Guru Call: USA

Looking for a Guru in NY, USA. Newbie has an MLIS and is interested in transitioning to become a digital asset manager. Experience with iManage product, as well as metadata and controlled vocabularies.

Newbie has over 10 years’ experience as a LAN administrator. Interested in general industry information.

Newbie speaks English.




Guru Talk: Peter Graham – Cambridge Judge Business School

Head of Digital Strategy

With a clear understanding in the importance of managing a company’s digital assets, Graham has been able to efficiently increase brand awareness throughout the academic sector.

What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?

I first became involved with digital asset management in 2004 when I was working in the corporate communications team at King’s College London. I was charged with finding a solution to a long held, but vaguely articulated, need for an image library. It was a project which led to a journey into digital asset management and related areas like digitisation, workflow, and process improvement.

The project had originated from the need to promote a consistent visual identity across a complex organisation, but we quickly realised that there was scope for broadening the use of DAM to impact a range of business areas such as information management, heritage and preservation, and legal compliance. Appropriate management of digital assets and their metadata in this sector can improve research in the arts and sciences, and facilitate collaboration between aca­demics, digital asset own­ers, and businesses seeking new knowledge and content that they can use to maintain a competitive edge. This is especially true of universities in the UK, many of which are facing a challenging funding environment.

I went on to manage another six DAM projects over the next decade, most recently at the University of Cambridge where our brand toolkit, an integration of celum IMAGINE and Typo3, is now a vital tool in improving marketing effectiveness after a recent rebranding.

Although I aim to keep a strategic perspective I can’t deny that my particular interest is in brand asset management. Well-crafted self-service toolkits build belief in a brand and encourage engagement and advocacy – particularly when complemented by other tools like online guidelines, web-to-print functionality, and a best practice showcase.

What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?

If I had one piece of counsel to offer someone new to digital asset management it would be that DAM systems really do have the potential to produce order from chaos, but only as an integrated part of a comprehensive strategy. They need support, resourcing and a genuine organisational commitment. It’s always vital to ask what you want to achieve and why you need to do this. Don’t get too concerned if scope changes over time – that’s the nature of the beast, but the important thing is to be agile, and prepared to adapt and embrace change.

What is your vision for DAM? What will it look like in 5 years?

It’s an interesting market at the moment and there’s a layer of obfuscation which some vendors have used to their advantage – a lack of transparency about DAM, and what clients should expect, has made it easier to sell inferior products. This is beneficial to vendors whose products are significantly behind the best of breed, but customers suffer. I’m supportive of the DAM Guru initiative as a positive opportunity to dispel some of the confusion and I’d like to see the DAM community making more of an effort to share knowledge and insight.

The features of many digital asset management systems have reached a plateau of stability. On one hand this means that the sector is mature, but also indicates a lack of innovation and potentially a challenging period as Cloud-based file sharing services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Skydrive also reach maturity. Articulating value and distinctiveness is going to be a survival challenge for some vendors if they’re unwilling or unable to move to higher value.

Hosted DAM systems are now undoubtedly convenient and cost-effective alternatives to the traditional in-house models, but in many large institutions there’s still a need for a cultural change to accept that hosting has become a commoditised service. Further growth in cloud-based services is inevitable and this is huge area of interest and opportunity for DAM, as with many other enterprise systems.

One area where I’d like to see DAM vendors make rapid progress is in user interface design. I can count the number of genuinely intuitive user interfaces on the fingers of one hand – to be truly successful DAM systems need to offer a choreographed experience which is engaging and as effectively integrated as possible.

Would you like to be a DAM Guru Program featured DAM professional? Signup now (for free) or contact your DAM Guru Program manager.

  Category: DGP Member Interviews
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Happy Birthday DAM Guru Program


One year later

Today, 21 February, 2014, DAM Guru Program turns one year old. What started out as a lofty ambition of the DAM industry’s lesser known DAM vendors (at the time) has become the world’s largest and most widely recognized database of digital asset management expertise.

Averaging more than one new member application per day, DAM Guru Program has processed more than 400 applications since the program’s launch.

In addition to matching Gurus to Newbies, DAM Guru Program has matched its members with employer prospects too. The entire month of October, 2013 was dedicated to a virtual job fair intended to make connections easier for members and employers. Recognizing the potential the fair offered members, program managers decided to make the job fair a permanent fixture of the program’s website. HR managers who know they need a DAM person but have no idea what that means, now have a place to go to find who they need. “It’s like Amazon.DAM in there,” one person joked.

The program soon thereafter started featuring Guru members in weekly profiles and, most recently, announced it will provide the resources and logistical support to enable members to conduct their own webinars for the DAM community.

