Audio about Digital Asset Management

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Abby Covert on Digital Asset Management and Information Architecture

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Abby Covert on Digital Asset Management and Information Architecture

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast of Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Abby Covert. Abby, how are you?

Abby Covert:  [0:09] Great. Thanks so much for having me.

Henrik:  [0:11] Abby, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Abby:  [0:14] Well, I am a professional Information Architect. My involvement with Digital Asset Management, is really in helping organizations to understand the impact of language, and structure on their effectiveness towards whatever their goals might be, and that can be across many mediums, which I think is similar to the challenges that Digital Asset Managers face as well.

[0:35] They’re looking at the scaffolding that then initiates a lot of processes within an organization. So, my job is pretty similar in that regard I would say.

Henrik:  [0:44] As an Information Architect, you recently authored a book titled How to Make Sense of Any Mess. Tell us more about what we can learn from this book since many DAM professionals need to do the same.

Abby:  [0:55] My main premise in writing a book with such a broad title How to Make Sense of Any Mess, and I thought very hard on the word “Any”, was that I really felt as a practicing information architect after 10 years, that a lot of the messes that I was helping my clients to make sense of were actually really based in information and people, more than they were specific to the technologies, or the mediums that we were actually executing in.

[1:21] I would say that anybody who has been working in technology for more than 10 years, has seen some sort of current of change that all of a sudden we have mobile, all of a sudden we have social, how does that change what we do?

[1:33] What I actually found was that it doesn’t change a lot when you look at that information and people part, that it really comes down to a basic understanding of leading and facilitating people, through a process of identifying what is not making sense to their consumers or to their coworkers.

[1:51] Then working through the delicate steps that one needs to take to really adjust the mental models of themselves, and maybe the people that they’re working with, in order to reach whatever intent people are trying to get to. I guess after spending a lot of time making sense of other people’s messes, I wanted to know if I could write a book that would help people make sense of their own.

[2:14] I think so far, based on the feedback, yeah, I think that you really can. You can self‑serve this stuff which is great.

Henrik:  [2:21] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Abby:  [2:25] I definitely think that scalability is one of the biggest issues that organizations face in general. Whether that be scaling up to meet the needs of digital, or scaling up to meet the needs of a growing business, those two things have become synonymous. I don’t run into a lot of companies that are scaling up their business that doesn’t mean they need to scale up the digital side of their business.

[2:49] Also, the cross‑channel nature of things. The decision to invest or not invest in certain channels, and the impact of doing so. Taking the time to start a new social channel that just got announced, instead of taking the time away from doing something else. So I think in terms of Digital Asset Management, I think that it’s difficult to stay on the edge of that while also maintaining what you have and not letting the things that you have get unkempt.

[3:21] I would definitely say scalability, and keeping up with the wave of change would be the biggest challenges. Successes, I would say, anyone that can pay close attention to context of use, and not use metadata as a way of checking the box on like, “Yes, we’ve collected metadata,” but really thinking about how that metadata is going to apply to a use case, that might be realistic to that organization, and how they’re going to use that content at a swift pace.

[3:52] Then, also the cadence they’re going to need it at. I think that anybody who is doing that level of deep research organizationally, around the way that they’re organizing their internal assets, is probably seeing a lot more success than those who are in their cubicles alone, just applying data schema that make sense in their head. Because it’s easy to do that from the common sense place, but it turns out that common sense is pretty unreliable in a lot of cases.

Henrik:  [4:20] Good points. What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals, and people who are aspiring to be DAM professionals?

Abby:  [4:25] I am going to go and continue my thread of “Get out from your cubicle, or your office, or even from your desk and go work with other people.” I think that the idea of doing the work versus concepting your way through how the work will be done, is a dangerous place to be by yourself, especially in a field that is so dependent on making sense of the things for other people to use for their jobs.

[4:55] I feel like if you can take that soft skill part and use that, and give equal attention to that, then also your tools, I would say that that would be my number one piece of advice.

Henrik:  [5:07] Have a conversation with as many people as necessary who will be using this?

