Insight Exchange Network 2nd DAM Summit, New York, 24th-25th January 2019

This post was contributed by DAM Guru member, Jeffrey Marino.

 

Bring on a DAM Happy New Year at the 2nd Annual Digital Asset Management Summit 2019, hosted in NYC by Insight Exchange Network. The conference takes place on January 24th -25th next year and promises to highlight and elevate the importance of effective digital asset management strategies for the enterprise.

We hereby resolve to meet up with DAM Guru Program members and to bring you a full report on the business-critical topics presented in the sessions. We’ll listen closely for insights and best practices across the entire spectrum of Digital Asset Management, including:

  • The DAM value proposition
  • Metadata, mindset & AI
  • Systems integration
  • Platform fit
  • User Experience and adoption
  • Brand library, archive and history

IEN is a new nexus of information and expertise for DAM practitioners. Last year the conference debuted as The Digital Assets & Content Leadership Exchange:

“The overall sentiment was that the IEN event was a success and the fact that the majority of attendees were DAM managers and professionals (as opposed to vendors) resulted in a more personal and expertise-based event.” [Read More]

The 2019 Summit again brings together experts in a wide span of business categories ranging from broadcasters to e-commerce, retail, food and packaged goods, non-profits and content marketing. Among others, we are looking forward to hearing updates from Dan Piro at NHL and Sally Hubbard at PBS (both of whom we mentioned in our Reflections On The 2018 Digital Asset Symposium), and we will certainly welcome the perspective of all of this year’s presenters, including heavyweights like Amazon, Adobe, Dell and Turner Sports.

The agenda is a balanced mix of breakout and networking sessions, four in-depth case studies and five panel discussions (one of which, Vendor Selection, Management, and DAM Essentials, is moderated by one of our very own: DAM Guru Ralph Windsor.)

Let’s meet up! (yes, there’s a cocktail hour too). Please visit the 2nd Annual Digital Asset Management Summit 2019 website for more information and to register to attend.

DAM Guru Program members: be sure to use code M123DNDG15 to get a 15% discount on the cost of the Summit.

Henry Stewart DAM San Diego 2018 Conference Review

This article was contributed by DAM Guru member, Lisa Grimm.

 

Although I’ve been a regular Henry Stewart DAM NY attendee for years, this was my first visit to the west coast’s version of the event, and I was pleased to see that it’s grown to be nearly as large as its east-coast counterpart (with the added advantage of having beautiful November weather). But perhaps the most encouraging aspect of this year’s conference the variety of organizations sending speakers and exhibitors; while I’d seen previous DAMLA programs had been very much media and entertainment-industry heavy, DAM San Diego was very well-balanced indeed. Yes, there were the expected studios and media conglomerates with welcome knowledge to share, but also a wide range of museums, arts and tech speakers. DAM has clearly moved beyond the CPG and advertising spaces, and its importance is being recognized across an ever-wider range of industries.

But while the places DAM is deployed grow ever-more varied, its foundations remain rooted – and rightfully so – in metadata and operations. I was thrilled to be asked to speak on the metadata track, with my presentation on The Seven Circles of Metadata Hell; I suspect everyone in the DAM field has been in the position at some point in their careers where they have been asked to justify the cost of hiring expert librarians and data managers to oversee metadata creation and maintenance, and seeing it continue to get such a focus at every Henry Stewart DAM conference brings joy to my librarian heart. (Did I mention I have my nerdy t-shirts categorized by node and sub-node in my closet? For example, I have Star Wars, Star Wars:Running, Star Wars:Beer and so on, plus Disney, Disney:Parks, Disney:Musicals, Disney:Musicals:Parody, etc. – this is totally normal behavior, even many years after you receive your MS-LIS).  It’s such a core part of how DAM works (or doesn’t work, when it’s not staffed properly), and it’s so important that decision-makers understand what they need to do before signing the big checks, and continuing to spread that knowledge underpins the growth of the industry.