Integrity that’s been noticed

Initial skepticism that Picturepark would manage the program in a fair, unbiased way have largely been satisfied. In October, Digital Asset Management News wrote, “Picturepark … have been very good in terms of not using it to push their software product via this channel.  It would be quite easy for their sales personnel to start cold-calling either Gurus or Newbies and engage in other ‘trust destruction’ activity. But to their credit, they have not done that and it’s been kept very clean and well behaved.”

DAM Guru Program has turned out to be exactly what it was meant to be: a free resource that connects digital asset management gurus to people who need their help. No strings attached and no hidden agendas.

Superstar membership

DAM Guru Program has been honored to accept as members some of the DAM industry’s most influential leaders, such as David Riecks (, Heather Hedden (The Accidental Taxonomist), Ralph Windsor (DAM News/ Daydream UK), David Ginsberg (Elegant Workflow) and Dan McGraw (7Dials media)—and those are just some of the “superstar” members that have permitted us to mention them. Membership applications have also come from employees from OpenText, North Plains, Earley & Associates, Celum, Canto, Widen, Oracle, IBM, HP, Chrysler, Merck, Rutgers, Cornell and Marquette Universities, Symantec, The American Red Cross, Freescale Semiconductor, CVS, Starz, Harley-Davidson, Harlequin, MD Anderson Cancer Center, The American Cancer Society, A&E Networks, The Lincoln Center , The Orlando Magic, Landor, Ethan Allen, Verizon, Picturepark and scores more.

Perhaps most importantly, DAM Guru Program has become an ally for many students of Digital Asset Management—people who will tomorrow be working as DAM managers, designers and maybe even vendors.

With appreciation

Picturepark thanks the DAM community for trusting us. We thank DAM Guru Program members for being so cooperative and wonderful. And we thank all those who work so hard to provide quality digital asset management educational resources to others.

The more people learn about and understand DAM, the better off we’ll all be in this community.

— Picturepark



Below are some  well wishes from DAM Guru Program members.

[learn_more caption=”From our members” state=”open”]

Happy birthday DAM Guru program! I’m so glad to be a part of such a great resource!

Kristy Alexander, The Chase Group


Congrats on your first year! It’s nice to know there’s someone who cares about us. A great place to learn too!

— Mars Roberge, Nomad Editing Company


Happy 1st birthday, DAM Guru Program! You’ve already touched many lives, and you’re only a year old. Here’s to many more years of connecting DAM Gurus, DAM newbies, and DAM seekers!

—  Debbie Fanslow, Digital Asset Management Student


Happy Birthday DAM Guru Program! What a wonderful resource for both sides of the aisle! It is a great addition to the other non-proprietary resources that Picturepark has provided to the DAM community. Keep up the good work!

—  Howard Goldstein, Digital Imaging Strategies


 I really appreciate what this program is offering the DAM community. Happy Birthday, DAM Guru Program! Thank you for bringing more attention to the DAM field. You rock!

—  Susan Fisher, Director of Content Management, The JCC in Manhattan


Great job in your first year in advancing the DAM community!

Tom Haynes, Department Manager Visual Asset Management, Chrysler


A year old? Congratulations! That’s a year of making connections and working to dispel the confusion about digital asset management. Happy birthday!

—  Peter Graham, Head of Digital Strategy, Cambridge Judge Business School


Happy Birthday and long life, DAM Guru Program! Keep growing!

— José Eugênio Grillo, EPYX Soluções Editoriais Ltda.


This is a great service you are all providing over at Picturepark. I wish it was available to me years ago. Happy Birthday, DAM Guru Program!

—  Matt Shirley , Digital Asset Manager, Nordstrom


Happy Birthday, DAM Guru Program! Keep up the good work!

—  Ryan Lim, Manager Products and Support, Dayang International


Congratulations on your birthday and thanks for your creative input!

—  Thomas Schmidt, Firstmover Pro


Happy Birthday, wishing you your best year ever!

—  Bill Felter, York Wall Coverings


Many many happy returns of the day, DAM Guru Program

—  Chethan Mallikarjun, Infosys Ltd


I’ve never seen metadata that I didn’t like!

David Nguyen, Catalog Specialist, Amazon


Happy Birthday, DAM Guru Program!!! I wish you much more success in 2014.

—  Carlos Joven, Onelatam


The first birthday that should already have been a tenth or a twentieth! Happy birthday DAM Guru Program!!

—  Roel Van de Water, Catena Company


I wish DAM Guru Program a very happy birthday. In fact, I don’t know how it took a year for me to know about the program!

—  Sreejith Jayadevan


Thanks for creating such an innovative and cutting edge program to help the members of the DAM community. This is really great!

—  Tony Brooke, Digital Asset Management Student


Thanks for the great DAM Guru program. It’s a great place to explore more about DAM.

—  Mandakini Mishra, IBM


What a great service.  Thanks so much!  

Kim Le, Cal Academy


This is a great program. Thanks for making it work.

