A reader asked the question ‘how long does it take to upload assets to a DAM with metadata?’ Project Managers (among others) love to know the answer to this question in a clear and concise manner so they can estimate time since this helps them create a schedule. The simple answer is upload times will vary based on several factors:
- Upload Process
How simple or complex is the upload process with the DAM system you are using? This is worth looking at when evaluating any DAM system from any vendor while shopping around. Bring a set of your own assets and have them show you how to upload step-by-step, start to finish. Then you try doing it yourself. No ‘wizard behind the curtains‘ need apply. Just reality, thank you. This way you know what is involved upfront when it comes to adding new assets. And adding metadata. This may not be for the faint of heart (sometimes due to the technical nature), but it should not involve any hocus pocus in the user nor admin perspective. The upload process may be possible in volume if needed, but what are the limits?
The upload process does take people to upload at some point. No one is born with the knowledge of how uploading is done regardless of how easy or complex it really is. Some vendors will do the uploading for you for a fee. It all depends on how reliant you want to be on external groups to complete this work and, of course, how much it costs for one group to upload vs. another group to complete. The core competency of a group may be another factor to strongly consider along with cost, time and convenience.
Who is doing the uploading to the DAM? How much experience do they have doing it? The more experience often means the more efficiently and accurately they can complete the upload. If this is true, little or no corrections should be necessary. Doing it right the first time helps a lot. Adding additional metadata later should be an option as well…in bulk as well as on a per asset basis.
- Metadata available
When it comes to core competency and institutional knowledge, metadata is one of the most contested subjects when it comes to implementing a Digital Asset Management solution. Who will create the metadata and where will it come from? If you want to know something about your asset, that is the purpose of metadata. If you want to know about the asset’s content, that is metadata. If you want to find assets again (not visually), you search the values within the metadata fields that exist (even if you have a Google-like search). All to often, it is left to the last person standing around to work on the metadata because few professionals actually want to describe the assets in detail that is needed. Not everyone has the background, subject knowledge nor institutional knowledge needed to apply the required metadata to assets with any particular consistency in order to make those assets searchable. Finding something you did not necessarily work on is the end goal. A DAM is only as good as its metadata. Without metadata, a DAM is just another digital dumping ground. Metadata is in part what makes assets valuable and make the asset ROI go up by finding it again, then reusing or re-purposing the asset repeatedly. The more metadata fields you have, the longer it will take to fill them in and the longer the upload process. The fewer fields of metadata, the less information you have about your asset. What matters is having a manageable number of metadata fields for the information you need for each asset. No metadata means less time uploading, but no searchability either.
- Applying/Embedding Metadata to Assets
How do you apply metadata to the asset(s) in the DAM? Yes, applying metadata is part of the upload process whether metadata is:
- Embedded into assets before upload to DAM
- Associated/embedded to assets during upload to DAM
- Associated with assets after they are uploaded to DAM
How long the process takes will depend on how many metadata fields do you have/need and how complex the metadata is to acquire/apply/associate/embed. Obviously, the more metadata fields you need (yes, need) should reflect the amount information the organization needs to know about those assets for the long term. Not just the short term. Metadata is not necessarily for those who apply it, but the assets should be usable and searchable for all who can access the assets.
If embedding the metadata is not an option (not all assets can have embedded metadata), I am a fan of uploading assets and applying metadata upon upload in bulk. Every asset must have metadata. Making some metadata fields required in order to upload is one way of making sure it actually happens.
- Assets ready
It helps to have assets ready to upload. Having a delivery schedule to know when assets will be ready for upload could help to instead of uploading one asset at a time. Assets with larger file sizes (example: 1 GB) will obviously take longer to upload than smaller assets (example: 300 kB). The number of assets uploaded at a time will also determine the total upload time. Uploading in volume can save time.
Lastly, just because an asset has been uploaded to a DAM does not necessarily mean it will be instantly available. This delay (of seconds to minutes) in availability can depend on the processes happening in the background such as:
- Preview generation
- Optical Character Recognition (for documents)
- Propagation of metadata values for searchability
- Proxy generation
- Thumbnail generation
So let’s review…
In order to bake a pie, I mean upload assets to a DAM, you need the following ingredients:
- Time (which can be measured and analyzed to create a metric)
- Training (explaining and demonstrating how to upload assets properly with the needed metadata) with documentation (in case they don’t remember everything)
- Access to the DAM with permissions to upload
- Metadata (information about the assets)
- Assets (yes, the assets usually have to exist first. There are rare exceptions)
If you don’t have the time for any of this, good luck in finding assets acquired/created/uploaded by others.
Let us say you have trained people who will upload to the DAM and provided documentation to reference when needed. The number of assets which are uploaded to a DAM by any individual can be counted within a specific time frame. The total number of minutes/hours spent on that person’s particular set of assets uploaded from start to finish can be counted as well. Once you count the number of assets and time spent uploading those assets, you will be able to create a time metric, average time and even performance goals for uploads. As mentioned before, I have issued DAM awards on a monthly basis for the most number of assets uploaded by the roles who do the actual uploading of assets regularly. Consider how much praise you get at your job on a regular basis. Now imagine how excited, motivated, even competitive they become when a DAM award is issued without bias to the top performing person who uploads. Uploading rates can be measured. There is a poll for this as well.
How long does it take to upload assets to a DAM with metadata?