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Digital Assets Management (DAM) System

Guide for OHSU Library's DAM System

Library Required Metadata

The Library requires the following descriptive information about all digital assets uploaded to the DAM

Required Fields for Cataloging Digital Assets
Field Name Definition
Contains Patient Health Information (PHI)? Identification if an asset contains patient health information
Departmental Owner  Name of overseeing user group a specific digital asset's permissions
Departmental Review A date identifying when a digital assets needs to be reviewed for removal from the DAM. The Library requires all digital files to have a 5 year review. If digital assets contain patient health information then the review should be set to the agreement's expiration date.
Keywords A tag used to categorize digital assets by people, place, things, activities, and expressions
Project/Collection Title Title of the original project, event, or grouping designated with specific digital assets
Usage Rights Identification of usage rights associated with the digital assets, e.g. Restricted, All-OHSU Use OK

Using Inclusive Descriptive Language

Using respectful, identity-affirming language is key to creating a welcoming environment that is anti-racist and embraces diversity as a whole. The OHSU Inclusive Language Guide is a dynamic resource designed to assist OHSU staff in understanding and utilizing inclusive language in institutional communications:

Controlled Tags List

What are controlled tags?

Controlled tags are a set of designated words and phrases for you to you whenever describing digital assets uploaded or modified in DAM.

Is there a list of controlled tags?

Yes, the list is maintained and distributed by the Library. It will be continuously developed as digital media is contributed to the system. 

What categories are covered in the DAM controlled tags list?

Categories include, but not limited to:

  • Campus Locations
  • Building Names
  • Departments and Divisions
  • Medical Terminology
  • Medical Equipment
  • Events

Is there a controlled tags taxonomy?

Not yet. Before you can make a taxonomy you first need terminology and digital assets in the system. Stay tuned for updates.

How often is this list updated?

The Library will upload this controlled tags list twice a year. The last version is found on this reference guide in an Excel format and available for direct download. 

How do I add tags to this list?

You are free to describe digital assets with any terminology you deem appropriate in the Keywords field. The Library's metadata specialists are monitoring and analyzing terms contributed. However, it is highly encouraged for you to reference and select from the controlled tags list.

Writing Digital Asset Captions

Captions give photos context, telling viewers what’s going on in a photo so they don’t have to guess or jump to conclusions. Best practice is to follow the Associated Presses style guidelines for writing captions. 

Remember the following when writing captions:

  • Captions should identify Who is in the picture and Why they are significant.  All names must be spelled correctly with the correct name on the correct person. Identify people from left to right.
  • What is in the picture? Write so that you’re completing a story, not just describing literally what’s in the picture.
  • When? The DATE, including the day of the week, date and year must appear in the body of all captions. Your images will be history some day.
  • Where? Be specific. Follow AP style for geographic locations. Use city and state. The correct style for our city is Columbia, Missouri.
  • Why? Explain the circumstances and why it is relevant or adds to the story package.
  • Is it easy to read?
  • Is it grammatically correct and written in AP style?


"OHSU School of Medicine student Mollie Marr, helps organize a letter-writing campaign for students to share personal stories about the impact of losing a proposed tax waiver for tuition for graduate students, December 1, 2017. Marr is pursuing her M.D. and her Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience in the OHSU School of Medicine, and losing the tax waiver could mean dropping out of OHSU. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)"

Digital File Confidency

The Library recommends using these file formats when creating and uploading digital assets to the system. If digital assets are not in a recommended file format, then the Library cannot guarantee future usability and accessibility.


High Confidence Level

Medium Confidence Level

Low Confidence Level`


  • TIFF
  • JPG
  • PNG
  • GIF
  • DNG
  • BMP
  • PSD
  • RAW formats
  • All other photo formats not listed here


  • AVI
  • MOV
  • MP4
  • MPG
  • WMV
  • FLV
  • All other video formats not listed here


  • PDF/A
  • TXT
  • CSV
  • PDF
  • ODT
  • EPUB
  • DOCX
  • DOC
  • XLSX
  • XLS
  • All other text formats not listed here


  • MP3
  • WAV
  • MIDI
  • FLAC
  • RAM
  • WMA
  • All other audio formats not listed here

Design & Illustration

  • PDF/A
  • TIFF
  • JPG
  • PDF
  • GIF
  • BMP
  • INN
  • AI
  • All other design and illustration formats not listed here



  • PDF
  • PowerPoint
  • Google Slides
  • All other presentation formats not listed here

File Naming Best Practices

The DAM does not require a specific naming convention to keep files organized, but it is digital assets management best practice to do so before uploading.

