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Linking files to suppliers

All the files – i.e. photos, videos and other files that you make available for delivery to your clients – in your XS database must be linked to a supplier record.

Recommended reading

Suppliers, Supplier groups, Contributors and User accounts

Within the XS system, suppliers are for example photographers. Every supplier is part of a group. Groups are generally affiliate agencies that you represent, but also your own business.

If a file is not uniquely linked to a supplier, it can not be downloaded. The supplier record is important because it is used to determine;

  • who the owner (supplier) is
  • which permissions and restrictions apply
  • which Data processing rules must be processed
  • which pricing information to apply
  • which download sizes are available (smaller files are created on-the-fly from the master file).

Furthermore, the supplier record is used/can be used;

  • to apply defaults to the content metadata
  • to standardize spelling of names in the credit
  • to be able to remove all content from a particular supplier
  • to track usage data
  • in the invoicing and supplier payments processes

Scroll down if you are looking for information re how to fix files that are linked to a wrong supplier.

Automatically linking files to suppliers in the file ingestion process

All files that enter the system will go through a so called “ingestion process”. This is true regardless how the files enter the system. E.g. files may be copied from a hard drive that you sent us, uploaded via FTP, uploaded with the built-in HTTP uploader by an administrator or by a supplier/contributor, files that are syndicated from 3rd parties and so on. The only exception are files that you don’t have in your own database but that you make available with a live API connection.

Scroll down to read about how this process can be configured for syndicated files.

Files that are not uploaded with the HTTP uploader

For files that are not uploaded with the HTTP uploader, any of the following methods can be used if configured for you on the server:

  • Use of FTP upload folders for every supplier
    If a unique folder is created for every supplier, then the folder in which files are uploaded provides the information to correctly link his/her files
  • Use of FTP upload folders for every supplier group
    If a unique folder is created for every supplier group, then the folder in which files are uploaded (folder names are group id’s) provides the information to look up the group, and to then use the settings that you have configured on the syndication import tabsheet in the group properties dialog.
  • File name based
    Every supplier record has a Match code field. This field can be used to link files to suppliers. E.g. the match code can be compared with the first x-characters of a file name. As an example, supplier John Bannister has a match code JBA and his file names start with JBA_ (e.g. JBA_1000201.jpg). The first three characters of the file name can be used in the matching process.
  • Metadata based
    The embedded (IPTC, Photoshop, XMP) data has information that can be used to link files to suppliers. This can be a unique code as described above, but it can also be done based on the credit field (or other fields). Although the latter is not recommended because spelling variations may cause problems.
  • External metadata
    You can also upload files and then upload separate metadata files (XLS or XML) later on. The external metadata must then have information that can be used to link the files that already in the database.

A combination of upload methods is also possible. E.g. some files are uploaded with the HTTP uploader, some with FTP to supplier folders, some with FTP to a group folder and some files are received by syndication services. So different methods of linking files to suppliers may be in place for your specific solution.

It is important to choose a method (above) that best suits your needs before you submit files. Multiple methods can be used, but every method must be known and properly configured beforehand.

Note that it is possible to automatically have a new supplier record created if a file can not be matched, or to simply ignore this step. You can then address the problem later on. However, it is highly recommended that you make sure that the correct supplier records exist before adding files to the system.

FTP uploads with Infradox Data Transformation Services

The web server runs a service (InfradoxWinDTS) that reads embedded file data, and outputs this data to XML. The XML file is used in the next processing step (e.g. the data will be read from the XML file, stored in the database, cleaned up by Datamatic and/or your own data procesing rules, added to the full text index and so on).

  • If you FTP files to a subfolder with a supplier id (see supplier management), then the subfolder name will be put in the XML file as the supplier id. It is important to understand this, because if the XML already has a supplier id in it – then Datamatic will not execute the normal supplier matching procedures. It will simply look up the supplier and apply defaults (if any).
  • If you FTP files to the subfolder with the name “BULK”, then the resulting XML will not get a supplier id. As a result, the normal supplier matching procedures will be executed by Datamatic and a supplier will be assigned based on what is configured in the Metadata Repository (Backoffice, Site configuration, Metadata repository).
  • If you FTP files to the subfolder with supplier GROUP id, then the supplier name is looked up using the syndication settings that have been configured for the supplier group. To configure these settings, find the supplier group in Supplier management, open the properties and click on the Syndication import tabsheet. See the paragraph below for further details.

Uploads by suppliers/contributors using the HTTP uploader

If a photographer (supplier) uploads files with the built-in http uploader, then the files are automatically linked. You can create a supplier record and then link it to a website user account. This is described in the article about Contributor uploads and the submission queue.

