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Another DAM Podcast interview with Jennifer Veiga and Theresa Honig on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Jennifer Veiga and Theresa Honig on Digital Asset Management


Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today, I’m speaking with Jennifer Veiga and Theresa Honig. Thanks for joining me. How are you?

Jennifer Veiga:  [0:10] Good, how are you today Henrik?

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

Jennifer:  [0:15] We are involved in various ways and various capacities. We work for a media company, and we implement the standards in which the agencies and photographers and all of our contractors provide assets to us.

[0:35] We probably use Digital Asset [Management] in a very different way than most companies do, in terms of we also use it to a degree as a news feed. We have pretty much written the standards for how the photographers and agencies insert their material into our system, in terms of captioning, keywording, metadata so forth and so on. It’s what we require, what our standards are.

Henrik:  [1:06] How does an organization focused on celebrity media as well as health and fitness media use Digital Asset Management?

Theresa Honig:  [1:13] I think part of our way is getting on our news feed, getting information from the photographers and mainly these agencies. We have to catalogue our information as far as past projects that we’ve done, and also pictures that were used by getting different pictures into our database. We also have to get them out to our designers.

Jennifer:  [1:32] We have an enterprise digital asset management system as well as workflow, so there’s other software tied into it. It’s kind of a complex system in regards to that because there’s so many users.

Theresa:  [1:45] Also, programs have to be linked together to our database…

Jennifer: [1:50] …to support the DAM.

Jennifer:  [1:51] We use it differently in terms of from the celebrity and the health portion of it. Everybody has their own library and we give access to certain people. For example, some of the builders can’t go into some of the other titles’ libraries due to copyright and embargoes and permissions and certain things like that.

[2:19] In terms of the celebrity portion of it, the greatest challenge with that is being that we are such a huge company, and we work at iconic print brands, there’s a lot of photographers and agencies and so forth that want to contribute. It makes it difficult in the sense that the more you store, the more it’s going to cost you.

[2:43] When you implement the system, you only buy a certain amount of storage. It’s not just endless. That presents a problem. Sometimes, we have to be selective on who we allow to contribute. They have to go through a process, in terms of being allowed. I guess you could say like a membership to get username and password into our FTP. Some agencies stream. In that respect, it’s different.

[3:10] Obviously, it’s just different businesses. The entertainment, the celebrity brands, don’t get people working out, and the fitness titles do. In the same realm, we’ve implemented a library that’s for internal use, and it’s a free library we’d like to dole out.

[3:30] It’s basically stock images, product shots, generic things that everybody can use, though we try to repurpose that. In that way, every title doesn’t have to go out and do the same photo shoot for generic shots.

Theresa:  [3:45] We also have to have a bigger library for the celebrity end of it because there’s a lot more material coming in and out. The celebrities are out every day, whereas, the health and fitness end of it is a lot more photoshoots and freelance art and stock art.

Jennifer:  [3:59] A lot more tailored.

Henrik:  [4:00] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Jennifer:  [4:05] Well, I think the biggest challenge really is having an active commitment from the top to support our efforts. A lot of times at the top, they don’t really get all the techie stuff about it. They just think they’re going to buy a system, and that’s it. They pay one time, and it’s all over. That’s not obviously the case.

[4:27] I’ve tried not to sugarcoat the reality that you have to maintain it, update it, and care for it. That essentially is going to cost money and time. At the end of the year, a lot of times, for us, we’ve reached our limit quickly because so many people, every single day, are putting materials into our DAM.

[4:48] For example, when there’s award shows, in a matter of eight hours, you’ll get 75,000 images. It’s a lot for the system to handle, and it’s a lot for everybody to go through. For us to handle too, because at some point, there’s no need for 10,000 pictures of Jennifer Lopez smiling in the same dress.

[5:09] That’s what you run into. It’s hard to get to what you need because you have to dig through all of the award shows stuff. It gets, kind of hairy and complicated and annoying at times. Basically, on those days, we’re all working overtime because we have to go in, basically clean and edit.

[5:29] A lot of times, like photographers and agencies, and stuff like that…It seems cheap and easy to just shoot a bunch of pictures, but you don’t need all of those pictures. I think a lot of times, people just need to learn how to edit. That’s really important for any system because you get backlogged.

Theresa:  [5:48] It gets too big, and then you have to…

Jennifer: [5:50] It slows the system down. It slows everything down.

Theresa: [5:54] You have to get it empty enough that it will take more on. You need to do the maintenance. At that point, empty some things out. Also, make sure it’s properly backed up is another issue we see. A lot of times things aren’t properly backed up and then we have to change servers, then we lose a mountain of information. We have to get it all back in again. It makes a whole, huge effort that was unnecessary.