And as that growth continues, the range of roles and responsibilities continues to evolve; I very much enjoyed moderating a round table on DAM career options, with people at many varying career levels and from many distinct backgrounds, but it really suggested an opportunity for the wider market: there is a need for DAM-specific recruitment agencies (or, at least, recruitment agencies with someone on staff who really understand the field) and career planning help. Each Henry Stewart event is a great opportunity to continue to build our formal and informal networks, but as DAM professionals, I suggest that we rely on personal recommendations and word of mouth to get to the next role or career level to a greater extent than in most other tech and information management fields. Getting to meet some of the new-to-the-field people in the Future Digital Leaders Program was delightful, and I look forward to keeping in touch with several of them, but making sure we have paths onward and upward at all levels is important as we move the profession forward.

Finally, a personal note to the organizers, who do a wonderful job each time – thank you for pulling everything together once more, and thank you for making sure we had good tea! I never needed to break in to my personal tea stash (yes, I’m that person who brings her own tea everywhere, because finding good tea in the US can be a dicey proposition), and the range of caffeinated and non-caffeinated teas was ideal.

I hope to make it back to San Diego next year, and to return to New York again in the spring. I still have London on my DAM to-do list…

Organizers For Three Information Professionals Meetups Urgently Required

My DAM Guru colleague, Carol Thomas-Knipes, has recently let me know about the imminent closure of three Information Professionals meetup groups in Alberta, Space Coast and Palm Beaches due to the lack of an organizer.  They are as follows:

If any DAM Guru members (or those with an interest in this subject) are interested in taking over (or working with a group to share) leadership as organizer(s), this will prevent those groups from being shutdown.

As those who have organized a meetup group before will be aware, if the previous organizer has to withdraw then the group is removed. This means the current membership of the group is dispersed and anyone else who subsequently decides to open a group with a similar profile has to build up the membership from scratch. As such, if you are an information professional (e.g. a DAM Guru) and you live or work near the locations of the three groups, consider stepping up to the Organizer role. Organizing a Meetup is a great way to expand your DAM network in your area, drive discussion on relevant topics, and learn even more about what is out there.

Reflections On The 2018 Digital Asset Symposium

This article was contributed by DAM Guru member, Jeffrey Marino.

 

Digital Asset Symposium
DAS: New York

Hosted by The Association of Moving Image Archivists
June 6, 2018
Museum of Modern Art
New York, NY

“Who lives, who dies? Who tells the story?” sums up how history gets written – by the survivor. Last month in NYC we did not get to see the musical Hamilton (that’s a line from the show), but we did get to the Digital Asset Symposium for a lineup of thought-provoking presentations by media asset management leaders from non-profits, music entertainment, sports, documentary filmmaking and marketing technology. Interspersed among the expert sessions were sponsor presentations from the marketing technology, big data, big storage and AI industries.

All provided interesting insights on digital asset management processes, the life and survival of the digital asset, and its purpose. As kickoff speaker Nick Gold, Program Director from The Association of Moving Image Archivists said: “A media asset…becomes part of the human story and crucial in the hands of the storyteller.”

The core value of DAM platforms, vendor marketing often points out, is the efficiency and efficacy of maintaining ‘a single source of truth’ for digital assets. When I saw, however, the title of the keystone talk – “The Truth is a Lie” – I thought we might be entering a topical discussion around facts vs alt-facts. Instead we were guided to the arena of quantum physics by Chris Welty, a professor of Cognitive Computing and Sr. Research Scientist at Google. Peeling back the onion on what he called ‘the super-positioning of reality,’ he refreshed us on how photons coexist as both particles and waves, i.e. in two different realities, until observed.

Photo credit: Zachary Zahos

In another example, Professor Lora Arroyo, Chief Scientist at Tagasauris, displayed a landscape image: is it Sunday Mountain, New Zealand; or is it Minas Tirith, Gondor? The image is of course both – its reality depends on the context of the viewer and the descriptive bias of the image.

