Getting Organized With Keywords and Tags


When we encounter disorganization, be it in our closets, our fridges, or in the workplace, we rely on organization habits that feel natural to us. We know where our shirts are when they’re hung in the same closet, our vegetables can found quickly when they’re kept in the crisper, and remote coworkers can keep track of each other by using the same messaging channels.

It’s easier to stay organized when we can use familiar ideas and simple systems to group things together. A similar approach can be taken with your digital assets, since they shouldn’t be labeled under a catch-all term. Their intricacies deserve due consideration: your assets can be photographs that are meant to be used explicitly for seasonal campaigns, but they can also be videos that are only be viewable through a gated webpage.

Because of their varying details, digital assets require a thoughtful system that can properly contextualize them. That can be accomplished with a taxonomy.

How a taxonomy is designed and structured will be different for each company, but it should still follow conventions that will feel natural to your team. In Canto’s digital asset management system, you can create a taxonomy with keywords and tags.

Set up a Taxonomy

Your taxonomy will be a list of terms in a classification structure. It can organize the concepts, functions, products, and objects related to your digital assets. A proactive approach is to create a hierarchical structure, similar to the parent-child relationship that Flight uses for sorting folders.

Here’s a helpful way to think about it:

Keywords = high-level (broad context)

Tags = low-level (specific context)

Keyword Examples

Keywords are Canto’s high-level labeling convention. Only Canto Administrators can create new keywords, but Contributors can still apply keywords to assets.

Keywords are best used to classify a broad group of digital assets. Since Canto will automatically organize assets by their file type, there’s no need to use keywords to distinguish different types of media (e.g. images from videos). Because keywords are a higher level in the hierarchical structure, you’ll want to use less keywords than tags. Using too many keywords might muddle the context that you’re trying to convey.

Applied keywords should indicate the content found in media files or the asset’s intended use. Here are some examples:

– Locations: Landmarks, Buildings, Environments
– Objects: Products, Stock Art
– Notable People
– Template: Presentations, Adobe CC Designs
– Campaign/Project: Marketing Campaign, Sales Collateral
– Themes: Travel, Lifestyle, Seasonal

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.22.47 PM
The keywords “Landmark”, “Lifestyle”, and “Travel” provide high-level context for the image (without being too descriptive).


Tag Examples

Tags are Canto’s low-level labeling convention. Any Canto Administrator or Contributor can create tags and add them to files. Think of tags as a way of “supporting” keywords – they provide details that keywords are too broad to convey. While it’s a smart practice to limit the amount of available keywords to use, tags should be used more liberally to best describe the details of an asset.

For example:

Keyword type: Location
Tags: names of landmarks (“state park”, “monument”), names of buildings (“state capitol”, “Coit Tower”), names of environments (“rainforest”, “arctic”)

Keyword type: Template
Tags: titles of blank documents (“employee contract”, “NDA”), Adobe CC designs (“infographic”, “flyer”, “poster”)

Keyword type: Themes
Tags: names of travel destinations (“Barcelona”, “Thailand”), names of seasons (“Summer”, “Christmas”), lifestyle descriptors (“healthy”, “green”, “surf culture”)

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.23.36 PM
Tags provide a more thorough description of the image and support the context provided by the keywords.


Putting It All Together

It can be difficult to decipher the contents of your digital assets while they’re being stored. Keywords and tags makes it easier to know what your assets contain and how they should be used. Those labels will save you the trouble of digging around and opening dozens of files to find what you’re looking for.

With an easily understood taxonomy, your media library can be more organized and more shareable with new stakeholders. Labeling with keywords and tags will also make your assets easier to find in a massive media library. If you want to make your media library more manageable, give Canto a try today.