DAM Guide – DAM software for indexing files

To find multimedia files stored and archived in your DAM system, it’s essential to index them. Digital asset management software automatically indexes files so that they can easily be found with a search engine.

DAM software uses several indexing techniques to help the file search process be as effective as possible. Several indexing techniques can be used on a single document or, conversely, a single technique can be used. The techniques used will depend mainly on the file itself (type, associated metadata, etc.), as well as on the preferences of the user.

No matter the technique used, the principle behind indexing remains the same. Key words or expressions are identified and selected. Those terms will make it possible to find files in the system using the search feature.

For indexing, the digital asset management software analyzes all of the metadata linked to a file and extracts the key terms. This makes it easier to search by the type of document, creator, publication date, format, etc.

The exchangeable image file (EXIF) format is only for photos or videos taken with a digital device. The EXIF format provides technical information about the file: information on the device (make and model), on its settings (aperture, shutter speed, exposure, focal length, ISO, etc.), geographic information, and time and date stamps for when the image was captured. All of those metadata are generated when the file is created, i.e., when the image is captured. As such, the software generally identifies each piece of information as a key term.

The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) format can also apply to captured images, but also text files, for example. These metadata are generally entered by a human. Most often, they include information on the author (name, contact information) or on the copyright, as well as descriptive information. Because of the variety in IPTC metadata, the software has to do a deeper analysis to index the file. With the IPTC format, the software sometimes has to analyze informational text, not just simple information like a date and a name.

The same is true for the Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) metadata format. This format is the most recent standard being offered as a replacement for IPTC. It’s used to provide various information, mainly about images (JPEG and PNG formats) or about PDF files. The metadata contained in this format include, for example, the title of the file, the name of its author, and the history of modifications.

Specifically intended for metadata attached to audio files (MP3 mainly), the ID3 format provides information like the title, the name of the performer, the album name, the year of release, the musical genre, and comments.

In concrete terms, to extract the metadata and analyze them, the software detects them based off of an identifier that marks the beginning of the information in the file itself, or else the software extracts the metadata from an attached file containing them.

As in the case of metadata, indexing that’s entered by a human user is text-based indexing. It involves tagging files directly with terms selected by the user so that the document can be found by the search engine. This type of indexing is not the best option to use when working with large volumes of multimedia files. Still, DAM software will allow you to index that way.

To facilitate that process, Ephoto Dam allows you to create an indexing template. The user then completes an indexing form and that indexing will be applied to any number of photos that the user selects.