Their point: because of super-positioning of reality, it’s inevitable that digital asset metadata is inconsistent. Welty cited studies of how people are unable to agree on simple commonalities (such as the color of a flower) or even simpler ones (such as, is this a flower?). Accuracy in metadata, he posited, not only requires definition of what something is (i.e. blue) as well as what it is not (i.e. not monochrome).  That means more metadata. To take on the extra tagging, and to even out those inevitable inconsistencies, Arroyo described how groups of people who are not subject matter experts are able to derive metadata for images better than, well, professionals. Tagasauris packages this as a service called QrowdTruth.

In the next session, “Archiving Human Rights Video: Planting Seeds of Preservation Throughout Production,” Nicole Martin of Human Rights Watch countered the previous discussion by espousing the value of ‘fixity’ for digital assets. The standpoint of HRW is that original, unchanged data are primary legal evidence relevant to real people in the context of their harm or disadvantage. HRW’s processes mandate original asset preservation in its exact original dataform, even ensuring that cloning drives are write protected. Only after such preservation (‘fixity’) is in place do the additional tagging and transcoding of assets and the creative production processes begin.

On the commercial side, we next heard from Randa Marakarah in “Bridge the Gap: Unite Content and Customer Intelligence for Audience Intelligence and Growth.” Randa described how his company, Transform, mines the engagement activity of OTT consumers (aka cord-cutters, the streaming broadcast audience). Transform seeks to provide metrics that influence the development or even the story arc of creative programming. Perhaps such data mining will help improve the accuracy (or at least the gross misdirection) of the targeted ads I get. Fingers crossed!

Sally Hubbard of PBS led the “Smart Stacking of Data and Information Services” session, shedding light on differences between ‘Big Info’ and ‘Big Data.’ Information Science, she explained, is the internal process of storing, transferring content with precision and fixity. Data Science, on the other hand, is the external process of discovery and analysis, seeking to discern linkages that are (or might be) actionable. The symbiosis of the two is that while the library process of adding information increases the basic value of the assets, the analytics process increases market value for the system through predictions based on probability. And we should be mindful, as Gian Klobusicky, Sr. Data Scientist at HBO said, that “probability is logic with uncertainty.”

“Smart Stacking” also is how managers yoke the yin of information with the yang of data, leveraging not just technology but also the human factor. People have an innate ability to process information and perceive context better than algorithms and most importantly, they are the ethical backbone of the ‘stack.’  Dalia Levine, Ontologist at HBO pointed out, “As librarians we are trained explicitly for the presentation and management of data in as factual and unbiased a manner as possible.” Bottom line, ethics is a personal process for every employee at the organization. “Bias,” added Hubbard, “is present in all levels and needs to be monitored and corrected as it occurs.”

Dan Piro, Director of the Digital Asset Archive at the National Hockey League, recapped a big project implementation: capturing and cataloguing 100 years of hockey images, film reels and video from all kinds of formats. Because this was NHL, he was able to throw a lot of resources at it. Without revealing budget, he mentioned that the first vendor contracted for digitization got overwhelmed by the scope of the job and had to renegotiate terms. NHL not only agreed but also added a second vendor to keep the project on track. What drove the big spend at NHL was the very high value of the league’s Centennial for the organization. Piro cheerfully said, “clearly the DAM would have high value once in place, but it terms of actual ROI – who knows?” For many of us, budget and ROI are painful sticking points in getting implementation off the ground, but Piro and his team seized the opportunity to rush the open goal (so to speak).

In 1967, the Montreux Jazz Fest was founded with a combined mission: to stage world-class music performances and to document it all in photos and video for archive, research, education and innovation. Dr. Alain Dufaux, Head of Operations and Development, Metamedia Center at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, or Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) described how this created a huge store of assets on many formats, even noting that the Festival was a very early (1991) adopter of HD video. Preserving the assets has created several petabytes of digitized archive. With 14,000 master audio recordings, 11,000 hours of video, and over 100,000 photos, it is no wonder that they are experimenting with new options: recordings of Miles Davis and Deep Purple are already stored biochemically on DNA. Innovations driven by the Center include automated defect detection and correction for video; sound ‘bubbles’ that improve the audio experience in the open environments of the library; and interactive capabilities for virtual remixing and ‘open mic-ing’ of Montreux performances by casual visitors.

