During my time in the creative services and Web technology industries, a point of frustration has been that a lot of potentially productive energy is squandered as practitioners argue about whether a solution is one or more of the following:
- Web Content Management (WCM) or
- Digital Asset Management (DAM) or
- Enterprise Content Management (ECM) or
- Learning Content Management (LCM) or
- Some Other Acronym
So that we may bypass such distractions, let me say the following:
- All digital assets are content; however…
- Not all content can be considered an asset.
- Content must provide organizational value to be considered digital asset.
That being said, my question is what makes a digital liability?
There are many attributes about a content item that can diminish its value. These are a few that come to mind:
- Digital master is of insufficient resolution, improper color space, or inadequate frame rate (for video).
- Content is improperly described by metadata.
- Multiple replicas (or approximations) of a content item are stored many different locations. This can include copies nested in files system directories or stored in offline media.
- Organizational technologies or processes don’t provide adequate reuse/repurposing opportunities.
- Inconsistent modifications among language derivatives of content items.
- Orphaned files where renditions, or proxies become detached from their source files
- Inadequate archival policy
- Compound content (from Quark, HTML, InDesign, etc.) that is ‘unaware’ of the locations of its supporting files such as photos and illustrations.
In short, if your content can’t be found, used, transformed, or shared then it is a digital liability.