The functionality and working of Assets relies heavily on metadata so it is important to be aware of what it is and how to use it.
What is metadata?
Metadata is data that describes specific aspects of a file:
- When it was created
- Which application was used to create it
- Who created it
- What type of file it is
- What the size of the file is
- ...and much, much more
All this information is stored within the file itself, meaning that when you move the file (for example by sending it to someone else or by uploading it to Assets), the metadata is moved with it.
When working with files on a computer, you will come across metadata everywhere: from simply viewing a file in a folder to right-clicking a file and bringing up the Properties dialog box on Windows or the Get Info dialog box on MacOS.
Figure: Metadata of a file is shown in many different places such as in folders and in the Properties window.
Types of metadata
Some metadata is very technical (such as the file size and file type) while other metadata describes the content of the file (such as a description, tags, or category).
How metadata is added
Metadata can be added automatically (for example by a digital camera or a word processor), or it can be added manually.
About changing metadata
Some of the metadata cannot be changed (such as the date and time when the file was created), while other metadata can be freely edited (such as a description).
Note: Another scenario in which a metadata field cannot be edited is when one or more copies of a file is made. The system can be configured in such a way that fields that hold sensitive data (such as copyright information) can only be edited in the original file, not in the copies of the file.
Metadata and Assets
You will see metadata displayed throughout Assets and use metadata whenever you perform a search. When you have sufficient access rights, you can also change metadata.
The more metadata is added to a file, the more likely it is that the file is found when searching for it.
- Add a description in your own words of what can be seen in the image or video.
- Add copyright information to show who the owner of the image or video is including contact details.
- Use tags to describe various aspects of the content of a file. A color image of a red apple taken in a studio could for example have the tags: "apple", "fruit", "red", "food", "healthy eating", "photography", "studio shot", "color image".
- Add a rating when you are asked to review a selection of images. You could give an image that you prefer to see used as the opening image of a story 5 stars while giving your second choice 4 stars and your third choice 3 stars.
Locations in Assets where you will come across metadata
Metadata is displayed in various locations in Assets.
1. Search field. When entering a search term in the Search field, Assets will find all files that have that term anywhere in the metadata.
2. Found files. Basic metadata such as the file name and rating is displayed together with the preview of the file.
3. Filter panel. After performing a search, the results can be further narrowed down by applying a filter for example by selecting a tag. This is also based on metadata.
4. Metadata panel. When one or more files are selected, the metadata of these files is shown in the Metadata panel. When you want to edit the metadata, you would typically do so in this panel.
Metadata and checked-out files
When an file is checked-out by a user, it should not be possible for other users to make changes to the content of that file.
This rule does not apply to the metadata of the checked-out file: it is still possible to edit the metadata by using Assets while the file is checked-out.
When the checked-out file is checked-in again, any changes to the metadata of the file that were made by other users while the file was checked-out are kept; any changes to the metadata of the file that were made by the user who checked-out the file are lost.
Assets contains more than 400 different metadata fields. Showing the fields that you regularly work with while hiding those that you don't need makes sure that you work quickly and efficiently in Assets.
You can change the displayed metadata fields in the Filter panel, the Search results panel and the Metadata panel.
Step 1. In any of these areas, click the Configure Metadata icon in the top right corner.
Figure: The Configure Metadata icon in the Metadata panel.
Step 2. In the panel that appears, select the metadata fields that you want to show and clear the selections for the metadata fields that you want to hide. Use the Search field to quickly find fields.
Tip: To view information about the field in a tooltip, hover your mouse over the name.
Step 3. Click Apply.
Info: This feature requires Assets 6.93 or higher.
Metadata fields that provide context or important information such as a description, source, or copyright information, often include a URL. Because these URLs are not clickable, it can be cumbersome to access this information.
When metadata fields in the Metadata panel contain URLs, these URLs are therefore detected and displayed below the field as hyperlinks.