Abby:  [5:12] Yeah. Also, don’t scare them away with your language and your tools. That’s for you to figure out later. But get out a marker and some post‑it notes and a white board, or whatever you got to do to make them feel comfortable and get through the anxiety of… Digital Asset Management is like a big mouthy term, and I’m sure that there’s some marketers that are hearing it for the first time in some cases when people are working with them on it.

[5:37] Making sure that that’s not getting in the way, and just remembering that technology is a monster in many people’s minds. So, we’re all going through this transition organizationally. Most organizations are going through a transition. I would say that those that haven’t been born into digital, even those are going through lots of transitions with the increased cross‑channel nature of our businesses and our design mediums.

[5:59] But I feel like if you can educate people in a way that they understand that you’re making decisions that are going to help them along the way, and that you’re collaborating on those, and that you’re just the filter, you’re just the person that’s going to go to the tool at the end of the day, and enter it into the way that you guys agreed it’s going to be. But you’re not a dictator of the way that digital assets should be managed.

Henrik:  [6:22] Well, thanks Abby. For this, and other Digital Asset Management topics, log onto For this podcast and a 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to to email me at And Abby where can we find out more information from you?

Abby:  [6:45] At, or you find me on Twitter @Abby _the_IA.

Henrik:  [6:49] Thanks again.


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Another DAM podcast interview with Tobias Blanke on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Tobias Blanke on Digital Asset Management

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This is Another DAM podcast about Digital Asset Management. I am Henrik de Gyor. Today, I am speaking with Tobias Blanke.

Tobias, how are you?

Tobias Blanke:  [0:10] I’m all right. How are you Henrik?

Henrik:  [0:12] Great. Tobias, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Tobias:  [0:16] I am the current director of the MA in Digital Asset and Media Management at King’s College, London. As far as we can see, this is still the only full postgraduate qualification directly related to this field [of Digital Asset and Media Management].

[0:33] There are, of course, a lot of individual modules, but not a full MA in the course. We have been running this MA now for three years and it has become very successful. We are very pleased with it, I myself, I’m a senior lecturer in this department the MA is running, that’s about the equivalent in the US of an Associate Professor.

[0:53] My research is mainly on data infrastructures, media industries, and this kind of things. What we are particularly proud of is how we are able to translate our own research into this degree. This is how I became initially involved in digital asset management.

[1:11] What I find most fascinating by interacting with all these students who come from various industries and other nations to us to study the degree is to learn how far and wide reaching the impact of this seemingly small field has become. This is also one of the reasons why I wrote a book, which I guess you’re going to talk about today, Henrik.

Henrik:  [1:33] Of course. To clarify, MA is the Master’s?

Tobias:  [1:36] Yes, it’s a Master’s degree. It’s a post credit qualification, so after your BA. I think you have the same in the US, only that yours is two years, and we have a one year MA here in London.

Henrik:  [1:45] You recently wrote a book titled “The Ecosystem of Digital Assets: Crowds and Clouds.” Tell us more about what inspired you to write this.

Tobias:  [1:55] The title changed slightly. It’s now called “Digital Asset Ecosystems: Rethinking crowds and clouds

[2:02] This is a direct reflection of what I said earlier about the interaction I have with my students and other fellow members of the academic staff here, about the development of the field of digital asset management and digital media management.

[2:17] I think we quite soon noticed that there is, of course, already quite a lot of discussion on, I would call this now, the traditional application domains of digital media management and digital asset management, which are often about organizing digital assets in an organization… organizing them in such a way that you can retrieve them efficiently, and so on.

[2:39] But there’s also, I think, if you come from it from the perspective like myself, which is slightly more computational, and also more in relation to what we would call Internet studies and these fields, if you come from these fields to Digital Asset Management.

[2:54] Then, you notice, actually, the importance that digital content has not just in a single organization, but to bring together various organizations across the Internet, across the globe, and integrate their workflows of working together around the digital content they produce and consume together.

