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The University of Georgia Increases Creative Output With a Strong Metadata Strategy

The Marketing and Communications team at the University of Georgia (UGA) creates and manages photography that is used by schools and colleges across campus. They rely on a strong internal workflow and the powerful metadata functionality in the Widen Collective® to keep all of this visual imagery organized, searchable, and easy to distribute.

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Catalog, control, and distribute rich media assets from a central source of truth.

Insights Insights

Track and measure assets and build site performance dashboards.

Portals Portals

Curate collections of assets and create personalized brand experiences.


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Digital asset management (DAM) users across UGA access the Widen Collective for a range of current university photography.


Rick O’Quinn is the operations manager for UGA’s Marketing and Communication division. His team includes multiple full-time photographers that continually produce imagery of students, faculty, and campus events. Departments across the university rely on this imagery to create their own communication pieces. 

Although Rick’s team always has an abundance of content to share, they had difficulty making it available in the DAM system because metadata creation was simply too time consuming. As a result, content distribution was often delayed and valuable images weren’t being uploaded into the DAM platform at all. “A lot of good images were kind of falling through the cracks,” Rick said.

The photographers didn’t have the bandwidth to populate all the necessary metadata fields, and Rick didn’t have the budget to hire a dedicated DAM administrator. But through some creative collaboration — and powerful DAM tools — they found a sustainable process for getting the right content to the right users, quickly.


Workflow efficiency
Minimize the time photographers spend on data entry

Rapid distribution
Make new photographs available to departments across campus as quickly as possible 

Easy retrieval
Allow photographs to be findable by leveraging robust metadata


Use teamwork — and metadata fields — to manage metadata creation
The UGA Marketing and Communications team now distributes metadata responsibilities across three sets of people, and uses a designated metadata field to track their workflow. As metadata creation moves from the photographers, to student workers, and finally to Rick, this field is updated to signal that the asset is ready for the next phase. Rick explained, “We're basically using fields that we put in the system specifically just to manage workflow, to be able to tag stuff so we can easily search, find it, and tell somebody, ‘Hey, you need to do this.’” 

Leverage time-saving technology
To further streamline their metadata tagging process, Rick’s team maximizes their use of time-saving tools in the Collective. For example, batch upload and editing functionality allows them to populate fields across numerous assets at once. And with metadata mapping, when files are imported from software like Adobe Photoshop, Bridge, or Lightroom, the embedded file data is automatically pulled into metadata fields in the Collective. All of this functionality allows them to significantly reduce the number of fields that need to be populated manually.

Create portals to facilitate self-serve access
The photography housed in UGA’s DAM system is used by a wide range of users with diverse content needs. So Rick’s team uses the Portals app to help everyone access the assets they need, when they need them. Their brand portal is organized into content categories — such as buildings and places, research, and student life — that can be filtered by using metadata fields. This portal is available to both university employees and the general public, so anyone is able to find what they need, agree to the end user license agreement, and download the files.

“We're basically using fields that we put in the system specifically just to manage workflow, to be able to tag stuff so we can easily search, find it, and tell somebody, ‘Hey, you need to do this.’”

Rick O'Quinn,
Operations Manager
University of Georgia - Division of Marketing and Communications


More time for creative work
UGA’s collaborative, streamlined approach to populating metadata fields allows the photographers to spend less time on data entry and more time on creative work. This results in more visual imagery, and more value for the university.

More assets available across for use
Before their current approach to metadata creation, many images that had broad appeal weren’t being loaded into the DAM system. Now UGA has the capacity to make these images available to users, quickly. “We are constantly being able to push new images every couple of weeks,” Rick said.

Better return on their DAM investment
By using metadata fields to track metadata creation across team members, UGA has increased their creative output and improved their service to their users, which cascades into improved workflows for everyone that relies on their photography. This all adds up to a fantastic return on their DAM investment!