The closing keynote featured production team members of the Netflix documentary series, “Bobby Kennedy for President,” which streamed this year, the 50th anniversary of his assassination.  This kind of film, they discussed, is a vast process of asset discovery, requiring diligent detective work, a prodigious amount of time, and the tried and true method of talking to people and following lead after lead. The team focused on finding folks who were actually present during the political campaign and created new assets (interviews) to play against old assets (footage often never before archived). The film includes, for example, a clip of a doubtful Bobby Kennedy, which aired only once in 1968, adding a darker color to the myth of Camelot. “It’s the golden age of retrieval,” remarked Archive Producer Rich Remsburg, who researched and delivered assets from sources ranging from ProQuest, to local TV stations, to eBay. Series producer Elizabeth Wolff wryly remarked: “The story gets told only from what’s digitized.”  The story of this film illustrated that finding truth in the data is absolutely driven by digital asset management’s core value: discoverability.

At this Digital Asset Symposium, the presenters generously reviewed their own best practices for sourcing, managing and standardizing metadata. We peeked under the hood at naming conventions and schema, and got bird’s eye views of building and staffing an asset management system with the tools and automation available today. And we looked to the future, where automation is at the top of “the AI Ladder” and currently evolving from its data foundation (Big Info), analytics for insights (Big Data), and machine learning leading to true AI.

But the future is now. Logan Ketchum from Veritone (one of the conference sponsors) reminds us that “Artificial Narrow Intelligence” is already at work in every single use-case based DAM platform on the market. And as we yoke multiple engines together – including the processes and stacking discussed in this conference – it means we are not only solving for our digital asset needs, we are also injecting life into an AI operating system…

And, as we learned from Jurassic Park, life will find a way.

Jeffrey Marino is a Digital Asset and Project Manager at WordCityStudio, Inc . He has worked in broadcast news, documentary, advertising technology and DAM. He recently received his MS in Media Management at The New School and is an active member of DAM Guru.

DAM Guru Exhibiting At Henry Stewart DAM NY 2018, May 3-4

DAM Guru are an official partner of Henry Stewart NY 2018 and we will also be exhibiting at the event on May 3-4.  This is the first time we have participated in this conference (although a number of our members have been regular attendees for many years).

The New York conference is billed as ‘the largest single event dedicated to DAM’ by Henry Stewart and based on feedback about the event from my DAM Guru colleague, Carol Thomas (and other) that seems like a fair description.  Here are the edited highlights:

  • 600+ attendees.
  • 80 speakers during 60 sessions over two days covering Metadata, Integration, AI, Automation, Creative Operations, Corporate Archives, Video Workflow, Rights Management, Semantics and Governance.
  • Representation from DAM users covering over 80 well-known brands.
  • DAM clinic featuring roundtable discussions about more in-depth topics.
  • Advanced taxonomy and metadata tutorials.
  • Industry-specific DAM groups.

The event also includes access to the Creative Operations conference which is also being held at the same venue.

If you are attending the event, please do come along to see us and say hello.  For anyone who has not yet booked at ticket, you can use the discount code DAMGURU100 to get a $100 reduction.  The ‘early bird’ discount ends on 30th March and if you book a ticket before then, you can get a further $100 off the price.

Guru Voices: DGP Member Insights from the IEN Digital Asset (DAM) & Content Leadership Exchange

Change is happening whether we are ready for it or not. That was one of the major sentiments of The Digital Assets & Content Leadership Exchange presented by Insight Exchange Network in January 2018 in New York. (The keynote from Dieter Reichert, from Censhare deserves its own blog post!) Though this conference is a new player in the Digital Asset Management conference space, this gathering of DAM and Content professionals provided deep dive discussions on a wide range of DAM/CM-related topics, and tips on navigating change.

