Introducing Libraries and Tagging

Learn everything you need to know about the new Libraries and Tagging functionality that's part of the 3.0 release!

Hello to all our users and enthusiasts!

I’m thrilled to lift the curtain on an exciting new feature we've been crafting: Libraries & Tagging. But, before we dive in, we want to emphasize that this is a beta release. We developed the current iteration of this feature for a unique customer requirement—to create a portal for sharing stock footage—and now, we're opening it up to our broader community. As we embark on this journey together, your feedback and insights will be instrumental in refining and enhancing this feature.

Why Libraries?

This new functionality is the first step towards a “Media Asset Management” (MAM) system. When you tag a file, it becomes an asset in the new database we’ve added to each Space. This database acts as a Library for your Assets.

The new Libraries page in the web app is a purpose-built user interface that makes it quick and easy to find the assets that have the properties you are looking for. Like books in a library, assets are tagged with labels that describe their contents. By selecting tags from the left sidebar, the viewport is filtered to show only the assets that share all of these labels.

Currently an asset represents a single file. This makes it an ideal solution for managing media formats that store content as one file. If you use multi-file formats, such as RAW and image sequences, you may want to wait until a future release that understands these nuances.

Organizing Tags: Categories and Sections

Before you can create any tags, Categories need to be created on the Libraries page. In our Libraries, tags exist within a specific context, which is their category. This makes it possible for the same tag name, such as a number, to exist in different contexts. Categories and tags correlate to metadata properties and values. In fact, a new metadata tab in the Inspector presents them as such.

For example, the tag 01 can exist in the context of a Scene, Shot, and Take. Each of these would be a category, with a tag named 01 inside of it. Without this context, these tags would be meaningless. I.e. every tag MUST have a Category.

You can create Sections to group Categories visually. These sections allow you to collapse groups of categories and navigate quicker. As the Libraries sidebar fills up, this becomes increasingly helpful. The name of the section provides the context in which these categories are being grouped. For example, one section may be for Categories related to technical metadata, like resolution and frame rate, while another is for narrative or production categories, like Scene, Shot, Take and Shoot Day.

With the combination of Tag Categories and Sections, Libraries aim to offer a refined asset browsing experience. Whether you're organizing assets or searching for specifics, this structure ensures clarity and efficiency.

The Intuitive Power of Color

In Libraries, color-coded tags leverage the natural visual cues of color to enable swift identification of assets. This isn't just about aesthetics—it's about speeding up processes and adding layers of meaning without lengthy descriptions.

At a glance, colors provide a visual shorthand, helping discern categories and context. Within a category like 'Location', color distinctions can indicate sub-groupings: states, cities, or more specific descriptors such as "Beach" and "Sunny". It's an instant hint about tag relationships without delving deep.

Moreover, color's power stretches across categories. Tags in ‘Camera’ like “RED KOMODO X” and those in ‘Capture Format’ like ‘R3D’ might share a hue, immediately signaling their combined relevance. It’s a visual bridge, linking tags across categories to convey shared context.

Consistent color schemes can also indicate an asset's stage in the production pipeline, making workflow smoother. And since humans recall visuals better than text, colored tags improve asset recall. Plus, the flexibility to update tag colors means our system can adapt to evolving projects, always reflecting the most current workflow.

You have complete freedom to use color coding in whichever way makes sense for your team and use case. It’s easy to change tag colors, so you can experiment and figure your strategy out over time.

First Steps: Preparing a Library

Before you can start creating tags, there needs to be at least one category in the library for that Space. This is easily done from the Libraries page.

Our user interface makes it fast to create categories and tags. After typing in the name, press the ‘Enter’ key on your keyboard to submit the current entry and leave a blank field for the next one. When you are done adding entries, press the ‘X’ button next to the name field.

When creating tags with this method, the color will stay consistent so that you can apply the same tag to consecutive entries.

To create a Section, select the ‘+’ button in the top right of the sidebar. Enter the name in the popup card.

It is best to build out the tags, categories, and sections as much as you can up front to build the framework through which users will apply tags.

Assigning Tags: Turning Files into Assets

Inside 'Spaces', you'll see all your files and directories. To start tagging, first select the file, multiple files, or even an entire folder. After selecting, click the Tag action. This will bring up the Tagging card where all your tags are displayed, organized by color. If you're trying to find a specific tag, use the built-in search field to quickly filter the options.

If the tag you are searching for doesn’t exist, you can create it here. The only extra step is to select a category for it. This is why it's important to create these categories first.

Select the tags you want, and they'll instantly attach to your files. Once tagged, your files in 'Spaces' will show colored dots, giving a quick visual representation of the tags attached to each file.

With just a few clicks, your files have been transformed into organized assets, making them easier to identify and categorize.

Navigating the Terrain: Libraries and Spaces

Transitioning between Libraries and Spaces is a quick and intuitive experience.

If a Space is selected, switching to Libraries will maintain that same selection. 

Tagged files in Spaces are identifiable by colored dots, offering quick context. A single click on these dots propels you directly to the associated Library, with the tag in focus. 

When you're within Libraries? Each file acts as a bridge back to Spaces, making navigation intuitive and efficient.

The Inspector: Within Libraries and Displaying Tags

Our revamped Inspector is available within Libraries, granting detailed previews and metadata at a glance. The usual actions are available, including the download button.

Users who have at least read access to a Space will see all of the assets listed in the Library, but the Inspector won’t load for the files they don’t have access to and actions won’t be available.

If a file has any tags, the new Tags metadata tab will appear in the Inspector. This will show Sections, Categories, and Tags as if they were metadata sections, properties, and values. 

Client: A New User Role

With Libraries, we're introducing the new 'Client' user role. Perfect for those times when you wish to offer clients secure view, inspect, and download capability without granting access to the broader filesystem. When a user with this role logs into the web app, the only page they have access to is Libraries. Other than that, they only have the ability to change their password.

While Libraries can be used for internal production asset management, the current implementation was designed for sharing video assets with clients. In this context, categories and tags are really there to help clients find what they are looking for, which are likely either finished deliverables or re-usable assets, such as stock video. 

Join Us on This Journey!

Libraries & Tagging is a big first step towards a more organized, efficient, and visual media management system. As you explore this beta feature, remember: your feedback is invaluable. If something seems off or if you have brilliant suggestions, reach out. Together, we'll refine this tool, ensuring it meets the dynamic needs of our creative community.

Here's to new beginnings and continued collaborations. Dive into Libraries & Tagging, and let's craft its future together.

Happy creating!


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