Content providers, etc. depositing digital assets into the DAM are advised to name the files by following the guidelines below. If your department already has a file name convention that's great! Keep using it!

Here are suggestions: 

  • Keep the filename to a maximum of 40 characters overall.
  • The entire filename should be lowercase, not capitalized.
  • YYYYMMDD is the date the asset was taken, year first (e.g., 20140730 for July 30, 2017)
  • Descriptive slug is one or more words, connected with hyphens, describing the photo or photo set, usually an event such as “senior-convocation”.
  • Avoid abbreviations within slug keywords.
  • The number at the end is used to indicate how many photos are in a particular series.  Every number is 4 digits.  If an asset is the only one in its set (i.e., its filename is unique), it does not need the 4-digit series number.

File Name Convention Suggestion:

YYYYMMDD-[author/creator initials]-[descriptive slug(s)]-[four-digit series number]



Active Records Management

The DAM is intended for actively used assets that comply with OHSU’s records management policy as well as departmental practices.

The Library requires all digital assets residing in the DAM to be review 5 years after uploading to the system. If you need assistance then the Library can help evaluate and apply best practices for digital assets management.

The following policies directly relate to digital assets managed by DAM repository community members. For additional University policies, please visit OHSU’s Policy Manual.

  • Confidentiality of Health Information Policy No. 01-05-012

  • Intellectual Property and Royalty Distribution Policy No. 04-50-001.

  • OHSU Marketing and Communications Department HIPAA & Media Release Procedures

  • Records Retention and Destruction Policy No. 07-90-010

  • Student Records - Confidential Records - Restrictions on Release Policy No. 02-20-025

Digital Asset Reviews

The DAM is intended for actively used assets that comply with OHSU’s records management policy as well as departmental practices. The Library can help evaluate and apply best practices for digital assets management.

However, all digital assets residing in the DAM must be reviewed within 5 years from the date of upload or when an agreement expires.

What is a DAM user group?

DAM user groups refer to a grouping of DAM users. User groups are formed when large departments and/or multiple departments agree to upload and share digital assets within their grouping.

Things to know about user groups

  1. User groups can have multiple departments and divisions within them. Contact a DAM point person for more information about who is in a designated user group.
  2. There is no user to user sharing within the DAM. You need to use OHSU's designated cloud storage space, e.g. Box, for this activity
  3. A user can only be assigned to one user group. For example: Jessi Gorton is associated only with the Library's user group.
  4. When a user uploads digital assets to the DAM only their affiliated user group can view and download the content.
  5. User groups can assign specific sharing privileges to other user groups, e.g. Let all DAM users download, Let all DAM users only see an asset, Only allow a specific user group to download digital assets

What privileges does a DAM user have?

Users can be assigned different access privilege profiles in the DAM. These profiles control what kind of actions you can perform in the system. For example, if you can upload digital assets.

There are 3 different user access privilege profiles. They can do the following within the DAM once assigned an access profile:

  • Department Administrator - Upload, Describe, Edit, Share, Search, Delete, and Download
  • Power User - Upload, Describe, Edit, Search, Share, and Download
  • Casual User - Search and Download

Sharing within the DAM and Requesting Approval to Use Images

Users with the privilege to share digital assets with other user groups have the ability to grant sharing privileges in the following ways.

  1. Give download privilege to all users in the DAM to view and download.
  2. Give only-view privileges to all users in the DAM. This does not allow anyone outside the user's assigned user group to download.
  3. Grant download privileges to specific user groups
  4. Grant view-only privileges to specific user groups
  5. Identify user groups allowed to edit digital asset metadata

To request approval to use an image within the DAM, users should do the following:

  1. Select the "share" button at the top of the screen (near the download button).
  2. Click email previews and select who should receive the request.
  3. Make sure to enter where it will be used.
  4. Click Generate Preview.
  5. Click send on the next screen.
  6. Make sure that you as the requestor puts your email in the reply-to field.

Transfer Digital Assets to Digital Commons

DAM community members can donate their digital assets to the Library’s Historical Collections & Archives to be available through Digital Collections at their discretion once assets are no longer intended for active use. Please reach out to the University Archivist for consultation, review the University’s Historical Records Policy, and discuss if your digital assets are appropriate for Digital Commons. For more information, contact: