Another DAM podcast interview with Judy Colbert

Click here to listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Judy Colbert

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • How does an organization focused on gems use a DAM?
  • What do you do to encourage user adoption of the DAM?
  • What advice would you like to give to DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?

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 Judy Colbert.
Judy: [0:08] , how are you?
Judy Colbert: [0:10] Hi. I’m fine, thanks, Henrik.
Henrik: [0:12] Judy, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Judy: [0:15] Well, I’m administrator of GIA’s DAM system. I deal with the daily
operation for the system on the front end. The technical side is handled by our
IT department. [0:26] My team, the visual resources library, consists of two catalogers,
a digital resources specialist, a visual resources librarian and me.
[0:36] When we began our DAM project around 2002, I was co-project manager.
With the involvement of committee members from various departments, we
decided on a vendor, came up with policies and procedures in using the DAM.
We, also, developed our property models and taxonomy at that time.
[0:56] After implementation, the visual resources library took over as caretakers
of DAM. I had a smaller staff in the beginning and did much more of the importing
of assets and editing of metadata. But as my team grew, more of my time’s
spent in management.
Henrik: [1:13] How is an organization focused on gems use a DAM?
Judy: [1:18] One of the more important things we do at GIA is teach gemology,
and the jewelry manufacturing arts. It’s very visual and you need a lot of images
to teach students about the large variety of gemstones, how to identify them
and how to determine their quality. [1:34] The Gemological Institute of America
develops its own courses in print and, more recently, in eLearning. We have staff
and freelance photographers who produce a lot of images. They need to be
organized and made accessible, not only to our education department, but to
marketing, PR, the laboratory, and the research departments, too.
[1:57] They all use images for a variety of uses, such as for scientific journals, education
catalogs, lectures and instructional use.
Henrik: [2:06] Great. What do you do to encourage user adoption of the DAM?
Judy: [2:11] That’s a good question and one we continually ask ourselves how to
do. One thing we start off with is to provide training to new users. At first, because
it was a larger number, we held group training sessions. Now, we mostly
have one on one training. [2:28] It’s really important to get users to feel comfortable
in using DAM, especially if they’ve never used it before. We try to simplify
and not overwhelm them right away with all the features that are available in
DAM. We show them what they need to do to get started, and if they want to
know more or have a higher level of access, we can instruct them more then.
[2:50] Other ways we’ve tried to gain user adoption is by communicating with
our users by way of newsletters and a blog. We’ve also held special events, like
awards ceremonies, to acknowledge our power users. Photo identification socials
to identify unknown people in old photos, and open houses to give demos
and answer some questions.
Henrik: [3:13] Excellent. I have a link to your blog on my blog,
AnotherDAMblog.com. What is the URL to your blog?
Judy: [3:21] It’s dam4gia.blogspot.com. It’s mainly, an internal blog for our own
users, but people from the outside are welcome to view it if they like.
Henrik: [3:36] Excellent. There’s a lot of nice imagery on there.
Judy: [3:38] Well, thank you.
Henrik: [3:39] What advice would you like to give to DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Judy: [3:45] Read up, learn from other DAM professionals, and make a project
plan before you take the leap. When we started our project, there wasn’t as
much information available as there is now. Take advantage of learning from
other people’s experiences and mistakes. [3:59] Start small and build up. It can
be very overwhelming to try to do it all at once.
[4:05] Finally, be flexible and willing to adapt. Changes will happen.
Henrik: [4:11] Excellent. Well, thank you, Judy.
Judy: [4:12] Oh, you’re welcome.
Henrik: [4:14] For more on Digital Asset Management, log onto
AnotherDAMblog.com. Thanks again.

Another DAM podcast interview with Julie Maher

Click to listen to Another DAM podcast interview with Julie Maher

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • Why does a jewelry company use a DAM?
  • What advice would you like to give to DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?

