Category: DGP Member Interviews

Guru Talk: Jennifer Terbosic – DePuy Synthes

digital asset manager

Having worked in digital asset management for over a decade, Terbosic has worked and re-worked to improve company processes and build efficiency within the DAM system.

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

I am presently the Digital Asset Manager at DePuy Synthes; this is where I began my career in DAM and I’m still currently employed.  I started as a Digital Imaging Specialist bulk uploading content, testing different hierarchy scenarios and experimenting with metadata. In my current role I help to manage/coordinate projects and document processes around our DAM system.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

In the DAM world or to someone who is new and interested in DAM I explain it as a database used to classify and organize assets.  A powerful tool for any company who wants to easily organize assets and utilize the power of metadata behind each asset.

For my friends and family I explain it as a digital library or database that organizes our electronic assets.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I learned DAM mostly by just learning our DAM system and working closely with our IT team and exploring the business needs.  I also like to attend Henry Stewart DAM conferences to stay connected in the industry as well as learn from other DAM administrators.

Few other resources:

I recently purchased the newest DAM book Digital Asset Management: Content Architectures, Project Management, and Creating Order out of Media Chaos by Elizabeth Keathley.

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

You need a dedicated resource, and as your system grows your team needs to grow as well.  Also connect with and include the business, ask them questions and try to meet their needs and involve them; this will greatly help with user acceptance.

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

I have a background in photography and photo restoration and a love for music, so my dream job would be a concert photographer.  I also love fashion and could maybe see exploring DAM in that industry as well.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

Currently it is getting all the right processes in place and making sure you have the right people in place to help define these processes.  The end result is you want your DAM to run like a well oiled machine and to getting to that point takes time and patience and lots of communication.

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

I think DAM will finally begin to be recognized as a powerful necessary tool for most companies.  I also think the power of metadata and search will continue to expand from DAM to external channels with DAM being the localized source of data.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

I don’t really have a perfect example of this I would like to think of the mistakes made as lessons learned.  I was part of the day one of implementing DAM at our company and we have made mistakes along the way, but I like to think each one came with a valuable lesson.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

I think my biggest success is being part of team that brought DAM into a DAM-less organization and being part of its growth and acceptance.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

I would love to learn more about how DAM is fully utilized in other industries.  Maybe even learn more about the backend of DAM and explore the consulting side of the industry as well.

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Guru Talk: Amanda Cortese – Ogilvy & Mather

Digital Asset Manager

Learning digital asset management from the ground up, Cortese has gained valuable experiences with planning and change-management for DAM systems.

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

I originally worked for Schawk Retail Marketing, where I managed the tangible assets. I now manage the Digital Asset Management system at Ogilvy & Mather Chicago.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

I describe DAM as a centralized repository for digital assets. The DAM I created in my current role is actually two-fold: it’s a digital library and it’s a streamlined production workflow. The digital library is, in a way, very prototypal – it has a style, a taxonomy and a schema all it’s own, but for all intents and purposes, it’s a well-functioning digital asset management solution. The workflow is a culmination of the technology, the existing way the agency worked and a little sprinkle of research, understanding and improvement.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I learned about DAM while working in advertising. I originally worked [for an agency] managing tangible assets. I worked in a basement and shipped samples to [my agency’s] photo studio. From there, I moved into a Project-Manager-meets-Production-Coordinator-meets-Account-Manager type of role. I felt like I worked more hours in that role than in any other I had – which is how I learned the ins and outs of production within advertising. That knowledge is what led to my current role, where I was hired to lead the project in building a Digital Asset Management solution for Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago.

Since my collegiate background isn’t in Advertising or Library Sciences, everything I learned in these fields has been from my professional experiences. It’s been an interesting way to learn about such a large and growing industry.

I’ve also attended two Digital Asset Management conferences and a number of webinars. A few of my favorite sources are DAM Coalition, DAM Guru Program & Henry Stewart Events.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

I think the largest hurdle I’ve had to jump is in regards to change-management. It took a good two years for some people in my agency to accept the fact that the way they used to work was changing. I wouldn’t have had it any other way, though – this pushed me to express how important and necessary this project, tool and department was to the agency. It tested my strengths and patience and taught me a number of skill sets I couldn’t have learned in any other situation.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

My biggest mistake with regard to DAM is thinking I could do too much, too fast. It took me a few years to understand that technology isn’t instant. Building a workflow, a database, a structure, takes time. The research that has to be put into every detail of what you’re designing and building has to make sense. It’s far less effective to be reactionary at every turn than it is to take the right amount of time, the first time around.