Michael MacSween, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment


  Category: Program Info
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Guru Talk: Tracy Wolfe – Corbis


Tracy Wolfe - Digital Asset Manager

A woman of many talents and skills, Wolfe works to efficiently manage all aspects of the Corbis digital asset management system.

What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?

At DDB Seattle, I worked as a Visual Resource Manager, a newly created role to manage client assets using the DAM system Extensis Portfolio. At the time, the project involved not only loading high resolution assets to the system, but creating a keywording process and training users.

I have been working at Corbis Images as a Digital Asset Manager for several years, managing all aspects of the DAM system (HP MediaBin) for the communications department at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I wear many hats in this role, from managing and implementing system customizations and upgrades, to loading images, applying metadata, governance, creating documentation and tracking bugs. I am also the contact for the client, users and the internal interface with Corbis IT as needed.

Editor note: Ms. Wolfe is now a Search Editor at Getty Images. She works with metadata and taxonomy.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

I usually describe my role as being a digital librarian because it is something most people can understand. I explain that I work with documents, photographs and videos – all digital filetypes and with helping users to efficiently find those assets via the system.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

At first, at DDB, I simply relied on my innate organizational skills and understanding of the creative workflow at an ad agency. After that, I decided to pursue an MLIS to broaden my knowledge of metadata, controlled vocabulary, DAM, and all web technologies.

What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?

The system does not run itself. There needs to be someone assigned to ensure that metadata is entered consistently, that users can find what they need and that things like upgrades actually occur. Many companies think that they will purchase a DAM, load all their assets, apply a few tags and then forget about it, but DAM is a living and evolving organism.

If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?

Some type of digital librarian job such as taxonomist, metadata librarian, knowledge management position or even perhaps something in the DAM software world.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

Getting internal and external support when technical issues inevitably arise.

What is your vision for DAM? What will it look like in 5 years?

I hope that all DAM embraces simplicity. The administrative interfaces on many enterprise level DAM systems are very complex in terms of security, permissions, taxonomies, metadata and overall configuration.

I hope there is more readily available DAM education. Conferences like the Henry Stewart DAM series and Creatasphere help, as do programs like the San Jose State University’s MLIS program which has a DAM course taught by one of the masters of DAM education, John Horodyski.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

Cutting the QA process short following a major upgrade to HP MediaBin.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

Making video operational in our current system by using a plug-in. For years, the client’s preferred original video format would not play or download in our DAM system and this upgrade yielded new information regarding a cost effective plug-in to solve the video issues.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

Every day I learn something new about our system and our client. I hope in my future career, I have many chances to continue learning about DAM.

Would you like to be a DAM Guru Program featured DAM professional? Signup now (for free) or contact your DAM Guru Program manager.

Guru Call: USA

Looking for a Guru in VA, USA. Newbie is tasked to develop a proposal for a digital asset management program in the libraries.

Interested in speaking with Gurus who have an MLIS, are experienced with proposal writing or have setup a DAM for a library in the past.

Newbie speaks English.




Guru Call: USA

Looking for a Guru in Texas, USA. Newbie is seeking advice from someone who has worked extensively with the Xinet WebNative Suite.

They are interested in talking about configuration setups for optimizing database speed for internal users (setting up additional portal(s) inside the firewall.) Looking for unbiased support to achieve goals.

Newbie speaks English.




Guru Talk: Lisa Fukshansky – Motorola/Google

Lisa Fukshansky - Digital Asset Manager

Experiences as a digital asset manager for multiple departments, Lisa Fukshansky has learned how to implement a digital asset management system on a number of levels.

What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?

My first role as a digital asset manager was at Motorola/Google. When I first started, I managed the packaging DAM, helping the department get assets to the printers. Then I began working on the main DAM for marketing and sales assets. Finally we integrated a new DAM and I was the digital asset manager for all three DAMs.

My current role with AbbVie is also a digital asset manager. We are integrating a new DAM for asset storage and future e-submissions for the FDA!

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

Aligning the stars!

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I talked to my DAM’s at previous jobs, read blogs (I really like David Diamond’s), and attended webinars.

What is the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?

The most important thing about DAM is the GIGO Effect: Garbage In Garbage Out. When uploading assets and information, please take your time and have someone check the work. If you can’t find the assets you upload, then your DAM becomes worthless.

If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?

Gemology, this girl loves her diamonds.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

Staff retention and training with agencies. I always suggest making quick tips & tricks to help new users jump right in.

Would you like to be a DAM Guru Program featured DAM professional? Signup now (for free) or contact your DAM Guru Program manager.

  Category: DGP Member Interviews
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Guru Call: USA

Looking for a Guru in New Jersey, USA. Newbie is seeking controlled vocabulary assistance for start-up company. Newbie also needs information on a DAM solution that would be fit company needs.

Seeking overall strategy and best-practices information. Newbie speaks English.