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Developing a keyword strategy for effective asset management

Wednesday May 14th, 2008 by Jim Kidwell

So, you’ve got thousands and thousands of pictures, movies and PDF files in your asset manager. How exactly are you going to find the right asset when you need it? Keywords, my friend, keywords.

Adding keywords to your files makes the process of finding a file as simple as entering a keyword into QuickFind. Want a picture that contains a dog in it? Type “dog” in the QuickFind field and press enter. Portfolio displays all of the files that have the keyword “dog.”

You could go about creating a set of keywords in an ad-hoc fashion, adding new ones whenever you think that you’ll need them, but in the end you could have a huge number of keywords, making it difficult to find just what you need. For example, while one user might use the term “dog,” another might say “puppy” or “doggie” or use the plural “dogs.”

Creating a Master Keyword List in Extensis Portfolio

To make this entire process easier, Portfolio includes the ability to create a Master Keyword List. The administrator can require that users only apply keywords from the Master Keyword List to keep the set of keywords in use manageable.

When creating a Master Keyword List, I recommend at very least setting up a base list of guidelines.

  • How will you deal with the issue of plural nouns – will it always be “dog” or “dogs.”
  • Are there any specific terms in your industry that can have multiple meanings. For example, will you always use “automobile” or will you prefer “car,” perhaps “bicycle” instead of “bike.”
  • Do you have part numbers that you need to include as keywords?
  • Is there a specific granularity that you need to include? For example, the keyword “fish” might work for some catalogs, while others would need more detail, such as “bass,” “shark,” and “tuna.”
  • Also, for consistency, decide upon a capitalization strategy. I typically require keywords to all be lowercase, but you may alternately choose title case with an initial capital.

After you create your guidelines, you can then create your master list of keywords and get a more accurate representation of what’s in your catalog. You’ll also be able to add new keywords judiciously, and keep your catalogs fairly clean and easy to search.