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 Julie Maher. Julie,
how are you?
Julie Maher: [0:09] Doing great, how are you doing?
Henrik: [0:13] Good. Julie, how are you involved with Digital Asset
Management?
Julie: [0:15] I’ve been involved with Digital Asset Management for over 10 years.
I first started at Ralph Lauren. A little bit of background, I’ve always been very
interested in photography and the preservation of those types of assets. Digital
Asset Management happened to be something that I naturally fell into. It was
the natural next step for me. [0:39] At Ralph Lauren, they have an extremely
extensive collection of photographic assets, video assets and they were at the
point where everyone in the art department was keeping the same types of
images on different servers. It was really clogging up their space. It got to a
point where we really just needed to clean everything out and put it into one
system that the entire company could access.
Henrik: [1:10] Makes sense.
Julie: [1:14] Yeah, we started building this DAM system. It was highly customizable.
A company like Ralph Lauren is not going to have anything straightforward.
They’re very lifestyle driven, so you can’t just search for photographs by a
photographer. It has to be by thoroughbred, Nantucket, things like that as well
as searching as by location, photographer, model, season, year, that type of
thing. [1:42] It was extra special, because that’s really their whole thing. And also,
at Ralph Lauren, as in fashion in general, is very cyclical. A collection from the
80s will return and be very popular, and you need to pull those assets again as
inspiration for a new collection.
[2:00] It’s a huge, huge database. They had about 750,000 assets when I left in
2006. They were adding approximately 60,000 assets a year. It’s massive. I was
in the corporate archives department. My boss and I, Pat Christman, who had
been with the company since the very beginning, she was more like the company
historian, we worked with this team for this.
[2:30] We had a very rigorous schedule. We’d meet weekly. We really built up a
beautiful, beautiful system. I love it. To this day people always comment about
it. Anybody who has interacted with that system knows that it’s very fine tuned
and it works really well.
[2:49] Yeah, that was my entre into the Digital Asset Management world. From
there, I’ve worked with the NFL. I worked with them last year for their youth division.
They needed to organize their assets. It seems to be a problem in these
art departments where people download these high res assets and keep them
on their individual servers or desktops. It starts clogging up the system again.
[3:23] Companies are starting to realize that they need one place for these
assets to stay so they’re easily accessible but, again, not everywhere all over the
company. You know things start to happen. Was this the final approved one? Is
it cropped correctly? You don’t have that information in a simple file sitting on
your desktop. Do you know what I mean? It hasn’t gone through all the stages
of approval.
Henrik: [3:48] So, there’s centralization basically?
Julie: [3:51] Yeah, definitely. I basically work with luxury brands. My other job
that I do is I produce fashion videos. Now I’m starting to work with those clients
who have all these video assets and photographic assets, and they have no idea
what to do with them. [4:11] It just amazes me, maybe because I’ve been doing
this for 10 years it’s not shocking, but it just really surprises me that people don’t
have things more in order. They’re starting to catch on and realize that this is a
very vital part of their business, which is good. This area with the fashion sector,
luxury brands, it’s really totally booming right now.
Henrik: [4:42] Julie, why would a jewelry company, for example, use a DAM?
Julie: [4:47] Currently I am consulting at the second largest jewelry company
in the country, not the world actually. A jewelry company is like any other company
that has assets. In this particular case there is a jewelry designer for this
company that is pushing this project. [5:12] She herself realizes how valuable it
is to have her assets organized and located in one place. They’re preserved.
They’re getting digitized at very high resolution. They’re going to be preserved.
Everything is going to go to cold storage. Her actual physical assets are going
to be protected.
[5:32] I really saw the jewelry company as any company like a Ralph Lauren or
a NFL. It’s not even about the industry. It’s about preserving your assets and
making sure everything is taken care of. I could do this in any industry.
[5:50] I tell people all the time, “Yes, I work in a luxury brand sector, but I could
be doing this for anyone who has that need.” It’s a major, major need. This is
a great project that I’m working on now, because the company is 100 percent
behind it.
[6:09] We have a very nice budget, which you also often don’t get with these
projects because it’s so new on the scene, it seems. Again, as with Ralph Lauren,
the team I’m managing, we have a very rigorous schedule.
[6:29] We meet every Wednesday, and on Thursdays we action everything that
we talked about on Wednesday so it gives the team that is actually building out
the system five days to get it going. It’s a very, very strict schedule. Everybody is
totally committed to it.
[6:46] I think that’s what makes it work and makes a DAM system really effective,
if you’ve got a team that’s just as passionate as you are, knows the end goal,
knows what it’s going to look like and can see what it’s going to look like.
[7:00] Again, it’s highly customizable. We can just bring this right into the PR
department and use it for exactly what we need. What’s very exciting about this
project is that there are other modules that have already been developed within
the company, but they did it backwards.
[7:19] They uploaded photos first, and then they attached some data and everything
else. We’re doing it like the old school way. We are building it up nice and
slowly, very clean. Then we’re going to add assets. This is now going to serve as
the model for the rest of the company going forward.
[7:35] They have a very, very nice, clean system. It’s going to work perfectly. It’s
going to totally be across the company. It’s going to be one large system with
all these different modules, and it’s very, very nice.
Henrik: [7:52] Julie, what advice would you like to give to DAM professionals or
people aspiring to become a DAM professional?
Julie: [8:00] I thought about this a little bit. I said I worked in fashion for a long
time, luxury brands. I feel that the DAM community is very inviting. I don’t feel
like it’s a very competitive group. People are always sharing ideas and going to
each other. [8:18] I think that’s really key in this industry, not to be afraid to contact
your colleagues and talk about things. Chances are they’ve already been
through it, and they can give you some pointers. I go to these Meetups, and I
meet these fantastic people.
[8:36] You keep in touch, and you come across some situation, like I met someone
last week and I’m going to contact them about these video assets I’m working
on for this current collection. I just think you should be really open and not
be very competitive about that type of thing.
[8:53] I know a lot of industries are competitive, but I feel like this is a knowledge
sharing group, and it’s just natural to want to talk about, discuss, and
share information. Do you know what I mean? It’s one of those industries that
work that way.
[9:06] For the aspiring professional, I just feel like you should go to these meetups.
Go to these networking events. I hear so many people say they don’t want
to go. They’re shy or whatever. But it’s like this is one group of people who are
so passionate about what they do that somebody is going to talk to you.
[9:30] That fear of social anxiety that people experience when going to these
events, people shouldn’t even worry about that. I find that younger people I run
into don’t want to do these things. I’m like, “It’s the best thing going. Are you
kidding me? I meet people every time I go. I meet wonderful people.” You just
expand your network.
Henrik: [9:51] Thanks, Julie.
Julie: [9:53] You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure.
Henrik: [9:54] For more on Digital Asset Management, log onto
AnotherDAMblog.com. Thanks again.