We have gathered a few of our DAM Gurus who attended and asked them to provide insights on the conference and how it made them think about “The State of DAM”. We thank them for their feedback. Participating Gurus are:

  • Maria Shippee, Director of Business Solutions at mcgarrybowen
  • Tracy Wolfe, Senior Content Classification Specialist at McGraw-Hill Education
  • Margie Foster, Digital Asset Management Librarian at Dell
  • Erin McElrath, Digital Asset Manager, Consultant
  • Mindy Carner, Senior Manager in Information Management with metadata and taxonomy specialty at Optimity Advisor
  • Jennifer Anna, Photo and Digital Asset Manager, World Wildlife Fund

“What topics are hot, garnering the most interest and discussion?”

  • “Metrics for DAM, rights management, the importance of DAM experts running DAM systems” – Tracy Wolfe
  • “How do you do your DAM?” This conference was an excellent opportunity for DAM professionals to learn about how other organizations deploy their DAM. – Margie Foster
  • “DAM is part of an ecosystem – data must flow from upstream systems and flow to downstream systems” – Mindy Carner
  • “AI dominated the conversation at the conference. DAM professionals want to understand how artificial intelligence will affect the industry.  Will we be replaced by robots?  How will AI tagging change our workflows?  Can AI alleviate our tagging workflows? – Jennifer Anna

What’s been talked about in the hallways between panels?

  • Integrating systems, differences in digital strategies and maturity levels, how to acquire new skills, which new skills to acquire– Tracy Wolfe
  • I mostly noticed how different our jobs are. Even though we are all considered DAM in some capacity, we all do different projects in our day-to-day. Some of us implement, others create workflows, others just focus on metadata and taxonomy, and others do everything. – Erin McElrath

 

Where are you seeing the lines between technologies & solutions blurring, and what are your thoughts on that?  (For example: DAM & CM, DAM & PIM, DAM & AI?)

  • DAM should be solution agnostic in order to serve multiple needs and evolve with the changing platforms. – Maria Shippee
  • I think that I see the lines between DAM and CM blurring the most.  I think that anything should be considered an “asset,” not just traditional resources like images and videos or documents, but also pieces of content whether they are articles or chapters or sections or lessons or assessment questions. – Tracy Wolfe
  • DAM & CM are the most common pairing but still not seamless. If any of these technologies blend, it’ll be these two.  DAM & PIM — outside of vendor demos I haven’t seen an instance that is a total solve.  DAM & AI — a lot of good work is underway, but still early days.  Definitely, an area to keep an eye on.– Margie Foster
  • We are only as good as our tools. – Erin McElrath
  • The biggest point here is just about getting the metadata into alignment. The solutions can blur into one another all they want, but there will never be a one-tool fit all solution, but there absolutely MUST be a single, strategic metadata plan to protect data quality by flowing product, marketing, and discovery data with the asset through its lifecycle. – Mindy Carner
  • “At the conference, I didn’t see many examples of system integrations except among a few large broadcast and publishing companies.  My impression is companies are still struggling to make sense of their stand-alone systems. During the panel discussion, I asked a panelist who is responsible for providing solutions to a variety of different clients about whether there is CMS-DAM integration. She noted it was rare. – Jennifer Anna

Did the conference give you ideas on how DAM is evolving? Some say the traditional role of DAM dying, did the conference dive into this area at all, and what are your thoughts?

