Open Nav Close Nav


Controlled Vocabulary Webinar Questions and Answers


The second webinar of the Summer Webinar Series, “Controlled Vocabulary: Implementing a library of keywords to improve consistency and search-ability” had a terrific turnout with a lot of great participation.  Thanks to those of you who attended, we appreciate all the feedback we got!  For those of you who were not able to make it, don’t miss out on our Controlled Vocabulary webinar, recording is available for download!

We’ve received a lot of good questions during the webinar and wanted to post them for everyone as another resource for when you develop out your controlled vocabularies.  If  your question went unanswered, scroll down to find your question and you’ll have your answer.  (The italicized answers are the ones we could not address during the webinar or additions we made to an original answer.)

Q: I didn’t catch what Leigh Ann said when she said some products call controlled vocabularies another name.

A: Keyword Catalog or Keyword List are other commonly used terms

Q: Should I pick a type to use before I start making my list?

A: Well, before you start, you need to determine if your current DAM supports using a controlled vocabulary and what types they support.  You don’t have to select a type. I think the examples shown demonstrate that there is some overlap especially with taxonomy and faceted. So you may actually end up using more than one type. Thinking about this first is definitely a good idea. It will help you create a consistent structure that people can understand. But, you don’t need to commit first to a type. And really, once you start your keywording, you will see a pattern naturally start to develop.

Q: Does Bridge support taxonomy lists?

A: Yes, Bridge supports a taxonomy, or nested keywords.

Q: Didn’t you publish free resources/sites for keywords earlier on, in last webinar?

A: In this webinar (Controlled Vocabulary), we presented the following 3 great resources:

Previously, we published our top 5 favorite metadata resources here: Top 5 Photo Metadata Resources

Q:  What is the difference between a taxonomy and a facted vocabulary?

A: The difference is that in a taxonomy, I can search by the parent of the child so in the case I brought up about staples, I can search by chairs or executive chairs and get the same results.  Now, a faceted vocabulary works different in the way that it is not a parent child relationship. So, with the yelp example, I searched by restaurants, they come up and then I can group my results by different characteristics such as price range or neighborhood. The difference is that I would not search by neighborhoods alone and get restaurants, nor would I search by price range and get restaurants. There is no parent child relationship. The restaurants don’t belong to a parent such as neighborhood. If it were a taxonomy, the parent may be restaurants and the child might be different types of food.

Q: What types of digital assets can you keyword?

A: Most often photos and videos but applies to any type of digital asset.

Q: In WebDAM, when you upload a list of keywords to build a controlled vocabulary, when you upload another list does it overwrite the initial list or add to it?

A: You can choose replace or append when you upload.

Q: How many words should be on my controlled vocabulary list?

A: It will vary by your industry and your needs. The ski image for instance had 50 words or so attached to it. It is subjective. But, if you’re maintaining a database with a narrow scope, you may only need 50 words on your list all together. On the flip if you in a scientific industry, while your audience may be very specific or even small, your vocabulary list may be enormous because a specific and known naming convention already exists.

Q: Where is the Controlled Vocabulary tool within WebDAM?

A: It can be enabled and uploaded from the Preference page. We also have a great Feature in Focus article about controlled vocabulary in DAM-it! The Blog and you can find it here and see a step by step guide for implementation. See Controlled Vocabulary in WebDAM.

Q: Could you give an example of the Types of keywords used on a graphic? Such as a website banner, a quote graphic, or any other website graphic

A: Example – a quote graphic – client who quoted it, product name it is in reference to, or any important/key terms from the quote itself.

Q: What is the price rang of lists for purchase?

A: This varies quite a bit. I have seen lists that cost 75 dollars and others that are thousands.

Q: [When you do a keyword search] does happy also find happiness?

A: Not in most search engines.  Therefore, either keywording with both terms or standardizing your forms of words (preferred) is important.

Q: What’s the best way to keyword a person’s name?  John Doe or John, Doe?  Are caps needed?

A: John Doe (no comma).  Searches are case INSENSITIVE so using upper case won’t change your search results.  However, it does make it easier to read so we recommend using upper case for proper nouns only. Q: So if a searcher types just John or just Doe, it will return assets with that particular name? A: Yes it will – depends on the tool but in WebDAM and many others it will work that way.

Q: Who should be involved in creating the list?

A: The people involved need to understand the business goals and the data. In the case of my personal example of keywording the garden images. The business goals were not understood nor was the data. Which is why, the keywords were all over the map and definitely not a controlled vocabulary. But, it would have been easy to create a controlled vocabulary had the right people been involved. One person who understood the data is the horticulturist. She would have been a great person to involve. In your own businesses, product experts would be good. Also, maybe a set of people who will be accessing the data. Now, you don’t necessarily need to involve them in the entire process, but maybe just send a draft of the list to them and ask them what these terms mean to them.

Q: how do you get the sales and marketing to participate in helping the DAM manager get all the info to apply keywords? Ex.: if it’s a sales brochure and others call it sales sheet – how do you get others to tell the DAM what these other names outside sales or education call it?

A: This is where your Controlled Vocabulary is key.  If Sales Sheet isn’t in the keyword list, then the keyworder will select Sales Brochure.  Likewise, it is important to involve a few stakeholders across the business in the development of the vocabulary.

Q: Can I download the slides?

A: They will be made available after the presentation. Yes, our Webinar Page, has links to download everything webinar related.  You can now download the slides, webinar materials (like the Controlled Vocabulary Worksheet), and webinar recordings.

All these questions were a great, thanks again for taking part in our webinar!  If you just watched the recording and didn’t get a chance to ask any live questions or if any other questions come up, about controlled vocabulary or even just DAM related, feel free to comment here or send us an email at

About the Blog

Stay up-to-date with the latest resources, tips and must-know news for enterprise marketing, creative and digital asset management professionals.


Most Popular Posts