I am in charge of a small digital archive and I am trying to figure out how to manage it.

I have another archive of my owm, but since I am a photographer, I am spoiled by EXIF & IPTC.

The other archive consists of images, video, audio and text in various filetypes.

Is there any solution (program) to add standardized metadata to those files similar to those that images have (title, caption, author, tags, labels,...) and to be able to search using those metadata? Something like Lightroom but for any file type.

I am slightly looking toward Adobe Bridge but I am not sure about the file support there.

How do professional archives manage their data, metadata and sort them?

1 Answer 1


Professional archives use a digital asset management (DAM) server.

Files need to be ingested into this server, they offer various APIs, web interfaces, or even network shares. At this step you should fill each file's metadata. Professional archives often write custom code to import metadata from some other system, or pay people to create it.

Then anyone on your network can search, preview and download the files.

I personally worked on implementing the Fedora Commons DAM server at the French National Library. It is open source.

  • So it is basically a proprietary / custom software that stores the meta as sidecar file(s) or in database? Mar 27, 2023 at 12:28
  • Yes. Metadata is typically managed in a database, rather than as sidecar files. Content can be accessed only via the server's APIs, not via the underlying filesystem. That may sound inconvenient at first, but it allows for content to be managed in a scalable way.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Mar 31, 2023 at 2:40
  • 1
    Absolutely. It is a pity that there is no standardized way to store metadata inside any file 🙂. That would be a blast for archival purposes. Mar 31, 2023 at 16:39

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