Needs a review
Probably still ok, but has to be properly reviewed.
I can organize assets using a folder hierarchy, by assigning tags to them or I may choose to not organize them at all. For this, I first create an asset set as administrator, then assign an organization scheme to it. In general, I organize assets like images and movies different from documents. I structure the latter in a folder hierarchy. However, I prefer to put all images into a pool of images and assign tags to them. The cool thing about asset management in Magnolia is that I can configure an arbitrary number of asset sets. I can then define templates to only allow a user to select assets from certain sets and not from others.
An asset set allows me to show only certain asset types, such as images and pictures, audio files, movies and other interactive elements or all its assets at once. Each filter can be adapted to show the assets in a particular style (e.g. in a list or as thumbnails) and remembers that setting.
Description of desired behavior
Organizing scheme of an asset set
One characteristic element of the definition of an asset set is the organization scheme. A set of assets may be organized using folders or they may simply be stored in a pool of items. Assets in an asset set may also be assigned tags. These two principles may be combined, thus an asset set could support folders as well as tags or it may only support one or even none of them. The organization scheme for a particular asset set must be configurable by an administrator, but it also depends on whether the underlying implementation targeted by a particular asset set actually supports the organization scheme or schemes in question.
Adapters shipped with Magnolia and provided by third-party vendors allow to store assets using an internal implementation or in an external DAM system. These adapters will have to define, which organization schemes a particular implementation supports.
Location of an asset set
The location property of an asset set definition defines where assets are stored. This could be internally or externally. In essence, this property thus chooses the UX:adapter to be used by the asset set and thus effectively selects the implementation to use for storage and access*. Since asset sets may only contain one location, you cannot access two DAM implementation from a single asset set.
Note, however, that a location may be used multiple times by different asset sets. It must be possible to create an asset set for images in an external DAM systems and define a second asset set showing all movies in the same system.
Using tabs to represent asset sets
Asset sets are visualized as tabs in AdminCentral and in any dialog allowing a user to browse asset sets or to search for assets or renditions. Tabs are well suited representations of sets of items, if placed at the top of an interface - they then refer to the original metaphor of tabs being used to organize sets of documents in a drawer.
As each tab contains its own toolbar, a user can choose to view the assets in one asset set using thumbnails, while choosing the folder structure view for another asset set - tabs must remember their view settings.
Templates restricting access to assets
Template developers may restrict the set of asset sets available to the user to choose assets from. Alternatively or additionally, they may request that only asset sets containing certain asset types are shown. A developer could e.g. create a text/image paragraph presenting only asset sets containing images or offer a media paragraph showing only movies from a specific, external DAM (by referring to an asset set targeting that system and only containing movies).
Outlook: the Asset Set Collection
For the time being, there's no tab and thus no asset set representing the collection of all asset sets. The implications of such a "mother or all asset sets" would be numerous, since both the location as well as the organization scheme may differ between asset sets.
Discussions and first tests seem to indicate that this is not a disadvantage. For one, since locations can be used multiple times in asset set definitions, you can already create a super set of all asset sets showing all available asset types available at a particular location, but continue to provide sub asset sets showing assets of a certain asset type only. This seems to already cover most requirements. Secondly, it turns out that most assets used on pages are stored in internal implementations provided by a CMS, while certain company-wide used assets may be made available as read-only copies serving mainly as starting points for internal assets. The user actually seems to prefer to first choose where assets come from in such a scenario over having to choose an asset from a pool assembled from multiple locations.
Nevertheless, a search function working over all or only a number of asset sets is desirable. Future versions of Magnolia may introduce such a meta search function or even add the concept of an Asset Set Collection representing multiple asset sets from the same or different locations, but using the same organization scheme.