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Guru Talk: Corey Chimko – Cornell University

With a wide range of skills in museum curation of digital assets and Web design, Chimko understands that managing a DAM is not a temporary project but one that requires full-time management, with a life-cycle of its own.

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

In the late 1990s, I began working as a Collections Assistant with the Museums and Collections Services (MACS) at the University of Alberta. In the beginning of the 2000’s, I started as a graduate intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. From there, I moved into a role with the American Museum of Natural History, where I was the Assistant Registrar. Building upon that experience, I took a position in 2006 with Cornell University Photography, where I have been the Digital Resources Coordinator ever since.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

I describe Digital Asset Management to others as the presentation, preservation, management and maintenance of any form of digital file. I usually mention that it merges aspects of curation, librarianship, database management, marketing, and archiving.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I began learning aspects of DAM through my college job at MACS at the U of A. This was around 1996/1997, so DAM was still in its infancy. Over the next five years or so, I taught myself Web design and many Internet skills that involved the organization and curation of digital images. From 1999 to 2001, I attended NYU where I completed a concentration in Museum Studies, where registration work was my primary interest. I interned at both the Met and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, where I participated in exhibit planning that involved the use of DAM systems. After graduation, I did a temporary stint at AMNH as an assistant registrar, which relied heavily on DAM. After a few years working for Museums Alberta and the Orange County Library System in Florida (where I was close to both museum and library practice, although I was not involved specifically in DAM work), I returned to New York  to accept my current position as the Digital Resources Coordinator for University Photography at Cornell University, where I manage the university-wide DAM system full-time.

I have found that the resources that many find useful for DAM rely heavily on what field or industry they happen to be in, since the DAM spectrum is so large. However, I do like the Journal of Digital Media Management, and I do pay attention to white papers that come out from Henry Stewart, Createasphere, Widen, WebDAM, and other industry leaders.

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

That DAM is complicated and requires credentialed, fully-trained full-time staff. I have found that just about everyone outside the DAM industry believes that if someone can upload pictures to their Flickr account, then they can manage a DAM system. Also that DAM is not a temporary project but one that requires full-time management and has a life-cycle of its own.

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

I would most likely be working for either a museum or art gallery in some capacity, Or possibly working for myself via an internet startup.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

From a technical standpoint, volume processing and tagging for search is by far the most difficult task. In a marketing environment, many criteria that clients use to search are highly subjective. Related is the problem that context is also difficult to deal with, i.e., how much is too little or too much? From a management standpoint, user adoption and aversion to technology is also a major issue.

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

In a perfect world, DAM would be recognized as a fundamental necessity for ensuring continued preservation and access to information in the Digital Age. This awareness is not yet widespread. There is a lack of expertise and formal education opportunities in the field. My vision would be to have degree or certificate programs in computer and information science departments in universities and colleges, and more visibility for the industry as a whole.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

Assuming that it sold itself; that if I built it, they would come. Marketing the system itself, to say nothing of the marketing potential of its content, is a big challenge that most asset managers are not properly equipped for.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to build more than one DAM system from the ground up, which has given me a very wide range of skills at all levels and with all aspects of DAM. My current system for Cornell University is university-wide, with great user adoption and a very large number of assets. I consider it a great success.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

I am interested in learning about ways in which other DAM professionals manage volume, time and resources. I am also interested in the freelance or consultant approach to DAM, as opposed to being an in-house full-time manager. I am also very interested in new technologies and how they can be applied to DAM systems.

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Guru Talk: Nigel Cliffe – The Marketing Lab Ltd

Nigel-Cliffe

With loads of experience helping multiple clients find success in the digital asset management space, Cliffe examines the many aspects of what constitutes a successful DAM implementation.

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

Most of my 17 years experience has come from providing clients with DAM solutions of one sort or another, including system provision or consultancy. These have mainly been from my own company or with partners. In my first company, Leaf Frog Communications, we managed the DAM requirements for many of the UK’s foremost financial services organizations, one of which I still manage to this day.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

It largely depends on who I am talking to! At the bottom end I liken it to sorting your photograph album. At the top end I can describe it as the base they probably don’t know exists for all content media management. One thing we haven’t yet got sorted in our industry is a common definition – I think that has held us back.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I was a very early adopter of the acronym – if I recall, back in ’95. As the world began to move into multi-channel communications (as opposed to ‘just’ print) I realized someone, somewhere, would need to take central control and version control of, as was then, still image assets. I often recall the days when, in an early digital photography studio that dealt heavily in the retail sector, we used to photograph the same items day in day out for press releases, before the concept of storing the image became a reality. It seems completely bonkers looking back, but I guess I came through the roots, so learned it from the ground up. Today I learn most things from webinars, blogs and discussion forums.