This applies to the following types of fields:
- Multi-line fields such as the Description field.
- Multi-value fields such as the Tags field (requires Assets 6.96 or higher).
Clicking a hyperlink opens it in a new browser tab. Changing a displayed hyperlink is done by editing the URL in the field.
URLs need to have a protocol (HTTP or HTTPS) followed by '://' to be detected.
Note: Only the syntax of the URL is checked, not if it links to an existing web address.
At some point, it may be needed to create an overview of all the metadata fields and their values (if any) of particular files. This can be done by creating a Metadata report. This will create a report in .csv format which can be further worked on, for instance as a spreadsheet.
A report can be created for selected files or for all found files.
Step 1. Locate the files that need to be included in the report.
Step 2. (Optional) When a report needs to be created based on selected files only, select these files.
Step 3. Right-click a file and from the context menu choose Download metadata report.
The Metadata report dialog appears.
The look and functionality of the dialog depends on the version of Assets used.
Info: Use the filter to only show information for one version:
For Assets 6.52 or higher
Step 4. Select the metadata fields that need to be included in the report.
Step 5. In Download a report for, select one of the options:
- Selected files: Creates a report for the currently selected files.
- All found files: Creates a report for all files that match the current folder, query, and filters.
Step 6. Click Download.
The report is created in the form of a CSV file:
- When one file was selected, the name is the name of the file that was selected.
- When more than one file was selected, the name of the file indicates the number of reports it contains.
Example: 'Metadata report - 2 files.csv'.
- When 'All found files' was selected, the name of the file indicates the number of entries it contains.
Example: 'Metadata report - 592 files.csv'.
Note: The current query is used; the initial count may vary from the actual number of files found.
For Assets 6.51 or earlier
Step 4. Select the metadata fields that need to be included in the report.
Step 5. Click Apply to create the report.
The report is created:
- When one file was selected, a CSV file is created. The name is the name of the file that was selected.
- When more than one file was selected, a compressed file in .zip format is created. The name of the file indicates the number of reports it contains. Example: ' Metadata report - 2 files.zip'.
Working with taxonomies
When a value is added to a metadata field it is important that this value is correctly entered. This is preferably done by all users using a generally used term and the correct spelling. When this is not consistently done the chance exists that the file is not included in the search results when users search for the file (using these general terms and correct spelling).
To streamline this process, a metadata field can be set up to use a 'taxonomy list' from which the user can choose a predefined value to use. This is typically a list in a hierarchical structure.
Example: Here, a list of European cities is used:
Using taxonomies saves users from having to enter the term manually and thereby ensures consistent input.
For more information, see Using taxonomy values to populate metadata fields in Assets Server.
Where taxonomies can be used
As with all other metadata, taxonomies can be added in the Metadata panel and searched on in the Filter.
Determining which fields are set up with taxonomy lists
Metadata fields that are linked to a taxonomy list can be recognized by the '>' character on the right side of the field.
Figure: Metadata fields that are linked to a taxonomy list can be recognized by a '>' character.
Clicking the field will open the Taxonomy Panel that contains the Taxonomy Tree for that field. It is used for viewing which values are assigned to that field, assigning new values or removing assigned values.
Assigning taxonomy values
Step 1. Select one or more files to which you want to add taxonomy values.
Step 2. Access the Metadata panel and click a field that has taxonomy assigned to it.
The Taxonomy Panel that contains the Taxonomy Tree for that field appears.
Step 3. Locate the value that you want to add by using the Filter field and / or by expanding grouped values.
Tips for using the filter:
Step 4. Click the value that you want to assign.
Tip: Click it again to remove the assignment.
Note: Depending on how Assets is configured, you can either select a single value or multiple values; and you can either select a value from any level of the structure or only from the lowest level.
Step 5. To save your change, do one of the following:
- Click the Back button at the top of the Metadata panel
- Select a different file or de-select the currently selected files by clicking an empty area in the search results pane.