Coming from library sciences and archival collections, Rickman now focuses his efforts on helping global teammates find the marketing materials they need to succeed.
What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?
I am a recent arrival to digital asset management. I am an Assistant Digital Assets Manager through Special Counsel Information Governance, working for a client to manage photographic and marketing assets and get those assets into the hands of a global group of stakeholders.
How do you describe digital asset management to others?
To those unfamiliar with any kind of information work, I usually draw a quick comparison between the idea of a traditional public librarian organizing physical things like paper books and making them accessible to an external audience, and a digital asset manager organizing digital things like design files and making them accessible to an external audience. A librarian for digital files.
I also give them the example of organizing their own digital music collections at home. How do you find things if the titles are wrong or missing? What happens if you need to replace some files? What happens if the software glitches? What kinds of file types and qualities do you decide to use? And so on. These are obviously simplifications, but putting it in terms that they can identify with in their own lives usually gets them interested to know more.
How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?
It might be a bit premature to say I’ve “learned” DAM, but on-the-job training is always the best teacher, as well as working alongside a more seasoned professional, if you have that luxury. I also have immersed myself in the subject by taking advantage of great online resources. A couple of my favorites are DAM Foundation and Henrik de Gyor’s Another Dam blog. I’m also looking forward to devouring Elizabeth Keathley’s Digital Asset Management: Content Architectures, Project Management, and Creating Order out of Media Chaos.
If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?
I’d like to think I’d be a novelist living in a remote lakeside cabin, chain smoking and pounding away furiously on a typewriter at all hours. But, I’d probably be working in a role similar to that of an archivist or special collections librarian, which was what I was doing before getting involved with digital asset management.
What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?
The complexity inherent in workflow process and asset distribution in a large company and how things can change at the drop of a hat. I’ve learned that it is impossible to account for all the various silos that people use instead of a DAM solution because they find the solution inadequate, don’t know it exists, or prefer to do things the way they’ve always done them. The challenge is to keep pushing towards that solution that centralizes and standardizes how a company manages its assets, knowing full well you’ll never reach that 100% on-board participation mark, but constantly reaching out to others, investigating how people do things, and improving your own processes anyways. Always be moving.
What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?
For me, the biggest success is when the stakeholders I support thank me and say I’ve made their jobs a little easier and their workloads a little lighter. That recognition and appreciation of what digital asset management does when it’s working the way it’s supposed to work makes all the detail-oriented work behind the scenes worthwhile in the end. This doesn’t happen very often (we don’t often hear anything until something goes wrong) so it’s extra special when it does happen.