Jennifer: [6:19] Another challenge that we have is making sure that everybody’s software, programs, technology is compatible. For example, ‑‑ what was it? ‑‑ today we had a problem where somebody’s Photoshop didn’t match up, wasn’t being properly ingested into our system. It wasn’t reading it.

[6:37] We get glitches like that and things like that come up. It’s frustrating because a lot of times it’s not the end user, so we not only cater to the end users here, but we have to support outside efforts as well. That sometimes gets to be difficult and stressful. I’m not sitting at whoever’s desk in California, so I don’t know what’s on their computer.

[7:03] And successes… I’d say our most successful implementation was SCC Media Grid, which is a digital asset management system that is basically created for the publishing industry. For our purposes, it is by far superior, I think, than most in term of  You can see everything immediately.

[7:25] You can do time searches. You can do looped-in searches. You can do Boolean searches. It is multi‑faceted, and it is extremely quick. It’s really easy to maintain. When people drop things in, it has pretty much ranks in most meta data.

[7:40] Once we’ve given them our style guides and standard guides, if they properly adhere to them, then it creates a nice workflow. It makes our job a lot easier.

Theresa: [7:53] It can handle a lot of information. There aren’t as many system crashes.

Henrik:  [7:57] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Jennifer: [8:03] First and foremost, make sure you have commitment from the top. Make sure that they know that every person that you visit, that’s a license fee. Everybody can’t share the same username and password. You can’t do that. That’s stealing people’s technology, and that isn’t right.

[8:20] Develop a strategy and customize it to your business needs. Talk to as many people as you can because it’s so imperative. Employees in different departments, everybody has data in their head. Data is essentially knowledge, so everybody is knowledgeable in some degree or another.

[8:42] We try to have an open door policy in terms of, we encourage people to come and speak to us with all kinds of questions, comments, concerns, ways to improve anything. It’s a work in progress. It’s not perfect now, but that obviously is our goal.

Theresa: [9:00] To really help, you have to know the ins and outs to the company you’re helping and know what the employees need and what they need to do their job and get it done efficiently. Also, like we said before, plan for the future. Make sure there is enough room in that database so that you have a plan after that. That you have a bigger system you can move onto.

Jennifer: [9:19] Obviously, you’ll need controlled vocabularies and your keywords. And I think sometimes with digital asset management people think the more metadata and the more keywords and the more this is better. I personally don’t necessarily agree with that.

[9:32] I think that there’s something to be said for simplicity. I think it needs to be straightforward… real people speak. Some people get a little too smart with their keywords. If it’s a picture of an island, just write “island”. You don’t have to have some crazy… I mean obviously you should [say] what island and where it is, and stuff like that is important, but sometimes people just get too literal about it.

[9:57] That’s happened here where they’ll write, “This is West Indies,” but it doesn’t say “island” and a lot of people are sometimes looking for an island. Develop a strategy and talk to as many people as you can because that’s where you will get ideas and solutions. And basically, that’s what we are usually trying to do. Find a solution to something.

Theresa: [10:20] Yeah. Talk to other professionals is great because everyone is running into a different situation. You might have a situation that somebody conquered last year.

Jennifer: [10:30] Glitches and things like that. Sometimes one person is able to pull up something on the other person like, “Well, I just typed that in, and it’s not coming up on mine.” For the most part, that is usually a user error. I have seen instances where things haven’t shown up, and I still don’t have the answers to those.

Theresa: [10:48] Stay on top of your software. Make sure you don’t forget to schedule your updates and things like that. There’s a lot of times where we have to work really closely with IT. I mean, IT is probably who we work closest with because they support our efforts as well.

Henrik:  [11:03] Thank you.

Jennifer:  [11:03] Sure.

Henrik:  [11:04] For more on this and other digital asset management topics, go to For this podcast and 160 other podcast episodes including transcripts of every interview, go to If you have any comments or questions, email me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Anne Lenehan on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Anne Lenehan 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’m speaking with Anne Lenehan. Anne how are you?

Anne Lenehan:  [0:09] I’m very well, thank you Henrik.

Henrik:  [0:11] Anne, how are you involved with digital asset management?

Anne:  [0:14] At Elsevier, I’m currently the product owner for our digital asset management system, and I was also involved in creating the business case for the DAM we introduced into Elsevier, and ensure that not only through the business case but also through the implementation phase at Elsevier.

Henrik:  [0:31] Anne, how does the provider of science and health information use digital asset management?