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

DAM is only useful when inside a workflow. If it remains a repository alone its commercial benefit will be short-lived. (To add: DAM has to make the grade in the boardroom. Start working out how you will satisfy the FD and you may well have the secret for success).

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

I haven’t concentrated entirely on DAM as a career. I call myself a Marketing Technologist which embraces many more facets of digital technology. DAM for me, however, is at the very root of all content marketing.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

The acronym itself. You can be amongst very bright technically savvy marketers and find that they have never heard of the expression. We still have a long way to go in developing a universal understanding of the role DAM plays in a world exploding with content.

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

The biggest problem for DAM is well structured meta data and a taxonomy to accompany it. As devices become more sophisticated at adding meta data on the fly we will find the value of DAM increasing. Imagine a ‘content scanner’ that can identify content and automatically add meta data on the fly – the device, the location, the content, the mood, the sentiment perhaps? DAM will form its own brain, added to iteratively over time. The brain will pick up new facets about old data based on new information it receives, making any repository more valuable as time passes. Perhaps my old photograph albums will be able to tag themselves?

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

Expecting that by the 2005 everyone would know what DAM meant and be adopting it as a core discipline! It’s been along educational role and I see no end in sight.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

Holding on to a client for 17 years!

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

I find case studies of real implementations of DAM to be the most valuable learning experiences. Especially when they are told with honesty. Unfortunately many horror stories go untold because of the embarrassing fall out. Perhaps a ‘show and tell’ anonymous blog might do the trick?

What tips would you give anyone adopting a strategy for DAM?

Start simple. Move forward from today and don’t look back too far. Find some early wins. Leave no department untouched. DAM impacts everyone, leave no-one out.

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Guru Talk: Kimberlee Bush – Evergreene Graphics

Digital Imaging Specialist III

Armed with a graphic design background and experience in marketing, Bush has a unique perspective on DAM.

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

From 1997-2013 I worked at The Raymond Corporation, an electric forklift truck manufacturer, in the Marketing Communications department. One of my major roles included project management to research, select, and launch an enterprise DAM solution. Following installation, I transitioned to a project administrator role. This included defining taxonomy, keywords, asset ingestion, training documentation and user training, troubleshooting, and ongoing system management with the vendor and internal IT department.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I learned DAM by conducting online research, reading books on DAM and content management, attending multiple DAM Symposium workshops and seminars, plus a taxonomy workshop. I also participated in vendor specific training from intro level to administrator training. In conjunction with the major DAM project I managed, I was also finishing my masters degree at RIT, and I chose DAM as my thesis project in order to use the data as a primary source for my research. One of my best go-to sources was The Journal of Digital Asset Management, edited by Michael Moon.

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

From my experience with DAM, it is critical to understand how to prove the application’s value to someone not familiar with the industry. Because DAM is often considered a supporting or ancillary service, companies may not approve additional resources needed to take full advantage of its capabilities. Being able to prove its value in a business environment may mean the difference between manual file search and storage, and an information rich, self-service application, with all the data to support its use and value.

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

Before, during, and after my role as a DAM project manager and administrator, I am a professional graphic designer. I had the unusual advantage of managing a DAM project from the creative side, rather than the IT side. I was able to influence the project from a creative user viewpoint, rather than an IT perspective. DAM systems are traditionally managed by an IT Department, whose members have a completely different mindset, and understanding of DAM, than creatives.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

Since I have left my employer and started my own business, I would like to learn more about single-user DAM applications for small businesses. I am still a graphic designer, creating and/or purchasing assets every week. I need a small application to help me manage and find my assets quickly.

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Guru Talk: Romney Whitehead – Net-A-Porter Group

Head of Digital Content Platforms

Working in publishing and e-commerce sectors, Romney Whitehead has  a depth of knowledge that comes from decades of experience in the digital asset management field.