  • I would say that DAM is expanding scope, not dying.  I do think there is room for growth to incorporate aspects like the expansion of the definition of an asset, tools for automation, and also better reporting and metrics. – Tracy Wolfe
  • I think the idea of a static DAM is giving way to the notion of a dynamic DAM. You should expect and plan for a DAM that can adapt to other evolving content delivery technologies.– Margie Foster
  • I did get validation on my idea that DAM is evolving, but I’m noticing that DAM managers are hesitant to adapt. – Erin McElrath
  • The conference offered a few panels on this topic, but I feel like there could have been a deeper dive on this topic.  Perhaps segmented the topic into different areas including employment and professional development opportunities, technology evolution, and information architecture.  Alternatively, it would have been helpful to have industry specialists discuss their observations about the industry.  All of the speakers were fantastic, a great group of capable, talented people, but I felt the conversations could’ve gone deeper. – Jennifer Anna

What did you leave the conference thinking the next big thing in DAM will be?

  • While AI was a hot topic, the verdict was that it is not ready for the masses. Trending now are the new file formats, like the 360 imagery used for augmented reality. With the release of the new iPhone and the widespread use of Photoshop, these file types will easily be the next big thing. – Maria Shippee
  • Honestly, I hope it’s AI, especially to harvest pertinent data from other content systems within an organization. – Margie Foster
  • The next big thing will be seeing content as a whole. we no longer provide a repository, we create workflows and adapt to the current business model of the company. – Erin McElrath
  • System vendors will be forced to innovate to support major media companies, specifically sports organizations who create and must process terabytes of data in a single day. Systems right now aren’t meeting their needs and this will inevitably lead to disruption of those vendors that currently support these groups. Systems need to be nimble and able to handle the quantity and speed of content processing. – Mindy Carner
  • Linked data has potential for the DAM industry. – Jennifer Anna

What surprised you the most from this conference?

  • DAM is being used in so many different industries, in some any unique ways, yet we all struggle with the same issues. – Maria Shippee
  • How much I learned.  It was a very collaborative environment, a room full of expertise. I enjoyed Monday so much that I went back Wednesday. – Tracy Wolfe
  • The majority in attendance were Digital Asset Managers, not vendors and that was FANTASTIC! – Margie Foster
  • The small size of the conference, combined with the group table set up (not the big round tables that you might have to yell across, but small rectangle tables that allowed for more intimate conversation) made this conference a superior networking experience. People really got to know each other over the three days and it felt more personal than larger events. – Mindy Carner

Look out for some more detailed blog posts on Digital Asset Management from these Gurus in the coming months. And we would love to hear from you too! If you attended The Digital Assets & Content Leadership Exchange, email us at help@damguru.com. We look forward to seeing more from Insight Exchange Network on Digital Asset and Content Management in the future.

DAM Guru Program Director Change

DAM Guru Program Appoints Ralph Windsor As New Director

London / Aarau, January 23, 2018.  Ralph Windsor, editor of DAM News and Project Director of Digital Asset Management consultants, Daydream is to become the new Director of DAM Guru Program (DGP).

DGP is a community DAM education and human resources matching service first established in 2013 by DAM Survival Guide author, David Diamond and sponsored by DAM vendor, Picturepark.  DGP has over 1,100 members and is open to digital asset managers, vendors and consultants from across the DAM industry.

“I am very excited to be chosen as the new Director of DAM Guru Program by the DGP Board.  Since it was first started, it has become a focal point for DAM industry practitioners and the promotion of high quality educational resources.  Consolidating the combined resources of DGP with DAM News represents an ideal opportunity to establish far greater cross-industry collaboration, continue the sterling work already carried out by DGP towards enhancing DAM education and to foster an environment that encourages greater innovation in the DAM sector.” said Windsor.

“What started as an idea overnight has turned into the industries’ largest DAM community: DGP has organized highly successful webinars, relentlessly connected members, posted countless DAM jobs and events, and published hundreds of interviews with DAM professionals – all serving the DAM community. I’m very proud of these achievements and I’m convinced that Ralph and his enlarged team will successfully manage DGP to be even better connected and useful to those that matter most in our industry, the DAM users.” said Ramon Forster, CEO of Picturepark .