[3:15] That was the original intention when I wrote the book. The book has four chapters. The first one is the background and introduction chapter. The second one, which discusses these kinds of general perspectives on the evolution of digital assets, and also introduces the concepts of digital ecosystems, which is also quite hotly debated recently.

[3:39] It is one of those concepts where you don’t really exactly can define what it is about. But it basically describes how businesses and other organizations bring together their data, tools and services, but also, the people that work for them and with them into a kind of integrated environment on the Internet.

[4:01] That then led to the subtitle of this book, which was called “Crowds and Clouds”, where we basically see how ecosystems are constituted by crowds, so the people who work with an organization and around an organization. And they work with this organization using platforms or clouds to produce and consume digital assets. This was the background section, where I discuss these kinds of concepts and the evolution of Digital Asset Management.

[4:28] Then, there is further sections discussing the technologies and methodologies, that really describe the kind of evolution of this platform I was just describing, and analyze that for also its future potential.

[4:42] Then, there is something that is very important to us, if you also work in a public sector, about how open or closed the ecosystems are around these digital assets. Anyone who’s ever used, let’s say, the Apple iCloud will know what I’m talking about.

[4:57] There’s challenges of sharing certain types of content. And this is, of course, an indication of the kind of business model that Apple, for instance, wants to develop around its digital content. Then, I also have, finally, two chapters which discuss “Big Data”, which is, of course, a big topic in the field.

[5:16] Then, also the kind of wider economic and society implications. What are actually these global workflows that I mentioned earlier? And how do they link together around this digital content? And how do these crowds and clouds integrate with each other.

[5:33] I’m particularly interested, at the very end, to discuss a kind of new idea for digital asset values, which is related to so called network value, which is something that I describe as you become something else on the Internet that nobody else can do without anymore.

[5:53] The standard example for me is always Google Maps. You always wonder why Google has published this freely and openly. But, of course, we recently found out that by publishing this freely and openly, they generated a lot of network value for these maps or assets that they have, because really most all applications on the Internet now run on these maps.

[6:19] This is really to say what I tried to do. I tried to think a little bit about the assumption that digital asset management has a much wider application domain than, maybe, certain traditional ideas about it, and I wanted to write this book mainly to really practically lay down what my own research agenda for this kind of field would be.

Henrik:  [6:41] If you read the show notes, there will be a giveaway of Tobias’ new book. Take a look at for more information. Tobias, what are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?

Tobias:  [6:53] That’s, of course, a great question and a grand challenge to answer. I could talk about technologies, and also methodologies, and also business applications, but, of course, one of my primary interests in this field is the development of educational frameworks for it. I still think it’s quite a challenge for us.

[7:12] I don’t know how you feel about this in your professional practice, Henrik, but it’s quite a challenge for us to make organizations and businesses understand the kind of educational background, the skills, and so on digital asset and media managers need.

[7:30] Also, we have to learn this, because, of course, there’s a wide range in different ways of applying digital media now in the world. We find it interesting, but also really challenging to actually define exactly the kind of skills and professional qualifications that a digital asset manager needs.

[7:49] I think it lies somewhere between some kind of very lightweight computing understanding, so that you can talk to developers, at least. They then go on, of course, to deeper business knowledge around digital content. Then, of course, into the more established fields that one might immediately associate with this, which are more related to information science like metadata and those kind of questions.

[8:14] Now, the greatest success of Digital Asset Management is in a way, I think, the things I already mentioned in my last answer. The importance that people feel about the value of digital content in all kinds of digital industries. I think to say we can really see how this knowledge and understanding is now taking hold of many industries if you just look around here in London, which is, of course, a global hub for these digital industries.

[8:44] The challenges are related to making organizations and companies understand what kind of qualifications and skills are needed based on the success we already had, in a way, and making them understand how important digital content and the curation and preservation and the making use of the digital content in other forms really has become.

Henrik:  [9:06] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Tobias:  [9:11] I think it’s a great job to get into. [laughs] My first advice would be try it. I’m not sure whether you need at an entry level necessarily professional qualification like we offer. Or, even a degree. But, I guess, you will find out soon that it helps you to advance to the more advanced levels.

