There are 10 different variations of metadata fields available in the Widen Collective, which allows you to tailor each field to suit the desired input. Using a variety of metadata fields makes the tagging process more appealing to users and improves efficiency when uploading.


There are two metadata field formats:

  • Free text metadata fields allow users to enter information freely. There may be limits to the number of characters that can be entered, but users can enter any combination of letters and numbers. They work well for caption, product ID, and title fields.
  • Controlled vocabulary fields make users choose from a list of options, keeping metadata consistent across assets and users. When possible, use controlled fields. They work well for rights management, internal department, contributor, and location fields.


We recommend not overloading assets with too many metadata fields - which is cumbersome and difficult to maintain - and keeping the number of fields at under 15.


Free text fields

Free text metadata fields allow creative entries.


A date field allows users to enter metadata by selecting a date on a calendar, like expiration and publishing dates.


A numeric field allows users to input only numbers; they can't enter letters or symbols. Uses include product IDs and job numbers.


A limited text field is a single line with a limit of 256 characters for things like asset titles and single response fields like "campaign" or "product manager."


A text field works well for a caption or a keyword box. It allows 1,280 characters and can be used for areas for timecode notes or as a description field for tagging.


Text areas and long text fields can be used for metadata that's recorded in paragraph format. Carriage returns are allowed in these fields, and they have a larger character limit (10,240 for text areas and 32,000 for long text fields). Use them when you want to indicate complicated legal or contractual metadata or when importing metadata from another source that lacks formatting.



Controlled vocabulary fields

Use controlled fields whenever possible. Controlled fields reduce spelling errors, can be used as filters when searching, and make the metadata process easier and more consistent for users. Always list controlled field values alphabetically.


A checkbox is ideal for a short list that can have multiple answers. Uses include:

  • A list of brands or internal teams
  • A list of asset types (logo, presentation, file photo, b-roll video, etc.)


A dropdown is ideal for a long list with only one answer. You can type into the dropdown to get to the option you want quickly. Use the dropdown for a list of clients or vendors or a list of rights and licensing terms.


An autocompleter list looks like a text field but when you begin typing, it offers options from a controlled list. An example use is for a very long list of options with only one answer.


A palette is good for long lists that can have multiple answers. Uses include:

  • A list of countries in which an asset can be used
  • A list of products featured in an asset
  • Keywords that can be associated with an asset



Dependent fields

Dependent fields are helpful because they reduce the number of fields you see. This results in a more streamlined metadata entry process since you'll see only fields that are relevant to a specific asset. A dropdown must be used for the parent field in order to have dependent fields.


Rights management

Dependent fields are helpful for rights management. You could see a dropdown list for rights, as described in the bullets below, and depending on which option you select, a new child metadata field displays, allowing you to enter additional information. The child field can be any metadata format, unlike the parent field. Formats include:

  • All rights - unlimited reuse
  • Limited rights - 12 months' reuse. You'll see a new field with expiration details.
  • Restricted rights. You'll see a text field with notes explaining the restrictions.
  • Royalty-free. You'll see a text field with metadata on the licensing source and copyright.
  • Editorial use only


Complex keywords

Dependent fields can also be useful with complex keywording. If you've created many controlled lists, dependent fields ensure the correct fields display at the appropriate time, ensuring consistent vocabulary while not bogging down the editing process. For example, a grocery store may have controlled fields for each possible food item. The parent dropdown field for an asset may look like the list below, with accompanying dependent fields based on what's selected.

  • Bakery. You'll see options like bread, buns, croissants, and muffins.
  • Meat and seafood. You'll see options like beef, chicken, fish, shrimp, and turkey.
  • Produce. You'll see another set of dependent fields, like fruit or vegetable. Based on that selection, you'll see apple, banana, pineapple, carrots, onions, and zucchini.
  • Packaged goods. You'll see child categories for snack, breakfast, baking, and baby food.
  • Beverages. You'll see options for alcohol, water, soda, juice, and coffee.