It’s common for a DAM manager to decide that production people – writers, designers, producers, and editors – are best positioned to add metadata to their assets as they finalize and upload them into the DAM. It’s not a crazy idea. They’re generating the content in the first place, and they have the ability to supply unique and valuable metadata info. But making them the exclusive arbiters of metadata will likely lead to inconsistencies, inefficiencies, and confusion across the system.
This misstep comes from underestimating the amount of time it takes to properly tag media, and underestimating the value of a rigorous, consistent metadata process. Production teams have complex, highly-skilled, full-time jobs already. Adding the complex, highly-skilled, full-time job of creating and applying consistent metadata is a setup for disappointment. New creative tasks and project deadlines in their ‘day jobs’ will always take precedence over careful attention to tagging.
Two more reasons:
- Even if individual folks take to it, it’s hard to train for consistency across large teams and/or rotating freelancers.
- Without realizing it, they’re likely to exhibit some ‘tunnel-vision,’ tagging things in their area of expertise, in their own way, but not really with the larger ecosystem in mind.
Tagging seems easy, but doing it well, and sustainably, is deceptively hard. The people assigned to cataloging and tagging need to be dedicated to the task, equipped with the skill set to apply metadata with care, precision, and coherence across all projects coming in.
If you can, appoint one person to be the tagging czar. If this isn’t an option, you’ll need to deputize a few people to take a slice of the responsibility and ensure that they are on the same page for all things metadata.