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How do I enforce a file naming convention?

In order to enforce a file naming convention in any organization, just follow these simple steps…

  1. Establish and define a clear file naming convention which can scale up in the long term for many years. (Not just until next week)
  2. Document the file naming convention in writing with guidelines and samples. Make the documentation available to everyone and distribute it to everyone. Have one version of the guidelines available for everyone to follow, even if it is updated for any reason. Share a link to it.
  3. Train people on how to use the file naming convention properly.
  4. Assess the people who were trained (give them a written test) by having them demonstrate they understand and can follow the file naming convention guidelines.
  5. Follow the file naming convention after the training and assessments.
  6. Enforce it. Keep everyone equally accountable.
      • When someone has violated the file naming convention, let them and their supervisor know by email. Every time. You can only violate the rules so many times. Three strikes and you are out.
      • The first time the file naming convention is not followed, email the person those guidelines again and have them correct the file name(s) themselves within the same business day. Have them communicate once the file name(s) has been corrected.
      • The second time the file naming convention is not followed, give them remedial training and the assessment again. Then, have them correct the file name(s) themselves within the same business day. Have them communicate once the file name(s) has been corrected.
      • The third time the file naming convention is not followed, visit them with the file naming convention bat.

    Thank you for using the established file naming convention. Have a nice day.

The file naming convention bat is now available in black and blue, with accents of red. For those who prefer Cricket, we have one of those models available as well. Later, we will be reviewing how to enforce completed metadata fields in a DAM.

Let us know when you are ready for some vendor neutral consulting on Digital Asset Management.


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Do you train and support your DAM users?


Some organizations choose to train, support and even provide written documentation on how to use the Digital Asset Management solution with their workflows. Does your organization train and provide ongoing support to their own DAM users? Take the poll


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How can I train DAM users remotely?


On a weekly basis, I need to train new DAM users as well as give quick tutorials to current DAM users on specific aspects of the DAM.

There are two ways I can train anyone regardless of where they are in the world as long as they have an internet connection. Neither involves expensive, time-consuming travel. Why should anyone spend a day traveling just to meet for an hour of training?

I regularly get a call, email or instant message with a specific DAM question. I often forward them a link from an intranet wiki with relevant information and supporting documentation to answer their questions. The wiki includes a FAQ page compiled of Frequently Asked Questions which links back to related parts of the DAM manual for details. This can include step by step directions on how to perform a specific task in the DAM. This is my indirect way to train, support and reinforce the ways to use the DAM.

Then, there is the direct way. If they need further assistance, we can setup a quick web conferencing session (a screen sharing conference call).  Most people are familiar with the idea of the conference call where many people can call one phone number to collaborate simply by voice. Now, add the component of sharing your computer screen with the people you are speaking with. Pull up the DAM on your computer screen so everyone can follow along, see your cursor and watch step-by-step motions during the training. Note that everyone needs a fast, reliable internet connection to do this and the person sharing their screen will need to really slow down their motions for the cursor to be followed because there is often a small delay between what is said and what is seen when screen sharing. If training involves people outside of my time zone, I am careful to schedule training when it is convenient for the majority, but we  are certainly not limited to the 9am to 5pm schedule any longer (that can be good and bad, depending what the priority happens to be).

There are several web conferencing tools available whether they are free or paid, but all . Some of the well-known free web conferencing services are quite good. The main differences I have noticed with the paid versions of web conferencing are often:

  • Better security
  • More reliability
  • More options (like built-in polling and IM)
  • Allow more users at one time on the same web conference

I have heard of some organizations recording and making available a series of  ‘how-to’ videos  to supplement their written documentation about how to use  the DAM.  This can be more time-consuming in the creation of these videos and if your DAM system ever upgrades, those videos may need to be updated to reflect new (often improved) changes to workflow. Luckily, Web conferences can also be recorded and watched on demand at a later date.

Of course, all these tools can be used for so much more than just DAM training and support. As an early adopter to these tools, I have seen many naysayers begin to eventually adopt the same tools (for the same reason$). It is amazing how efficient and effective tools can grow so rapidly in popularly. I hope this gives a helpful glimpse of how training can be done regardless of geographic location.

How do you train your remote DAM users?


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How do I read this DAM documentation?


Don’t we love reading DAM documentation?  I am not referring to the pretty, glossy brochures you get from marketing that has to look great in order to sell you the product. I am referring to the actual DAM documentation which supposedly explains how the DAM works like the guides, manuals, feature sets, configuration options, compendiums of data and volumes of instructions. Instructions are always so easy to read, aren’t they?

Many DAM vendors are reluctant to show us their documentation until we have signed a contract with them. Then we are often stuck trying to understand these things. After we review the tables of contents and volumes of paperwork, we quickly begin to understand why we pay annual support fees for the DAM. We pay them to read and understand their own documentation.

Personally, I have read over the DAM documentation for a few DAM solutions I have used and had the same frustration, but I decided to do something about it. Here is a solution to have up to date, easy to use, easy to navigate documentation:

First, I asked for all the latest documentation (yes, I asked for more) the vendor had for their DAM product. It would help if the vendors updated their documentation as often as they updated the product itself.

Second, I wanted to know everything that was NOT covered in their documentation, such as the new features. If I had a question on how to do something with the DAM which was not discussed in the documentation, I asked. My questions were often forwarded directly to the engineers for an answer. This sometimes exposed more features and little known facts about the functionality of the product.

Then, with the permission of the vendor, I rewrote the documentation. Yes, it was all technical writing. I also had to translate some parts from ‘engineer speak’ back into English. One of the most useful things I did was I wrote step by step directions, complimented with screen shots to illustrate these steps.

I purposely:

  • was not about to re-write the documentation into big thick paper manuals.
  • was not about to print binders full of paper for each DAM user to refer to.
  • was not about to chisel the documentation onto stone tablets.
  • was not going to issue an eraser with each binder for changes.
  • was not about to switch out endless pages per binder for changes.
  • was not about to use a PDF because a user might accidentally refer to an older version of  a PDF with different information which would not help them access immediate, up-to-date results.

This is the 21st century and we have better tools for documentation that occasionally changes, especially since we use computers anyhow.  Welcome to the Web 2.o method of documentation. What I used was an enterprise wiki on our intranet. The enterprise wiki is open to anyone working within our organization’s network at any time from anywhere. The wiki is fully searchable and is kept up to date with latest information at all times. It is updated by me or anyone I assign to edit it. Any changes can be applied to the wiki in seconds. There is full version control, even down to a single character change. Every user can get an email update alerting them of any recent changes to the documentation.

How long did it take me to create the documentation on a wiki? It took me the same amount of time to write on this wiki than it would have as a PDF or paper, but it only takes seconds to update and disseminate to all users. Try that with paper or PDF.

Who uses wikis for their own business? Plenty of businesses are using wikis as a modern dissemination tool for documentation.

Want your own wiki for your own documentation, reports, etc? Do a Google search on wiki or enterprise wiki.

My question to all the vendors is when will they begin offering their documentation as a wiki for their clients as well as their own sanity?