Digital asset management

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Operations on a collection of digital assets requires the use of a computer application implementing digital asset management (DAM) to ensure that the owner, and possibly their delegates, can perform operations on the data files.

Management operations on digital assets[edit]


To make a data object into a digital asset it must first be brought into the digital domain as a computer file, or Digital object.

Applications implement digital asset management (DAM) by importing them from the analog and/or digital domains (by Encoding, Scanning, optical character recognition, etc.) or by authoring them as new objects.


A primary function of a DAM system is to make assets easily available to it users by providing a searchable index that supports retrieval of assets by their content and/or Metadata. The cataloging function is usually part of the intake process for new assets.

Access control[edit]

The distribution of digital assets is not actually part of their management, except in the setting of access rights. The simplest situation is the purchase of an asset for personal use, like a video, movie or track of music. Some applications use a form of DRM to control access to features depending on what options are included in the purchase, or leasing, agreement. This permits the distribution of a single software package to all customers while creating the illusion of different levels of functionality as a sales tool.


The term "media asset management" (MAM) may be used in reference to DAM applied to the sub-set of digital objects commonly considered "media", namely audio recordings, photos, and videos. Any editing process that involves media, especially video, can make use of a MAM to access media components to be edited together, or to be combined with a live feed, in a fluent manner. A MAM typically offers at least one searchable index of the images and videos it contains constructed from metadata harvested from the images using pattern recognition, or input manually.[1][2][3]


Smaller DAM systems are easier to categorize as to content and usage as they are used in a particular operational context, for instance in video production systems. The key differentiators between them are the types of input encoders used for creating digital copies of assets to bring them under management, and the output decoders and/or formatters used to make them usable as documents and/or online resources. The metadata of a content item can serve as a guide to the selection of the codec(s) needed to handle the content during processing, and may be of use when applying access control rules to enforce authorization policy.

Assets that require particular technology to be used in a work flow need to have their requirements for bandwidth, latency, and access control considered in the design of the tools that create or store them, and in the architecture of the system that distributes and archives them.

When not being worked on assets can be held in a DAM in a variety of formats including blob (binary large object in a database) or as a file in a normal file system, that are "cheaper" to store than the form needed during operations on them. This makes it possible to implement a large scale DAM as an assembly of high performance processing systems in a network with a high density storage solution at its centre.

Media asset issues[edit]

An asset can exist in several formats and in a sequence of versions. The digital version of the original asset is generally captured in as high a resolution, colour depth, and (if applicable) frame rate as will be need to ensure that results are of acceptable quality for the end-use. There can also be thumbnail copies of lower quality for use in visual indexing.

Metadata for an asset can include its packaging, encoding, provenance, ownership and access rights, and location of original creation. It is used to provide hints to the tools and systems used to work on, or with, the asset about how it should be handled and displayed.

Types of systems[edit]

Digital asset management systems fall into these types:[4]

  • Brand management system – to enforce brand presentation within an organization by making the approved logos, fonts, and product images easily available.
  • Library or Archive – for bulk storage of infrequently changing video or photo assets.
  • Production management systems – for handling assets being created on the fly for use in live media production or as visual effects for use in gaming applications, TV, or films.
  • Streaming – for on-demand delivery of digital content, like TV shows or movies, to end users on behalf of digital retailers

All of these types will include features for work-flow management, collaboration, project-management, and revision control.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Imagen (12 July 2018). "What is Media Asset Management?". A sub-set of Digital Asset Management – with its origins in the television and film industry – Media Asset Management solutions are well suited to the broadcast industry.
  2. ^ proMAX (12 July 2018). "Media Asset Management".
  3. ^ "Optimized media workflows". 12 July 2018. In the broadcast industry, organization and timing is everything. Whether needing to refer back to years of stored sports footage for a new story or needing to quickly create, approve, and broadcast or live stream a show ...
  4. ^ "Business Management Magazine no 39 – Optimizing Digital Asset Management (page 86)". Archived from the original on July 14, 2009.

Further reading[edit]

  • Diamond, David (2012). DAM Survival Guide: Digital Asset Management Initiative Planning.
  • Krogh, Peter (2009). The DAM Book, Second Edition. O'Reilly Media. ISBN 0-596-52357-2.
  • Austerberry, David (2006). Digital Asset Management, Second Edition. Focal Press. ISBN 0-240-80868-1.
  • Jacobsen, Jens; Schlenker, Tilman; Edwards, Lisa (2005). Implementing a Digital Asset Management System: For Animation, Computer Games, and Web Development. Focal Press. ISBN 0-240-80665-4.
  • Mauthe, Andreas; Thomas, Peter (2004). Professional Content Management Systems: Handling Digital Media Assets. Wiley. ISBN 0-470-85542-8.
  • Theresa Regli (2016). Digital and Marketing Asset Management. Rosenfeld. ISBN 1-933820-12-8.
  • Elizabeth Keathley (2014). Digital Asset Management: Content Architectures, Project Management, and Creating Order out of Media Chaos. APress. ISBN 1430263776.

External links[edit]