The same team that manages DAM industry journal, DAM News (including the DAM Vendor directory, DAM Glossary, DAM Whitepapers and DAM Books) will assume responsibility for the day-to-day operations of both DAM News and also DAM Guru.  All existing DGP services will continue to be provided as previously and a wide range of new initiatives are planned for 2018 and beyond.

An Open Letter about DAM Guru Program

Dear DAM Guru Program members,

In early 2013 David Diamond texted me from San Francisco. A U.S. competitor had just released its affiliate program. We had been preparing our own such program over the last weeks for launch the next day. Now, that competitor was grabbing the market’s attention ahead of us.

Of course, David was super-furious. He swore to me the same night that he would come up with a completely different and far more innovative program.

When I woke up a few hours later, I found an expose of the DAM Guru Program in my mailbox. The paper sketched a not-for-profit association that connected Digital Asset Management experts with people new to DAM, advocating education in DAM and giving members, at the grassroots level, a voice and platform. Although not a source of revenue, I was excited by the outlined program, and provided the funds for getting it going.

What had started years ago overnight has turned into the largest Digital Asset Management community of more than 1,100 members with expertise across all sectors and systems. The program has organized highly successful webinars, relentlessly connected members seeking guidance and assistance, posted countless DAM jobs and events, as well as published hundreds of interviews with DAM professionals.

Now, after nearly five years, we are opening a new chapter with DAM Guru Program that aims to establishing far greater cross-industry collaboration, by enhancing DAM education and fostering an
environment that encourages greater innovation in the DAM sector.

With these changes, I’m excited to announce Ralph Windsor, who most of you know best from DAM News, will become our new Global Director of DAM Guru Program. I have known Ralph for many years as an active member of the DAM community. We might differ from time to time in opinions but we share the idea of a new association required for the DAM industry, which itself needs to wake up and become more active in defining its future.

I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to all DAM Guru Program members who have contributed to the program and shown their trust in Picturepark for funding and operating it, but never abusing their data for sales-related activities. You are the reason why this program exists and why we will continue to grow our DAM community further.

We are excited about this next chapter for DAM Guru Program!

Ramon Forster
CEO Picturepark

You can learn more about the changes coming to the program in the press release here.
Connect with Ramon on LinkedIn and Xing.

See the Forest: 6 Tips for Digital Asset Management (DAM) Sustainability

Photo by Tim Schramm on Unsplash

As technologists, especially in digital asset management (DAM), we often work in feature-rich systems. One system can do a lot and be utilized for multiple purposes. That flexibility and the capability to be a content hub is one of the reasons DAMs have become desired systems in the enterprise.

When implementing digital asset management solutions, we gather requirements, assess our focus technologies, align requirements to capabilities, then go to our tech to build. But, we are in a unique position to take a step back from just feature-function and problem-solving. To see the forest for the trees as it were. To create solutions that are not just purpose-built, but have a sustainable purpose. An ecosystem, not just a shrub.

Here are 6 tips for DAM Sustainability to keep you out of the weeds:

  1. Make sure you can always clearly answer these two questions: “What problems are we trying to solve?” and “What will success look like?”. Keeping these questions front-of-mind will keep you focused on building a DAM solution with a solid purpose.
  2. Don’t ignore processes, content, and data outside of the departments that will use the digital asset management system (DAM). An essential component of DAM sustainability is connecting with people in those departments who can assist you in understanding how the DAM could or will touch their worlds.
  3. Define content providers and consumers of the DAM, including people, systems, and processes. Map them out in detail (e.g. using brief surveys and interviews). Again, branch out. There are likely overlaps and inefficiencies to uncover that are being felt. Improving those processes (if you can) as part of your solution ecosystem will make the solution stronger.
  4. A caveat to #3, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Shoe-horning a solution where one is not needed does not add value. Pick your battles wisely.
  5. Let the technology inspire you not box you. Many parts of the solution will NOT involve tech. Exposing non-technical issues and solving them in the context of the DAM project can increase its value in the business.
  6. Go back to #1. When you are about to roll out, remember “What will success look like?” equals “What’s in it for me?”. Define and communicate the solution’s purpose, but also tailor the message to all levels. Not just future users, but stakeholders, financial sponsors and the business as a whole. Then check-in regularly to verify value is being realized and felt. Pivot your message, and perhaps solution priorities if needed.