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

As with many digital asset managers I ‘accidentally’ came to my role after working on the picture desk at BBC magazines. In 1999, they began a DAM initiative—one of the first in the UK for publishing—and I was the champion for it within the Radio Times Magazine area. For me, it was plain to see the future lay with DAM, so I asked to be more involved with the program, and moved over into the project. The rest, as they say, is history.

After over ten years in the role at the BBC, I then moved to e-commerce company Net-A-Porter Group, firstly as digital asset manager and now as manager of the content platforms and digital asset lifecycle, including DAM,CMS, print and digital publishing. With the huge variety and volume of assets the company produces, this continues to be a very challenging role and very different from the publishing and brand management area but equally enjoyable.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

This can be a difficult thing, lots of people think you work in financial areas, many just adopt a blank look, others will ask the question you are expecting which is, “what exactly do you do?”

The easiest way I have found to explain DAM to the layperson is to make it relevant to them. Most people will take hundreds of pictures on their smart phones or cameras and then upload them to a computer or cloud storage. I then ask them of they could find a single image within those many pictures of the most memorable moment of their last holiday or special occasion. Are those pictures generally labelled 001.jpg or dsc_234.jpg? How do you find that one image or video within the many that have been accumulated over the years?

I then tell them about metadata, (nothing too in depth), and wouldn’t it be great if you had all your ‘stuff’ in one central place that you could search and find, and then perhaps share through email or social media, and maybe you could even rate your photos as the best or worse, and put them into collections etc.

I tend to stop there, as there is only so much a DAM newbie or regular person can take in the first 15 minutes of meeting me; but often thats enough to help explain things in a simple way that they grasp and mostly then show an interest in learning more

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

The world of DAM has evolved so much over the many years I have worked in it that I hardly recognise it as the place I began. Where in the past it was all about central repository, some metadata, and search and retrieval (which it still is), now I have to consider the content creation, storage, distribution, publishing, curation and archive path as well as infrastructure. DAM systems have become monoliths within some companies, moving away from their core initial requirements and dipping into areas that may have traditionally been managed by adjacent systems such as production or editing or rich media tools. The volume of vendors has stretched from the traditional DAMs into companies such as Adobe selling DAM, or online storage tools such as Dropbox or Google Drive entering the picture. This has blurred the lines for digital asset managers, and whilst the role has become more recognised as a ‘real job’, it is also far from the job it was 10, or even 5 years ago.

I think this trend will continue, where perhaps there will be fewer DAM specialists and DAM-specific software. The title of Digital Asset Manager may have become more recognised, but I think it will also change in what a person in that role looks like and does on a daily basis. If they work within a commercial company, they will need to be much more concerned with not only asset types changing, the volume of digital assets ever increasing, the nuances of metadata and businesses expecting a greater ROI quicker; they will also need to be up to speed with storage, integration with adjoining systems, commissioning and sales.

What I would like to see personally is DAM evolving into a more valuable repository in terms of the content stored within it. Instead of offering businesses just an area they can put every single asset they produce—hundreds of pictures from a photo shoot, many hours of video rushes that will never get used—I would like digital asset managers to understand and follow best practices of curation, but for that curation to be part of the responsibility of commissioners. If they encouraged a ‘curate before create’ attitude, then the value of the final asset would be much greater and fewer assets would lie dormant within a system, therefore making the whole system and process more cost efficient.

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Guru Talk: Klaus Sonnenleiter – PrintedArt

Klaus-Sonnenleiter

Having worked with digital assets since the beginning, Sonnenleiter understands it’s all about workflow.

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

I worked as the primary software architect at a company called “The Media Machine”, which was one of the early DAM vendors in the mid 90s with possibly the first fully web based DAM product. I then worked in network management for about 10 years before returning to the general vicinity of digital assets, now running my own company PrintedArt (http://www.printedart.com) that maintains a fine art photography collection and production service.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

A little bit like a good closet organizing system. It’s not your most attractive piece of furniture, it’s deeply hidden from everybody else, and even on a good day, you need it only once. But if it’s not working, you’ll know immediately.

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

In most cases, it is not your primary business, but serves in a supporting role. Digital assets need to not be a problem so that the rest of your business can spend its energy where it is needed. For example, if you maintain a set of images for publishing, you don’t want to spend your time worrying about getting the images into publish-ready state. Similarly, if you have digital assets for sale in an online store, your solution needs to handle the workflow of accepting new inventory, tagging it for sale, promoting it and pushing inventory through the customers’ shopping carts without constant manual interference. So whichever solution you pick needs to be deeply integrated into your company’s operating processes.

