how ikea manages metadata

Taxonomy, IKEA and a Simple 3 Step Way to Think About Metadata

Whenever we start a DAM implementation, that is - migrating thousands and sometimes millions of digital creative files into an online creative library - the one area most clients get nervous about is taxonomy.  

In many cases, it has never been properly done or if it has, the structure is not adhered to consistently due to managing creative assets on messy shared drives and consumer sync systems - which inherently are not set up to control and manage metadata.

In its most simplistic level, taxonomy is basically the standard of how things are named. Take for example IKEA's methodology for naming its products by category - it may be a little offbeat, but it is consistent and makes creating catalogs and online marketing materials easy. (It kind of reminds us of how we name our servers at IntelligenceBank after fish and cold war heroes).

A special thanks to Quartz for posting the below video: 

While the IKEA example is interesting and good for products, when managing massive volumes of creative assets in a system, there are several types of ways to categorize files using a structured taxonomy and metadata (more on this subject to be found here).  When files are uploaded one by one or in bulk, metadata can automatically be extracted from the files into the search engine, and likewise, when you edit files online, new metadata you add gets embedded in the file and 'travels' with the file even when it's been downloaded and used elsewhere.  

iea naming conventions

When working with clients new to creating taxonomies and managing metadata, this is how we discuss it with them. There are three basic types of metadata:  

1. Keyword Metadata - these are a range of words that describe the contents of the file, such as cute, puppy, cavoodle, pet, dog, canine.

2. File Metadata - are technical metadata from the source such as camera used, file size, GPS coordinates, file format, etc, or data such as copyright that the photographer or videographer may have embedded before it gets to the marketing department.

3. Controlled Vocabularies - at IntelligenceBank, we also encourage our clients to use two types of controlled vocabularies, which presents users a picklist of pre-defined, suggested keywords and tags that can be used when uploading files and also searching for files. Controlled vocabularies are our favorite type of metadata, as this gives marketers a way to easily put a taxonomy framework around their creative. Importantly, controlled vocabularies not only map the creative to the business (by product, market, theme, etc) - but it also instills and reinforces a consistent language for marketing. 

One of the biggest problems many marketing departments face is that they have millions of creative files with inconsistent naming conventions. Migrating to a DAM gives marketing teams the perfect opportunity to revisit or set up a taxonomy structure for the first time. 

If you want to learn more about Taxonomy structures, or setting up a functioning DAM, please contact our friendly customer service team.

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