Is it an archive or a black hole?

February 24, 2017 mallindine

Is it an archive or a black hole?

Saint Matthew, in the Bible, says, “Seek and you will find.” In the digital age, searching has got a lot easier, but there are billions of pieces of content. So these day’s archives need to make it easy for users to find their assets otherwise, they may as well be a black hole.

The jargon used that helps users find assets is ‘metadata’. Think of it as an index-card for the photograph, film, audio, artwork, or whatever else the asset is.  Good metadata means people can find what they want – this information is stored with the assets. Bad – or missing – metadata results in swearing at the computer and walking away.

The basics of good key wording are a must to find content that is relevant to the user and help an archive deliver real value.
Here are our top 5 tips to help users find their perfect piece of digital content

  1. Invest in having quality keywords applied to the assets. A key wording module as part of the digital asset management system or a key wording expert to accurately apply the correct tags will make all the difference.
  1. The good old-fashioned Browse button helps the user explore – it can prompt the searcher to go further if used and then guide them to find a specific asset.
  2. Group assets into a thematic collection. This can drive the user to sets of pictures or images that they might otherwise never know about, let alone find. The Royal Museums Greenwich displays a very good example of this, and you can see how they work featured collections to their advantage. Try searches using their site link – for very specific things –   15th and 16th-century portraits is a lovely collection to use:
  3. Add a featured collection on the homepage to raise its profile. VisitBritain Images has various featured collections on its homepage, which range from the obvious, like Heritage Britain, or Year of the English Garden or often overlooked but important subjects like Accessibility or LBGT.
  4. Utilise Advanced Searching – This assists users to have more control over what is returned, using options within the system. The VisitBritain Images Advanced Search allows people several useful parameters such as image number, location, keywords, picture orientation, stills, footage. Users can further refine the search or save it as well.If users are finding it hard to use the archive or find assets check out Capture Express. The Capture platform is so flexible and customisable that any search systems found elsewhere can be emulated, and built into clients’ websites. So if you find a method on another website, which you think is effective in leading users to find assets or purchase online, we can develop something similar and install it on client’s site. Just ask our techies!  Find out more about Capture EXPRESS here:

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