How is digital asset management different from an image database?

schedule 4 min

The functional range of a modern DAM system is much more diverse and extensive than that of a simple image database. You can learn about the biggest differences between the two types of systems in the following article.

An overview of the differences

The scope of an asset management system clearly exceeds the scope of a simple image database. An image database usually only manages images, graphic data (e.g. JPG, TIF, RAW, PNG, etc.) and video data (e.g. MP4, MPEG, etc.) in a simple way.

In contrast to an image database, an asset management system takes on significantly more tasks and offers special functions for this purpose in order to simplify and optimize the daily work with digital assets. Modern DAM systems therefore have the following functions, for example:

  • ull text search and keywording
    Manual or automatic keywording allows assets to be found more quickly across folders and categories during a subsequent search. The tedious search on hard drives, network drives and cloud storage services such as Dropbox is eliminated.
  • Metadata management and categories
    Optimized metadata management based on file-specific metadata (date, file size, resolution, color information, etc.) or freely definable metadata (e.g. categories, license date, responsible contact person, etc.) ensures increased data quality.
  • Version management
    Any version of an asset or file can be saved and restored at a later time if required. Changes to image and media data can be commented on and remain transparent and traceable.
  • Workflows
    Workflows can be used to map any processes in order to optimally control an asset from its creation to its distribution. The data quality and the control over the data increases.
  • Conversion and distribution
    The distribution of digital assets to any recipient and the publication in any channel (e.g. website, online store, print catalog) is partially or fully automated. Assets are automatically converted for the respective channel and the file format, file size and color settings can be adjusted based on presets and saved profiles. Optionally, images can also be watermarked or automatically cropped.
  • Collaboration within the team and with suppliers
    Data exchange with graphic designers, agencies, dealers and end customers can be simplified and accelerated via shopping carts and web portals. Alternative solutions such as sending files by e-mail, the use of cloud storage services (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive or ownCloud) are no longer necessary. Internal log functions also make it possible to track every data change if required.
  • Integration into existing system landscapes
    Modern DAM systems are very specialized in what they do. Therefore, it is necessary for these digital asset management systems to exchange information with other software solutions. This automatic or manual exchange of information and data with PIM systems, ERP systems, websites, online stores and many other systems takes place via plug-ins or interfaces. For example, ready-made plug-ins are available for Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign, Akeneo-PIM or Magento. A universal interface in the form of a RestAPI offers further possibilities for data exchange with other systems.


Significantly more possibilities with DAM

For the various tasks that a digital asset management system can take on, the DAM system thus provides special functions and differentiates itself from a simple image database. These functions support the user in his daily work by fully automating and simplifying many work steps through the DAM.

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Patrick Krisch

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