A digital asset is material in digital form — such as animations, audio, graphics, text, and video, that is owned by an individual or organization. A digital asset may be owned outright, if it was created or purchased by the individual or organization, or rights to use it, with or without restrictions, may have been licensed from the woner or holding company. Digital Asset Management (DAM) refers to the strategies and structures used to organize and track digital assets. Digital asset software is another name for a Digital Asset Management System (DAMS).
Digital asset software from different companies may have different capabilities. Depending on its features, this type of software may be used to acquire, organize, locate, tag, and analyze digital assets. Digital asset software may also provide the ability to edit, export, create versions, alter metadata, and show a slideshow or filmstrip of assets. Other possible functions include archiving, backing up, and optimizing.
There are three main types of digital asset software. The type referred to as a browser looks at the file information and presents it to to the user, but doesn’t store it. iPhoto® is an example. A second type catalogs the information, or metadata, in a separate file as a database, making access more efficient and providing the ability to make and maintain virtual sets. This is called cataloguing software, and Microsoft® iView MediaPro® is an example. Finally, Adobe® VersionCue®, which is integrated with Adobe® Bridge® is an example of DAM software in which the assets and their versions are actually stored — in VersionCue® — and browsable — through Bridge®.
iPhoto®, part of the Apple® ILife® collection, is digital asset software created particularly for photographs. In addition to the usual tagging, searching, and organizing features, iPhoto® has a feature called Faces that employs face detection and face recognition as a means to propose to the user faces that may be the same person for the user to approve or reject. iView® is not attached to a particular software group or a particular OS and has the advantage of allowing the user to work on the catalog completely separately from interacting with the digital assets themselves. Adobe® Bridge®, referred to as a “media manager,” accompanies Adobe’s Creative Suite® editions, as well as certain of its stand-alone programs, like Photoshop®, Illustrator®, Flash®, and InDesign® and is capable of managing non-Adobe® as well as Adobe® files of any number of media types. It is linked to Adobe® Version Cue®, called an “asset management system,” which is meant to act as a virtual server for collaborative work using common files or a file manager for an individual.