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Managing digital assets overview (SharePoint Server 2010)

Published: May 12, 2010

This article describes digital assets (also referred to as rich media) and defines key terms used in relation to managing digital assets in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. It also explains aspects of managing digital assets by using the assets library in SharePoint Server 2010, describes the primary users of an asset library, and outlines common scenarios for using the asset library in SharePoint Server 2010.

For more information about how to plan a solution for managing digital assets, see Plan digital asset libraries (SharePoint Server 2010).

Increasing numbers of office workers create or reuse images and other rich media assets as part of their daily tasks. Often, however, no common repository exists at the departmental or enterprise level that is optimized for storing these assets. A common repository lets users easily discover and reuse rich media assets that others have already created. The asset library in SharePoint Server 2010 can save an organization time and other resources by providing a specialized repository for storing and managing digital assets. Users no longer have to look for assets in multiple locations over the network, or re-create assets from scratch. By using a centralized repository for managing digital assets, the organization also exerts tighter control over brand-sensitive content and can ensure that only approved assets for products are made available to the appropriate users.

In this article:

About managing digital assets

A digital asset is an image, audio, or video file, or other reusable rich content fragment that an organization uses in applications across the enterprise. The asset library in SharePoint Server 2010 enables users to easily create, discover and reuse existing digital assets within the organization.

In SharePoint Server 2010 you use an asset library to store and share digital assets with users. The asset library is a SharePoint Server 2010 library template that is customized to use content types designed specifically for storing and cataloging rich media assets.

An effective solution for managing digital assets specifies:

  • The metadata to provide for each kind of asset.

  • The amount of storage space that is needed for the assets, and the performance issues to consider for serving the assets to users.

  • Where to store assets at each stage of the life cycle of an asset.

  • How to control access to an asset at each stage of its life cycle.

  • How to move assets within the organization as team members contribute to creation, review, approval, publication, and disposition of assets.

  • The policies to apply to assets so that asset-related actions are audited, assets are retained or disposed of correctly, and assets important to the organization are protected.

  • How assets are treated as corporate records, which must be retained according to requirements and corporate guidelines.

For information about how to plan a digital asset solution by using SharePoint Server 2010, see Plan digital asset libraries (SharePoint Server 2010).

Users of an asset library

Users of an asset library in SharePoint Server 2010 generally fall into one of three categories:

  • Asset creators This group includes people who create individual assets, such as graphic artists, video producers, or marketing copywriters, and who submit assets to the asset library. For example, a graphic artist might create a product logo in multiple resolutions and sizes, and in both color and black and white, and then upload all versions of the logo to the asset library for use by other members of a product marketing team.

  • Asset managers This group includes people who manage the assets in the library. They are in charge of the end-to-end workflow from the time that an asset is first submitted, through publication, to the time when an asset expires. They are also in charge of managing and organizing assets in the library. For example, an asset manager might take multiple versions of a product logo and categorize them appropriately in the library, and add important metadata such as keywords, and set a date after which the asset cannot be used.

  • Asset consumers This group includes people who have to find and use assets from the library to create other work products. For example, Web designers can use a product logo from the asset library when they create marketing pages for product Web sites.

Depending on the scenario, there can be crossover between these groups of users. For example, users who have permission to upload assets to the library may also have permission to categorize and manage the assets they submit to the archive. Asset creators can also be asset consumers if they look for and use assets that are added to other work products, which in turn are uploaded as separate assets. For example, a video producer might use a product logo while making a marketing video for a product, and then upload the video to the library as a separate asset.

Managing digital assets in SharePoint Server 2010

SharePoint Server 2010 provides a library template called Asset Library that is customized to use new image, audio, and video content types designed specifically for storing and cataloging rich media assets. These new content types use new column types such as Preview, Picture Size, Date Picture Taken, and Length (seconds) that contribute to the metadata for a particular asset. The asset library also has a preview mode that displays a thumbnail and some of this metadata when you hover the pointer over an asset. Enterprise keywords can be assigned to assets to make them more easily found through search queries. Keywords can be assigned by asset creators when a new asset is uploaded, or can be added later by an asset manager. Users can rate assets, a capability that provides additional metadata for assets. The metadata can then be used when assets are displayed in a Web Part. For example, if you have a library of training videos that users have viewed and rated, you can use a Web Part to display the top-rated videos on a Web page.

Asset creators and managers work directly in the asset library to upload, categorize and manage assets. Asset consumers can browse the library to find assets for inserting into projects in other applications. Consumers can browse an asset library from Microsoft Office applications and insert an asset into the open application, such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft PowerPoint.

There are four ways to display digital assets to users in SharePoint Server 2010:

  • Allow users to browse the asset library.

  • Insert a Web Part into a Web page on a team site.

  • Use the video field control on a publishing page on a publishing site.

  • Use the Content Query Web Part.

The specific methods that you use to display asset to users of your asset library will vary depending on who the users are, how they have to use assets from the library, and which methods for displaying assets are most appropriate for an asset library scenario.

In addition to the features that are part of the asset library, you can take advantage of SharePoint Server features such as workflows, routing, rules, and policies. These features help manage the assets as they come into the asset library, track the progress of assets, automate publication of assets on approval, and set the expiration for assets.

Scenarios for using the asset library

The asset library can be added to any SharePoint Server 2010 site collection or site, and can be used to provide digital assets to users in many scenarios. The following table describes possible scenarios in which you might use a digital asset library.

Scenario Description

Corporate brand library

Uses the asset library to store branded corporate assets such as logos, artwork, and other digital assets, and uses moderate-to-heavy workflows and policies to manage the content. Creative teams can submit digital assets to the asset library where they are reviewed and published. Content stewards manage and edit the digital assets to ensure that they have been correctly tagged and organized. Information worker consumers and extranet partners who have to access to official, authorized corporate logos or brand assets use the library to find the content they need.

Divisional portal

Uses the asset library as a repository for images and rich media files for a single portal site. In this scenario, any contributor or designer can upload logos and images to the library for other people to view and use. The content is generally managed as needed by contributors, and uses minimal workflow or policy for its addition to and management in the library. For example, the divisional portal library might have multiple contributors but only a few approvers. Authors and Web designers of the site use content in the library by viewing, downloading, and inserting it into their work products, such as documents or presentations.

Team site

Similar to a divisional portal but smaller. Uses the asset library as a repository for images and rich media for a single team site. In this scenario, any team member can upload assets to the library for other team members to view and use. The content is managed as needed by contributors, and uses very little workflow or policy for its addition to and management in the library. Team members use content in the library by viewing, downloading, and inserting it into their work products, such as documents or presentations.

Corporate archive

Uses the asset library strictly as an archive that catalogs pictures, video, documents, and other assets that have historical value to an organization. Users can submit current and past items, which are collected, scanned, organized, and tagged by curators who manage the library so that other users can browse, search, and view archived content.

Divisional media sharing site

Uses the asset library to store audio and video files. In this scenario, anyone can contribute to the library, and there is little or no management of items in the library. Ratings are enabled for the library, and are combined with social tagging of assets to drive the structure and presentation of assets within the library.

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