Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by MVP Razi bin Rais as part of the MVP Award Program Blog’s “MVPs for Office and SharePoint 2010” series. Razi bin Rais has been a Microsoft SharePoint Services MVP since 2007, Microsoft Certified Professional Developer and Microsoft Certified IT Professional for SharePoint 2010. Razi has authored numerous articles published online and also has worked with Microsoft Learning as a subject matter expert on several SharePoint 2010 courses. Razi is a speaker for the International .NET Association and the Global IT Community Association , and has led many sessions in several industry trade show conferences including the Microsoft TechDays, ISV innovation Days, Community Technology Updates and SharePoint Saturdays. Razi blogs at http://razi.spaces.live.com and tweets at @razibinrais he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Asset Library is a new welcome addition to SharePoint Server 2010. One of its focuses is to make it easier for end users to interact with digital assets (image, audio, and video) by providing features like image previews, build in video player etc.hi
Creating a new Asset Library
Asset Library can be used in variety of scenarios, but for introductory purposes lets create an Asset Library called Wildlife Adventures which you will use to store videos and images that you gather online and from your personal trips all around the world. As the content contains both images and videos you want it to be easily share and view by your office colleagues. In order to follow the walkthrough you need to have a SharePoint Server 2010 environment, if you don’t already have it then you can download ready to use SharePoint Server 2010 virtual image from Microsoft here.
The creation process of an Asset Library is similar as of other types of libraries for example Document Library etc. Anyways following is a quick walk through in case you are new to SharePoint.
Browse to your SharePoint Site and click Site Actions and then View All Site Content.
On All Site Content Page click Create.
Select Asset Library from Installed Items, in the text box type Wildlife Adventures and finally click Create.
You will be taken to newly created asset library Wildlife Adventures
Understanding Types of Assets
Before you start putting the content into your asset library let’s take a quick look on how SharePoint works with the various types of content that will be stored in the asset library. Basically SharePoint defines three content types against three types of digital asset it supports in Asset Library namely Image, Audio and Video.
You can take a look into these content types by browsing to the Library settings page. For this first click on Library Tab and then select Library Settings button inside Settings group as shown below.
Take a look at Content Types section (you may need to scroll vertically to see it).
You can even click on the content type’s names (Image, Audio, and Video) and you will be shown the details of columns contains in that content type.
Under the Content Types section there is a Columns section which lists all the columns along with their type and which content types are using them. This provides good summary without drill down into each of the content type individually.
As you can see not all columns are used by all content types, for example Date Picture Taken column is only used by Image content type but Copyright column is used by all three content types.
Managing Digital Assets
Let’s put some content inside newly created Wildlife Adventures asset library. Following is the quick walk through. Feel free to use you own content, but do take note that for audio files supported formats are WMA & MP3 (ISO/MPEG Layer-3), and for video files the format is WMV. If you try to upload files with other formats you will get a warning as shown below.
To upload file(s), first click on the Add new item link.
From Upload Document window, you can click Browse button and then select a file you want to upload.
In case you want to upload multiple files click on the Upload Multiple Files link. This will bring a new Upload Multiple Documents window. You can easily drag and drop files & folders to this window.
Finally click OK to upload the file(s) on the Wildlife Adventure Asset Library. You will be shown the progress of your upload, once finished click Done to close this window.
As I have uploaded two images these available inside the library as shown below
Move you mouse (hover) to any the image and you will get a preview window for that image. This window contains image along with other information like it name, the content type and other important information.
At this moment you may be wondering how SharePoint 2010 will display video file? Let’s upload a video file and find it out. You can follow the same steps as mentioned earlier in this section to upload a video file as there is no difference in uploading mechanism for either type of content (image, audio, and video). However as expected because there is difference in columns that video content type supports you need to provide information for these columns. It’s highly recommended that you provide correct information as this will help filtering and find ability of the content. If for some reasons you don’t have this information you can leave all the columns blank except Name, also make sure that correct content type is selected. This is so because by default SharePoint will always select Image as default content type even though if you had uploaded a video or an audio file. In the first screen shot only the bare minimum information is provided (not recommended) , where as in the second screen shot relevant information is provided.
Finally click Save, to store all the information.
Now hover your mouse over the video and a preview window will appear, this is similar to the preview window as you seen when you hover you mouse on an image. However this time there is another option available for you to play the video, click on the play link.
The video will be played within the current browse window. You must have Silverlight installed in order to view the video.
Limiting Columns from Preview Window
You may want to control the level of information available on preview window for example you may want to remove the Scheduling Start Date and Scheduling End Date information. If you look closely you will notice that you are viewing all the content in a Thumbnail View. Simply put this view is the one that provides the preview window functionality. The easiest ways out is to simple choose not to display columns Scheduling Start Date and Scheduling End Date inside this view. This is what you will do next, but this might not be ideal solution in every scenario and you should look for creating a new view and using thumbnail view as a base view. For keeping things simple I will not discuss creating new view in this article.
Let’s remove Scheduling Start Date and Scheduling End Date from Thumbnail View.
Go to Library Settings page and locate Views Section. You may have to scroll vertically to find it as it is the last section on that page. Finally click on the Thumbnails link.
On the Edit View page locate Columns section, and Unselect Schedule Start Date and Scheduling End Date display checkboxes.
Finally click OK to save your changes. OK button is located both at the start and at the end of the Edit View page.
Now notice that preview window does not display Scheduling Start Date and Scheduling End Date information.
In conclusion Asset library is a great way to manage your digital assets. From users prospective it allows them to easily interact with multimedia content by providing them ability to preview images and play audio and video files right from SharePoint environment. With this I have to end this article otherwise it would be too length for a blog post, but there few other things that might help leverage Asset Library better, for example using Metadata Navigation to easily navigate and filter content. You can watch out for similar post on my blog at http://razi.spaces.live.com/