[9:29] The real, to say, advantage of becoming, I think, a DAM professional, if you want to become one, is that you really sit at the heart of the operations of a digital organization in the 21st century. You really sit there where the content is produced and consumed, where the data is exchanged, and so on.

[9:51] If you are already a DAM professional, I think you should, that doesn’t mean that you have to study here, you should think hard whether it is enough what you have already learned through the practice that you’ve done, and whether you not need some kind of more education.

[10:08] I can only say that, for myself, who considers himself also to be, in a way, a DAM professional. Only through the interactions with all our students and the other people that we met from the wonderful DAM community, which is a global, great family.

[10:24] We have really learned to say how much is involved in this field, and I think it’s really important that DAM professionals keep learning that too. In my experience, highly advisable that you try and stay up‑to‑date in whatever form, with the developments in this field.

Henrik:  [10:42] There is a fair amount of education out there, or even enrichment, to your point.

Tobias:  [10:46] It’s really, Henrik, I don’t know how you feel about it. It’s a field that is evolving very fast, but you also need to stay up‑to‑date with the field, however that might work.

[10:56] You can visit the conferences. You can visit the wonderful blogs of Henrik. You can read even more academic publications like The Journal of Media Management and all these kinds of things. I think that is not to say that you have to go back to school or university, but it’s really important I think, in all digital fields that you try to constantly change your self and evolve.

Henrik:  [11:18] Great point. Of course there’s plenty of new books out there, about Digital Asset Management, including the one you’ve written.

Tobias:  [11:25] We’re also going to publish another one, which you can interview us in about half‑a‑year, about more the theory and practice of the general background of Digital Asset Management.

Henrik:  [11:33] Fantastic. Thank you so much, Tobias.

Tobias:  [11:35] It was nice meeting you, Henrik.

Henrik:  [11:36] For more information on Digital Asset Management, log onto

Another DAM podcast is available on iTunes and AudioBoo. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to email me at Thanks again.

Book Giveaway

You see, there is a benefit to reading the transcripts found in this podcast series. We are giving away one free copy of Tobias Blanke’s new book titled Digital Asset Ecosystems: Rethinking crowds and clouds. To enter this book giveway, email the podcast host with a one paragraph summary on what this book is about (from the transcript above) by no later than August 24, 2014. A random drawing of the email submissions will award one lucky winner free book. The book will come directly from the author. You could even ask for the book to be autographed and personalized from the author himself, Tobias Blanke.

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Why should I read this blog, eBook and listen to the weekly podcast about Digital Asset Management?

Based on the blog post from Another DAM blog,

Listen to the audio podcast on ‘Why should I read this blog, eBook and listen to the weekly podcast about Digital Asset Management?

Written and read by Henrik de Gyor

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Why should I care about the DAM Community?

Based on the blog post from Another DAM blog,

Listen to the audio podcast on ‘Why should I care about the DAM Community?

Written and read by Henrik de Gyor

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Another DAM podcast interview with Daniel Sieberg

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Daniel Sieberg

Here are the questions asked, plus details on how to enter a book drawing:

