, it’s likely they will want to download it and use it. Asset Bank allows you to set permissions to control which users can download assets. There is also the option to allow users to choose from useful download pre-sets (e.g. for Web, for Print) as well as giving them the ability to edit, crop, mask and reformat prior to download.Momodo-Asset-Bank Read how Momondo create download presets for popular social media sizes


Though smaller organisations are waking up to the potential, some larger Enterprises have been involved in DAM for 10 years or more. Enterprise DAM features and systems cater for the needs of these larger companies.

Faceted search

Faceted search makes searching for assets easier by offering parameters to help specify or filter search results. So you can say I'm only interested in Documents using a filter and then browsing or searching will only display matching document types until the filter is switched back off.


GIF is a popular image format and one of the many that most Digital Asset Management solutions can manage.


One of the fundamental decisions you will need to make when installing a DAM system is whether to host it on your own servers or in the cloud.


It is now quite common for companies to want their DAM to have integrated functionality with other related systems like CMS’s, Microsoft Word and InDesign.


Another popular image format. The compression it uses is generally lossy (i.e. you get a much smaller image that looks the same, however some of the original detail will be lost).


Keywording is the process by which words, phrases and terminology are tagged to assets as metadata, making them easier for users to find and identify which asset is best for their use.


A lightbox is a location where a user can store a collection of assets prior to previewing, sharing or downloading.lightbox-drag_1

Adding to a Lightbox


Metadata is the data tied to assets which help users find and select them. This data can consist of a large number of different attributes including keywords, descriptions, titles, geo-spatial information, file format, and file size.


Network-attached storage (NAS) is a file-level computer data storage server connected to a computer network allowing data access for any users in that network. NAS are commonly used in DAM to provide sufficient data storage for the larger original files.


Ontology, in a DAM sense, allows you to map all the different relationships between assets within your system.

Pictures shutterstock_85923595-1 A Picture

In our experience pictures, specifically images but also logos, graphics and ads, are the most common asset uploaded to a DAM.


REST (Representational State Transfer) is a well established architecture that allows for a minimum amount of data to be passed from one computer programme to another. REST can be used whenever HTTP is being used and it works in a similar way to how a browser accesses a website, a program accesses a URL which provides data about the resource.


If your DAM doesn't allow you to successfully search for assets then we suggest you hand it back to the vendor! The ability to search for assets is a core component of any Digital Asset Management system.


Taxonomy refers to the hierarchical classification of assets, including, for example categories, sub categories and then the assets themselves. This is often used to define a structure which can be employed by users to browse your DAM by category as opposed to using search alone. Users The golden rule of DAM is make sure it works for your users!400.shutterstock_144273697 A Happy DAM user


An increasingly popular type of asset you might need to store and share via your DAM.


You might want to protect your images in your DAM, especially if it is public facing, by adding a Watermark of your logo onto all of your content. We explore the pros and cons of watermarking in this blog.


XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a protocol for creating markup language which describes the structure of data so that it can be exchanged between two systems.


YCbCr is a family of colour spaces used as a part of the colour image pipeline in video and digital photography systems.


Zip files are archive files used to compress and transport (typically by email) a file or a collection of related files. So that's it - an A-Z of DAM.

Did we miss anything? Please let us know!

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