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

I’m not sure – maybe write open source software; or work as a ski instructor; or I might return to my roots as a journalist.

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

It will be fully embedded. Most people have too many things on their watch list as it is and they don’t want yet another thing to look after, now that they already need to worry about their network infrastructure, the health of their cloud service provider, their social media presence, their marketing channels and so many other things. Digital assets will continue to be managed, but they will be managed inside a larger solution that handles marketing activities, sales platforms, publishing channels or whatever the primary activity of the company is.

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Guru Talk: Bob Hendriks – In Transit Images

Managing Director

With deep photography roots and a background in IT, Hendriks has worked to meet the needs of modern day digital asset management systems for a variety of audiences.

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

Working as a self-employed Commercial Photographer in the early 2000’s, it was in my opinion a pure necessity to implement DAM as part of my business, even when digital photography still existed with film photography. This paid off when our company – Bob Hendriks Concepts – added graphic and web design to its services, everything digital, every asset accounted for, every project searchable.

In both ventures I was the (only) DAM professional and had to make it work, my background in IT and curiosity in the subject helped me tremendously. In 2009 I embarked on an even more DAM heavy adventure with In Transit Images, a boutique photography licensing house, in the capacity of Managing Director and working on a different scale, we gathered a team of professionals around and developed our own platform with at the foundation a enterprise DAM solution.

My role in this project was to create the IT architecture, make sure the budgeting was available and steer the project and development teams, basically designed it from the ground up.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

Every day I will speak with people familiar with the concept but not with the jargon or people who face the challenges of missing DAM in their organization without knowing there are solutions. In either case I will describe them a virtual warehouse with many parts ready for use or sale, the warehouse needs to know where, how many and what parts are available and being used. Each part will have a sticker or tag describing what it is and its part-number maybe even a barcode. DAM is a digital inventory system, each asset or part tagged with keywords and certain characteristics – metadata – to be able to find and keep track of the assets you need on-going updating of that system.

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

Digital Asset Management needs consistency, uniformity and inclusion. Consistency provides timely updates with precise data, DAM is a marathon run not a sprint.  Uniformity comes with processes and standardization, all professionals involved working the same way, all the time. Inclusion means that every organization, big or small, needs buy-ins from every level, funding and support from executives and involvement from IT for example. Inclusion also means that every asset or possible asset is evaluated and included, even the archived ones.

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

My interests go far and wide and will involve digital technology in many of them, DAM would possible be part of that as well except for creating fine art and cooking but I digress.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

Metadata. Plain and simple, everything else can be solved.

Connectivity, solvable.

File formats, convertible.

Scale, more resources.

Metadata off, big problem ! Often a compounded caused by multiple factors and not easy to resolve without re-allocating new resources; new people, more money, new deadlines. The old motto in DAM is “if it not searchable it cannot be found” translates for most organizations into “no business” and is always a concern to me as well. Imagine finding out that more than a million assets require revision or comply with a different standard.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

The biggest mistake many make as well as myself in the past, is underestimating the required work involved, whether it is underestimating hours of labour, budgets, stakeholders involved or scope. Best lesson learned, learn as much as you can, or even better involve experienced DAM professionals. Investing cheap can otherwise turn out to be the most costly option.

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Guru Talk: John Horodyski – Optimity Advisors

LeadershipTeam-JohnHorodyski.sm

Having extensive history and education in the field of Digital Asset Management, John Horodyski approaches DAM from the perspective of potential—it’s not what DAM has done in the past that matters, but what DAM can do for each organization moving foward.

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

I am currently a Partner at Optimity Advisors where I lead the Metadata and Taxonomy practice for Digital Asset Management and IT Advisory and Business Intelligence. I have been privileged to work with some amazing organizations ranging from Media & Entertainment (Television, Video Games), Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) (Food, Fashion, Flowers, and more), Pharmaceuticals, Technology, Healthcare and Insurance.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

DAM consists of the management tasks and technological functionality designed to enhance the inventory, control and distribution of digital assets (rich media such as photographs, videos, graphics, logos, marketing collateral) surrounding the ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets for use and reuse in marketing and / or business operations.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I first learned about DAM during my graduate studies in university studying information science and archival studies back in 1998.  I knew then that DAM was the real deal, and an exciting place to be centered at the convergence of rich media content and discovery.

