Accurate metadata, added quickly and cost-effectively, is the cornerstone of success for any image or video licensing business. But due to its unglamorous nature, it is often put down the batting order when it comes to system creation and overhauls. Here’s how to avoid falling into that trap and sabotaging your workflow:
Decide what metadata you need, and more importantly the metadata you don’t need, before deciding on software and workflow pathways. You might want to include the names of photographers, or display titles as well as captions – those are the sorts of questions which need to be resolved from the get go. Just make sure each piece of metadata is there for a good reason, as it will have to be entered, understood and used to enhance research and sales.
Make it easy to add metadata. It is the easiest thing in the world to buy software that promises a great library/web site, but doesn’t support certain types of metadata, or makes it hard to add. Once you know what metadata you want, look for the software that already services that metadata in a straightforward, efficient way, or can be adapted to do so.
Listen to the people who are going to add and use the metadata. It is amazing how often this doesn’t happen. It’s like designing a car without consulting the driver, or making shoes without letting real people try to walk in the designs. Actual keyworders and metadata entry specialists will cut straight through the software salesperson’s hype, and tell you exactly how much of a burden adding and using the metadata will be in practice.
Learn the lessons of those who have gone before. To avoid most of the beginner mistakes, it makes sense to talk to people who are expert in the field. You can get in touch with companies such as Picsell Media, or talk to image library consultants such as Will Carleton at Photoarchivenews.com.