10 Core Characteristics

DAMFoundation ten core badge


The following list was ratified by the DAM Foundation Board in Q4 of 2014 as defining the characteristics of a Digital Asset Management system. Systems that wish to gain a certification from the DAM Foundation as possessing all ten characteristics may apply to have their systems evaluated by contacting mark@damfoundation.org. A list of DAM vendors who have applied to have systems certified, and who have been found to meet all 10 Core Characteristics, is listed at the bottom of this page.

  • DAM systems ingest assets individually or in mass sets, and allow for the manipulation of those assets and their metadata individually or with mass actions. This is accomplished in part by assigning a unique identifier to each asset on ingest.
  • DAM systems secure the assets they contain. Security in a DAM extends to defining access control lists (ACLs) for assets and defining roles for users accessing the system.
  • DAM systems store assets as both binaries and metadata. A DAM system can store multiple file types, and allows for the customization of metadata fields and the metadata in those fields attached to the stored files.
  • DAM systems render/transform assets on ingest into new forms, such as thumbnails or proxy files. The new forms generated on asset ingest via transformation should all be stored as asset parts of the original file uploaded.
  • DAM systems enrich assets through the extension of metadata and metrics regarding the use and reuse of the asset throughout its lifecycle.
  • DAM systems relate assets by tracking the relationships between and among an original asset and versions/variants of the original. Versioning and version control tools are central to an asset’s life in a DAM system.
  • DAM systems regulate a structured process in the management, creation, and review of assets with workflow tools. Via programmed workflows, DAMs allow for a decentralized work force to collaborate together in a centralized system.
  • DAM systems allow for users to find assets and to retrieve those assets by facilitating search through metadata, collections, workflows, and access control tools. By increasing the discovery of assets that may not have been easily accessible before ingest, a DAM assists workers in leveraging existing content for maximum work potential.
  • DAM systems have a preview function that allows users to view assets before downloading or opening a file on their own device. By allowing users to take a look at assets in search quickly, without download, DAM systems reduce the amount of time users must spend in search.
  • DAM systems produce/publish content by providing methods whereby assets may be shared, linked to, or otherwise be distributed outside the system. This DAM function may be as simple as generating a URL on ingest or as complex as allowing users to build collections of items for sharing with a work group.


Adobe Experience Manager Assets



Asset Bank

assetSERV (Nuxeo is the core)



Canto: Cumulus





Elvis: Woodwing

EnterMedia Software



Equilibrium: Mediarich for sharepoint



Marketing Content Hub




North Plains Telescope (NEXT has not been tested for 10 core)


OpenText (Embeddable Metadata is a configuration request)





WAVE: Mediabank






Original contributors to the debate on the need for a DAM standard collaborated to define the Ten Core criteria, ratified it and implemented it. James Rourke, Elizabeth Keithley, Chris Rewey, Ralph Windsor, Henrik de Gyor, Mark Davey, and members of the DAM Foundation Board.