Supplier matching for syndicated files and files sent with FTP to a supplier group folder

If you are receiving syndicated files, then follow these steps to configure the process.

  1. In Supplier management, create a new Supplier group for the agent from which you are receiving files. Click Add group in the toolbar at the top of the page.
  2. Enter a name, for example AGE. Note that this name is important, it will appear on the client facing pages and it is used by several website functions.
  3. On the Settings tab sheet, configure the defaults for suppliers that will be created in this group. Suppliers can be created in the group both manually, and automatically. If new files are to be searchable then make sure to tick the box “Immediately searchable”. To prevent files from this agent to be accessed through the 3rd party API, check “Block 3rd party API access”. Configure the rest of the settings as required.
  4. On the Territories tab sheet, select the countries where you can or can not sell the files from this agent. If you are allowed to sell the files world wide, then make sure that no countries appear in the box on the left.
  5. On the Syndication import settings tab sheet, you’ll need to configure how files are linked to the correct suppliers – and when and how new suppliers are automatically created. This is described next.

Linking files to suppliers and automatically creating new suppliers for syndicated files and files sent with FTP to supplier group folders

The XML files that have been made available to you by a syndicating partner, are automatically read by Infradox XML reader on your web server. This software must have a processing channel that is configured to read the files from a specific publisher (a party syndicating files to your website). This channel must be configured with the unique id of the supplier group that you have created – as described in the steps above (previous paragraph).

So before we can enable processing of files that are being syndicated to you, you must have configured a supplier group for the files you want to process and you must have told us the id of the group that you have created. Xpertise will be able to provide you with the information that you need for a specific syndicating partner. Once you have all the information you need, go to the Syndication settings tab sheet of the supplier group and follow these steps:

  1. In the metadata field dropdown box, select the field that contains the unique supplier code.
  2. Enter a fixed value. This value will be used as a prefix or suffix within this supplier group. This helps prevent problems with duplicate match codes if different syndication publishers (agents) use the same match codes. For Corbis you can use e.g. COR_ (just an example) or you can enter the id of the supplier group followed by a dash or underscore.
  3. Select the field that has – or will have – the unique match codes in the suppliers table. This should always be “Match code”.
  4. Select the field from which you want to copy the name for any new suppliers. If for example the metadata has a credit field with photographer names, then select the field Credit.
  5. Enable the checkbox “Copy settings from group”. This means that the default settings that you have configured for the group are automatically used for any new suppliers that will be automatically created within this group. Regardless of this setting, if you can configured territorial restrictions for the group, then these restrictions are automatically applied to any new supplier – that is created by the process – within the group.
  6. If you don’t want to automatically create a supplier if the supplier’s name (see step 4) has anything other then letters, spaces or dashes – then check this box. This allows you to check names before allowing such files to go through the process. Such files are put aside in a separate review queue.
  7. If you know that you never want to automatically accept files from certain suppliers, then enter the codes that the system will look for to prevent the files from being processed. E.g. if you know that you don’t want files from a supplier with match code MX44 to automatically enter the processing workflow, then enter his code in the reject box.
  8. If you never want to automatically create a new supplier if the name field (see step 4) contains a certain text or code, then enter those codes in the box for this purpose.

If a supplier can not be matched, and a new supplier can not be created automatically – then the file will be put aside in a separate database table. This allows you to review such files before letting those files into the system for processing – or you can reject the files. This is described separately.

Fixing files that are linked to a wrong supplier

If a single file is linked to a wrong supplier, then edit the metadata for that file (on the preview page, click edit in the toolbar).

Note that simply changing the field that is used for supplier matching will not trigger reassigning a different supplier if a supplier id has already been assigned. This is because defaults may also be applied from the supplier’s settings, and this may not always be what you want if you update a file. Therefore, you’ll need to follow the steps below:

There’s a small button next to the “supplier” field in the properties dialog. Click it to display the supplier properties window. In this window, click on “change” next to the supplier name. You can now enter the name of the correct supplier, matching suppliers will be listed (if more than one). Click on the name of the supplier in the list and then click close. The supplier name field in the metadata dialog will now display the id and name of the supplier that you selected (in orange). Save the metadata properties to have the file data reprocessed.

Resetting the supplier id for multiple files

If you need to reset the supplier id for multiple files, then add the files to your batch. When you’re done, click the “batch update” button at the top of the dialog. Click on the “properties” tabsheet. Change the Supplier dropdown box  to “Reset supplier id”. Click “Replace values”. This will save all the files in your batch without a supplier id, so that the supplier matching procedures will be executed again.