What digital asset management tips do you have? We’d love to hear from you. If you have more DAM sustainability tips, email us! DAM Guru Program would love to publish your suggestions as blog posts. Help other DGP members build and maintain more sustainable solutions.

Carol Thomas-Knipes is the Director, Digital Asset Management at LogicSource.

Photo by Tim Schramm on Unsplash

Guru Talk: Kathleen Cameron – Nest

Kathleen Cameron - digital asset managerKathleen Cameron’s digital asset management experience over the years has shown her that DAM is about the ease in discovering content. If done correctly, users no longer need to be reliant on knowing someone else’s folder structure.

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

My first digital asset management gig was organizing content for the Headlands Center for the Arts in exchange for studio space. I built them a DAM system and created the metadata schema (pre-VRA core). From there I worked at Quokka, which was a sports content provider, and each production team had their own instance of a DAM system to utilize, while the IT department looked into an enterprise DAM solution. It was my first experience working with an IT group and requirements gathering. I learned Dublin Core and built the taxonomy for the Sydney Summer Olympics. I was responsible for building out the workflows to get content into the tool and also responsible for digital rights management.

After my time at Quokka, I began working at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) as their Manager of Digital Content Development. It was not traditional DAM but more of a blended role of digital project manager and DAM manager. My first project was to build a DAM for the health sciences based on HEAL and my last project was submitting the requirements for a systemwide digital library for the University of California. In between I took on digitization projects for the library, as well as helping other departments organize their assets.

The Stanford Graduate School of Business hired me after they licensed at DAM system to manage the school’s content. This was a make-it-work situation as the tool was not the right fit for their requirements, but the IT manager was committed to the product. I grew the collection from 0-36k assets in 3 years with a focus on migrating existing digital collections from outdated servers to the ECM. I built in connectivity with social media so that users could easily push content to YouTube or Facebook, as well as connectivity with the CMS being used and a new LMS (learning management system).

My current role at Nest Labs has returned me to a more traditional digital asset management role. I function more as a Digital Archivist where I am actively collecting and describing content, thinking through content lifecycle and improving workflows. I’ve built out the taxonomy, migrated content from a non-traditional DAM system they were using, conducted user-training and revisit requirements annually.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

DAM is about the ease of discovering content. No longer reliant on knowing someone else’s folder structure, users can find content more readily through structured and unstructured metadata.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

First, it helped that I had a background in analog archives and understood the power of organization and description. In 1992, I looked at one of the first digital asset management tools while working as a library manager for a photo archive in NY. From there, we began planning digitization. I had a great mentor that I worked alongside when I was a photo editor at Benjamin-Cummins. I did a lot of research. I felt it was important to understand structured metadata so I learned Dublin Core – all other metadata schemas are somewhat based on this, so picking those up later was easier. I spent a lot of time working on preservation and taxonomies in grad school. This can be learned outside of the MLIS process, but are important to understand. Active preservation is part of the conversation in higher ed but less so in non-academic environments and is essential to protecting the investment we make when building a DAM.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

Right now it is change management. People get used to the tools they use even if those tools are not efficient. I work with a group that would prefer to work in Smartsheets, Google Team Drive, Box, Jira, etc. instead of one place. We lose efficiency and I don’t always get final assets.

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

The DAM industry goes through cycles. Right now we are in an upswing with a lot of products out there, some of which are too complex and some of which are simply too buggy for the price. I expect that in 5 years, the choices will slim down again with the most stable products remaining available.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

One of my biggest mistakes with DAM was being talked out of the right choice for an organization and being stuck with the wrong choice! The effects of something like that last a very long time.

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