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor: [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Daniel Sieberg.
Daniel, how are you?
Daniel Sieberg: [0:09] I’m fine, Henrik. Thanks for having me.
Henrik: [0:11] Daniel, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Daniel: [0:14] Well, I’ve always had great respect for the folks who work in the
Digital Asset Management field. I’m always invited to moderate and to talk at
the Createasphere Conference. Met a lot of the folks that worked in Digital
Asset Management. [0:27] To be honest, my understanding of it, going into
Createasphere, was probably about 10 percent of what they do. Afterwards,
certainly, went up and have tried to learn more about it.
[0:38] I have an extensive tech background. I’ve worked in technology as a correspondent
and now at Google, for the better part of 13 or 14 years, to be involved
with the tech community, in some way.
[0:49] Have always had some understanding of what Digital Asset Management
means. I think the logistics and the amount of work that they do to manage that
content, whether it’s through servers or storage area networks, and the breath
and the depth of what they have to keep track of is pretty staggering. I have, as
I say, the utmost respect for those folks.
Henrik: [1:13] You recently authored a book called, “The Digital Diet: Four Step
Plan to Break Your Tech Addiction and Regain Balance in Your Life.” Tell us tech
addicts more about this.
Daniel: [laughs] [1:23] I would say that I was a tech addict. Maybe I’m a recovering
one now. The book is all about approaching technology in a healthy way.
Consuming it, loving it, but just not loving it unconditionally. [1:38] What that
means is not letting it harm your relationships, your own personal well-being.
Trying to find that balance between being connected, staying immersed in the
digital world but not letting it overwhelm you.
[1:50] I think that we can all relate to that on some level. The book is meant to
this guidebook, much like a diet book for food. In that it’s not at all anti-technology.
In fact, it’s more about embracing it, just for the right reasons, on the
right occasion.
[2:04] It’s driven by a personal narrative, my own feelings of getting too caught
up in the virtual world. I lost track of relationships with my friends and family
members, in real life. I think my wife would attest to the fact that I wasn’t as perhaps
as present as I should have been in our relationship.
[2:22] I just came to rely too heavily. I guess, I skewed too heavily to the digital
world. I’ve talked to a lot of tech professionals and people who work in Digital
Asset Management. People who work, very, very immersed in the tech world,
and they see that this message resonates with them.
[2:40] As much as they love their technology, they still have lives. They have
families. They have friends. Sometimes it’s about just using technologies on the
right occasion, and thinking about whether it’s email, or it’s a video chat, or is it
a text, or do you actually pick up the phone. When can you have those face-to-face
conversations and not be distracted your technology?
[2:59] Just getting up from behind the screen and enjoying life without becoming
too caught up in what’s happening online.
Henrik: [3:06] Daniel is donating a copy of his book to one lucky listener
of our book drawing. To enter this book drawing, send an email to, telling me why you like Another DAM Podcast
and/or Another DAM Blog , before March 1st, 2012. Feel free to rate the podcast
and blog as well. The winner will have the book mailed to them.
[3:30] Daniel, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Daniel: [3:36] First of all, I love the name of your podcast and your blog, [laughs]
Another DAM Podcast and Blog. I think it’s very clever. [3:42] I think that it’s obviously
an area that requires a lot of technical expertise, but just like any profession,
and certainly I can share this firsthand, it becomes about the people that
you meet, whether you’re going to Createasphere or other conferences like that,
and I think there’s always that networking aspect.
[3:55] There’s a networking side on the technical end, but there’s also the networking
side with people, and at Createasphere and meeting different Digital
Asset Management folks. It feels like a very tight-knit sort of community. So it’s
important to reach out to those people. Meet with them. Talk with them. Share
your work. Talk about your struggles in the different technologies. Whether it’s
coding, storage, servers. What sort of innovations are you looking at, and try to
be as well-read as you can be.
[4:25] I often feel like I’m constantly learning. I think that the best advice I give
to people is, “Don’t act like you know everything, because there’s always somebody
who knows a bit more than you. There’s somebody who’s innovating in
a new way.”
[4:39] Taking the time to explore those ideas, see what they’re working on. You
don’t have to necessarily do exactly what they’re doing, but maybe you incorporate
a little bit of it. You share what you’re doing. This is the way that, I think,
innovation springs up in new ideas and ways to manage digital assets. It’s obviously
an area of growth.
[4:59] Everything is going the way of digital content, and we have to be thinking
of new ways to distribute that, to share items, to store items. When people talk
in terms of the size of data that we’re referring to, it’s kind of overwhelming for
some people. So sharing what you’re working and your ideas, I think, is essential
in having an open mind to what others might be doing.
[5:20] That’s what I took away from the Createasphere Conference, just people
were sharing and learning along the way.
Henrik: [5:25] Thanks, Daniel.
Daniel: [5:27] Henrik, thank you. I appreciate it.
Henrik: [5:29] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log
onto AnotherDAMblog.comAnother DAM podcast is available on AudioBooiTunes and the Tech Podcast Network. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to email them at Thanks again.


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