By Linda Rouse
The social profile of librarians as “custodians of knowledge” in the community (despite the often derogatory stereotyping) attracts people who have a curiosity and interest in information and research, and in developing the requisite skill sets to become knowledge or information workers.
Librarians understand assets. One of the key factors taught in library schools is that information is valuable and knowledge is power, and it matters little the form—it may be a book, magazine, picture, video or any of the myriad digital formats that make up the world of information today. So managing images and videos is not so very different from managing books and journals—many of the same rules apply.
Librarians learn to catalog and classify items according to global standards. We learn about collection management. We identify different editions and formats for version control. We understand the importance of governance in managing assets.
We have the expertise to research and apply metadata schemas and taxonomies. We understand the business value of efficient asset discovery and findability. We know about copyright and intellectual property, and we can write or develop appropriate policies for effective digital rights management.
These skills can each be readily translated into the world of digital asset management. In fact, these skills are among the first that DAM managers not from library science backgrounds need to learn.
It’s when we think about the adoption of DAM, user training and best practices that the experience of the librarian really comes into its own—from the public librarian organising reading aloud groups for children, to the many special librarians producing what’s new lists for their clients.
Librarians are skilled at encouraging and training users to find materials that match their needs. We know that different types of users require different strategies and methodologies to inform and empower them to use a system, and we are experts when it comes to developing best practices to meet these requirements.
So when in doubt, ask a librarian!
About Linda Rouse
Linda Rouse, BA DipLib AALIA (Associate of the Australian Library and Information Association), has been a practicing librarian for many years. Her career started at the University of New South Wales, Australia, where she acquired her post-graduate Diploma of Librarianship. Rouse then became a cataloguer and later a reference librarian for the State Library of New South Wales, and spent a further 10 years doing electronic research as a freelance contractor. The lure of the Internet tempted her away from traditional librarianship to educate users on ’Net searching and building Web pages. Rouse became involved with Digital Asset Management in its early years, crediting the industry’s “Mother of DAM,” Jennifer Neumann, for much of her transitional training. She has since been dedicated to the promotion of DAM through education in her role as Information Manager for Australia’s DataBasics.
DAM Guru Program recognizes this article as worthy of the #LearnDAM designation for materials that provide genuine digital asset management education without sales agendas. Search #LearnDAM on Google for more materials.