iBase Digital Asset Management Blog

Different Ways to Find Your Files

14th January 2015

Searching is arguably the single most important feature of digital asset management and media asset library systems; after all, no matter how easy it is to get your files into the system, or how attractive and intuitive the interfaces are, if the files can’t be quickly and easily found again the whole thing is pointless!

Different Ways to Find Your Files

Of course, in iBase Media Services we not only recognise how important searching is, but also how useful are the automatic search assistance features standard with every system we supply. More of those later.

So what, in a digital asset management system are the essential differences between ‘advanced’, or ‘field’ search and ‘quick’ search?

In straightforward terms, ‘quick’ and ‘field’ searches are characterised by –

  • Quick search – searches all or most metadata fields with the same word or phrase entered in a single box.
  • Field search – can search multiple metadata fields using different logical operators and search word(s) for each of them.

O.K. – so what are they both for? Good question! We know of course that users will almost always use the simplest option presented to them, and with its Google-style single search box, that is undoubtedly the quick search.

Which would you choose in the first instance?

  • An iBase quick search allows Boolean operators to be used, e.g. ‘scenic NOT coastal’ will exclude all scenic images tagged with the word coastal.
  • Or iBase Trinity’s Refine Search option can be used to narrow down the results already found.
  • Or with a new field search, use whatever criteria you wish to narrow down the items found however you want.

This quick search –


Or this field search –


If the quick search is designed correctly the probability is that the user will easily find what they want and will have no need to use any other search options.

But suppose that the search – let’s say it was the word ‘scenic’ – found far too many items, maybe several hundreds or thousands, to be able sensibly to browse through them all and find the one that is just right.

In an iBase digital asset management system there are several ways in which refining your search could be done, for instance –

On the other hand, for a user who is familiar with the content – a content cataloguer for example – and is aiming to find one specific item, it’s quite likely that their best option would be to use the field search from the outset.

In short, someone who is familiar with the way the content is organised is very likely to find field search useful, whereas someone who isn’t familiar with the content – an occasional visitor to a commercial picture library for example – is far less likely to want to use field search and will probably choose quick search every time.

DAM searching
digital asset management
Picture library searching