Protocol for Using the Brown Image Gallery

The Brown Image Gallery Protocol outlines the guidelines and standards for units across campus contributing images to the Brown Image Gallery (BIG). The BIG is an important University-wide resource available to the Brown community at

Department Assets Groups

The assets that each unit stores and maintains in its own asset group are only accessible to those who have been granted permission by the unit’s administrator(s) or the global administrator. Tagging, organizing and sharing these assets within the unit is managed at the discretion of the individual unit.

However, simply storing asset files without metadata, even in an individual unit’s asset group, defeats the purpose of using a digital asset management system. Participating units are strongly encouraged to follow the guidelines for adding images with metadata to their asset group to maximize the usefulness of the BIG and as a preparation for sharing images to the University Assets group.

Departments that would like assistance developing a workflow for managing their digital assets may contact the global administrator in Brown's Office of University Communications, at, to schedule a meeting or training session.

University Assets Group

Units with departmental asset groups are strongly encouraged to add a selection of shareable images to the University Assets Group, complete with the proper permissions and metadata. Images in this shared space are intended to be used across the University for news, marketing, social media, and many other purposes. All images added to the University Assets group must have the proper permissions or documentation secured and stored, as stated in the Image Use Policy.

Contributing to the University Assets Group

The University Asset group is the BIG’s primary feature of greatest use to the collective Brown Community and most pertinent to its intended use. The University Assets group is meant to be a wide-ranging resource, reflective of the community. Units are encouraged to make regular contributions of carefully selected content that reflects the unique nature of their unit. While there is no quota or timetable in which departments are required to add images to the University Assets group, it is a good practice to add content to the shared space on a regular basis, as it is created. Units are discouraged from adding large amounts of uncurated images to the University Assets group, but rather only a selection identified to be of use to the community.

Units that share their assets to the University Assets group, help create a fuller, richer picture of the University and widen their own reach to the greater community. Examples of subject matter appropriate for the University Assets group include wide spaces, genuine moments between people at Brown, innovative research, events unique to departments and the community. For more examples and guidance, see the Guidelines for BIG Use.

Required Data for University Assets

The required fields for all assets are FilenameTitleDescription, CreatorDateContributor, Rights Summary, KeywordsModel Release Available and Release Date fields.

The Sequence is the date the assets were created (formatted YYYYMMDD), your Department Code, and set the number of digits at 4. It is recommended that numbers start at 0001. 

The formal title of the content, such as name and place, or brief descriptive phrase.

Descriptive text about the content of the asset detailing the scope or content more comprehensively than the title. Be as specific as possible with what information is known (e.g. event title and location, specific activity captured, specific people).

Please note that every effort must be taken to capture the names of individuals featured as subjects of photographs. In turn, these details should be specified in the item description. “Students with the president at commencement,” is insufficient. A more precise description, such as “President Christina Paxson congratulates senior class marshals Rudy Torres, Candice Ellis, Sazzy Gourley and Ziwei Tang, Class of 2016, during the Commencement procession,” will ensure the image is found in a variety of searches and will help identify the subject clearly to other users.

Capturing in the moment the names of individuals featured as subjects is also an important part of the process of securing permission for the image’s use. More information on image use permissions is provided in the “Model’s Release Available?” instructions, below.

The name of the original creator (individual, group, organization, or otherwise) who was responsible for the creation of the original asset.

The date of the asset’s creation (not the date it was uploaded to the BIG).

The name of the department that contributed the asset to the BIG, selected from a predetermined and standardized list of departments by their official names.

Rights Summary
Indicates the copyright holder/type, selected from a predetermined and standardized list of copyright types.

Keywords that accurately describe the asset. Separate keywords with commas. For tips on proper use of keywords, see “Keyword Tips” in the Guidelines section of this document.

Model Release Available?
The model release field is crucial, ensuring that the University maintains compliance with all privacy and legal requirements, as detailed in Brown’s Image Use Policy. It guarantees that shared assets are truly available for use for all types of University communication.

The availability of proper image use permission stating the model’s consent, is to be identified in the asset. The model release field must identify whether the subject of an image requires an image release and if so, that one is on file. When the field for the image is marked “Yes,” it indicates that there is a model release on file for the person(s) identified as the subject of the image. If the field is marked “N/A,” the subject of the image (such as a building or a large crowd) does not require a release for its use.

For more detailed information on image use permission, please review Brown’s Image Use Policy.

Release Date
The release date refers to when the asset was released in the BIG for other users to see and access. Images that are released can be seen by selected users, while unreleased images can only be seen by managers and administrators. If assets are unreleased when added to the University Assets group, the rest of the community will not be able to find them in a search.

End User License Agreement and Appropriate Use

Brown University council has provided an end user license agreement to which users agree during registration to the Brown Image Gallery. Please review the terms of the agreement, as well as the University requirements for appropriate use of assets.

Glossary of Common Terms

  • digital assets: photography, logos, graphics, illustrations, animations, video, audio and other digital intellectual property with use rights attached to them.

  • digital asset management system (DAM): a general term for any software that organizes and shares digital assets across a community.

  • Brown Image Gallery (BIG): the name of Brown University’s DAM.

  • Widen Collective: the company that created and maintains Brown University’s DAM software.

  • University Asset Group: the primary shared asset group within the BIG accessible to all university users.