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

I always tell people that DAM is much more than just a technology acquisition and that it is not simply a project, for a project by definition has a finite beginning and an end. For DAM is a product or better yet, a program that requires ongoing and active strategic management, corporate vivacity, and evaluation to ground its purposefulness within the organization so as to direct its maturity and growth.

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

I love what I do. I would definitely be doing something involving content, marketing, managing information and working with people and organizations helping to solve their information problems. Or quite possibly, living it up as a global food critic, a mixologist on a tropical island or having fun with music or sports marketing. 🙂

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

The greatest thing about challenges is that they draw us all together to work collaboratively and collectively for the greater good. For DAM does not live in splendid isolation; it is an opportunity for all groups, team, and departments in an organization to to work together and create a program for sustainable success. The challenge and the opportunity for organizations is to come together to understand the value of DAM as a single source of truth for their content and to then leverage that content for use and reuse.

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

DAM as an industry has evolved and matured well over the last twenty years and will continue to evolve with the rapid changes in technology, social media, and mobile consumption for consumer experience and engagement. With DAM, the power of metadata, content, access, use and distribution will continue to grow and be seen as the foundation for digital strategy work for all organizations.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

I have no regrets, for everything that I have ever done, accomplished, failed at, etc. has led me to where I am right now and made me who I am. Don’t dwell on the past, only focus on the future.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

See my previous answer.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

I am a life long learner and love the new experiences gained from clients both new and old. Don’t accept mediocrity for there is always something new to learn and something to make better.

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Guru Talk: Karl Jackson – United States Marine Band

Digital Asset Management Professional

Working nearly two decades with “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, Karl Jackson has set the mission and strategic vision for the Lab and overseen its success through multiple technology evolutions.

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

I have worked for the United States Marine Band since 1995. I am responsible for all manner of technical support, but specifically related to audio and video support. One aspect of that role involves creating, organizing, and providing access to a recorded media archive dating back to 1889 and containing all manner of analog and digital formats. My work as a DAM professional began in the late 90s when it became clear that establishing a process for organizing both digitized and born digital media would be necessary to safeguard the collections as well as make them more readily available.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

I describe it as attending to every stage in the life cycle of a digital asset, including creation, identification and description, storage, access, and reformatting. I try to emphasize that digital assets are different than the analog ones we used to deal with in that managing digital assets is an ongoing process, whereas analog assets can sometimes be left unattended.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I was first introduced to the concept through the Association of Recorded Sound Collections at a local meeting in 1995 or 1996. Since then I have listened carefully to smart people in the library and archives world and tried to stay abreast of changes in the field as they happened. A high point for my continuing education was attending a workshop called “Stewardship of Digital Assets” in 2007 presented by NEDCC and PALINET (now Lyrasis). That opened my eyes to a deeper level of professional work being done in the field.

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

That it’s very hard if not impossible to go it alone when it comes to DAM. The types of subject matter expertise to do it right for an organization of any real size really do require a team effort and ideally even collaboration across organizations for knowledge sharing and standardization. I’m lucky to have a great team to work with here at the USMB.

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

DAM is only one of my current roles, so I would be focusing more on another role, likely audio and video production work.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

Finding the time to dedicate to ingesting some of the wonderful historical performance recordings that could be valuable assets to the organization if digitized and made available. We’ve made great progress, but have many years of work left.

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

We are moving toward broader adoption of DAM as a core strategic competency for organizations of all stripes as we all seek to rapidly leverage growing collections of assets for a range of requirements including operational, marketing, and research. Video assets in particular are exploding. DAM efforts aren’t easy or cheap, but there is growing clarity around the value proposition.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

If I had it to do over, I would expend greater effort on getting executive sponsorship up front both in order to increase our leverage when we encountered challenges and in order to bind the team more tightly together around an organizational imperative. The importance of the boss delegating their formal authority to the project really cannot be overstated.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

I was able to articulate a clear vision when we started that has guided us through staff changes, technological evolution, and various challenges along the road. We started with no digital assets managed in 1995 and have a system now that provides both preservation and access for a wide range of assets, and does so in a way that provides clear value to the organization.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

I’m interested in increasing my understanding of the ways in which DAM is integrated into organizations in other industries and fields. I’ve got a good sense of how we work in cultural heritage organizations, but am excited to broaden my perspective.

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  Category: DGP Member Interviews
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