Blog / Cloud Libraries, Foundations

Consolidate and Unify

Peter Krogh
Fri May 15 2020

Any project implementing good asset management will begin with consolidating the material as much as possible. This means you’ll want to create central storage and bring as much of the relevant material together as possible.

Benefits of consolidation

Consolidating the media is the first step to creating a secure, resilient media archive. It’s an essential step in creating good storage and backup. It’s also essential for the eventual migrations that are required for long-term maintenance.

Consolidating the files will also help you to tag the files in a universal manner. Tagging from within a single environment, such as one catalog, allows consistency in the keywords and other metadata you use.

Consolidating all your media begins with a discovery process to understand how much space all your stuff takes up. Once you have a good idea of that, you’ll need to get enough unified storage to bring it all together. This is typically true, even if you expect to use a cloud-based tool for primary user access. In most cases, it’s faster, easier, cheaper, and better to do this locally before uploading to the cloud.


In addition to bringing everything together in one place, it’s also advantageous to unify your DAM practices as much as possible. This includes consistent use of metadata, standardizing media formats, having a consistent naming convention, and normalization of rights information. All of these unifications will pay off in the medium and long term, and some will give dividends in the short term as well.

Unifying your existing collection will also help you build practices for the future. It’s hard to get your policies exactly right until you have road tested them. And there’s no better road test than one you actually have to drive on (in the car you'll be driving).

Consolidation challenges


Consolidation can be a daunting step if the media files are spread across many devices (worse yet, many users). It can take time to work through everything, and you might find that the collection is really big. It can also be problematic as new files are created after transferring the existing contents.

At the opening stage of consolidation, it’s best to ensure you are gathering at least one of everything, and not to worry too much about duplication. If there is duplication that is easy to identify, you can fix it as you go along, but you’ll also have the opportunity to fix it later once your collection has been consolidated and cataloged.

While this was originally written for photographers working on their own collections, the basic principle holds for all kinds of media collections. Consolidation is key to the preservation and effective use of the media.

Remember the 80/20 rule

As you consolidate, it’s good to keep the 80-20 rule in mind. In most cases, there is a large percentage of media that can be gathered easily (80% perhaps) and a smaller percentage that will be hard to find (20% perhaps). Don’t let “perfect be the enemy of good” by delaying until 100% of the media has been consolidated. Make a good-faith effort to gather as much as possible and get to work.

Next week, we’ll continue examining the building blocks of great Digital Asset Management.

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