Anne:  [0:35] It’s a great question, when you think about science or health information you don’t necessarily think about all of the types of rich media and video, and audio materials that are part of not only just the diagnosis part of medical information but also in the learning and also in the patient information. The way that we use digital assets at Elsevier is they’re part of every product that we produce, every book, every journal and every online product that we have has images, videos, audio files, Google maps files or map files.

[1:08] We have special 3D and interactive images, we have interactive questions and case studies, all of which have a lot of rich media as part and parcel of those content pieces. Those are all digital assets that we want to store and manage, and potentially recompile and re‑use in future products. It’s really at the core of our content information. It is as big of a part of our content flow as the text content has always been.

Henrik:  [1:39] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?

Anne:  [1:42] I think one of the most difficult thing with digital assets and how we manage them through a DAM, is really understanding the work flows that are involved in creating the assets, and how they can fit together in an end‑to‑end workflow for production pieces. I think that’s probably the biggest challenge.

[2:00] The way that we view creating, say images or videos, are viewed as very much separate work streams, where in fact, they are very frequently work stream that all flow together or workflows that flow together and are connected in a way. Actually having a DAM enables us to view those work streams and workflows in a much more continuous manner and help us to improve our processes for creating rich media assets that are then part of the DAM.

[2:30] I think this has been one of the biggest challenges that we’ve seen within my company but that’s also a common thing within other companies is that certain parts of the workflows are not always identified as having the potential to be part of working with the digital asset management system. It’s actually very good way to manage assets coming into the company from our author base.

[2:51] It’s a great way to manage distributing those assets for improvements or for transformation to our vendors. Digital asset management system is a very helpful way for us to review those assets, to view them in [Inaudible 3:03] and the way that they are going to be used in our content product. Also to distribute those assets down the road to our product platforms and also as part of our compiled objects, be they books or journals, online content, e‑books, whatever the output is.

[3:19] That’s a great success and it’s actually seeing how the DAM can be in content, but the biggest challenge is really helping people understand how those workflows fit together.

Henrik:  [3:30] Anne, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Anne:  [3:35] I think one of the most important things to understand is actually how the assets are used in a company, and what the importance of those assets are. This was a big change for us at Elsevier, we had always viewed rich media assets with somewhat secondary..or a secondary part of our content pieces.

[3:52] It was only really when we started to think about video assets and image assets, and all other kinds of rich media assets as being core and central to our content pieces that we started to really look at DAM as being a way to manage those content pieces.

[4:07] The one important thing for an aspiring DAM professional is to really understand the business that they are looking at, and what the content pieces are that go into it, and how those content pieces, be they, digital assets. How are they working together? What is the overall picture, and the overall view or the overall importance of digital assets to that company?

[4:27] As those assets become more important and as the record or the management or the potentially the re‑use becomes more important. That would be something very important to understand and to translate to, particularly to senior management, in supporting and funding origination of a DAM system.

[4:45] The other thing that I would really recommend for aspiring DAM professional is to understand a lot about metadata and taxonomy and how they work together to support the assets that you are creating, storing and managing in a digital asset management system. I can’t overemphasize this enough, but this was really a core part of our mature view of digital assets within Elsevier is that we had established a really good taxonomy.

[5:11] That we are using as part of a process we call Smart Content across our product assets and platforms. We were using the taxonomy to tag our content and manage it to improve the search and discovery of the assets and content that we had on our platforms. One of the outgrowths of the Smart Content program was really to understand that rich media assets were being searched and were being used.

[5:37] That actually translated to…how do we use the taxonomy? What a taxonomy is? How it could be used in your particular industry and the importance of how that can be used to enable search and discovery and lead in the efforts of the DAM.

Henrik:  [5:50] Well, thanks Anne.

Anne:  [5:51] Sure.

Henrik:  [5:53] For more on this and other digital asset management topics go to

For this and 150 other podcasts episodes including transcripts of every interview go to If you have any comments or questions please feel free to email me at Thanks again.

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Another DAM podcast interview with JA Pryse on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM podcast interview with JA Pryse on Digital Asset Management

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • You were recently awarded a fellowship on Digital Asset Management. Tell us more about this.
  • What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?
  • What advice would you like to share with 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 JA Pryse. JA, how are you?

JA Pryse:  [0:10] I’m good. Thank you for having me on, Henrik.

Henrik:  [0:13] JA, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

JA:  [0:17] I was hired by the Oklahoma Historical Society in 2010 to process the [00:23] Carmen Gee collection, which is a very large collection. By process I mean the manuscripts, audio, video, and photographs. The project contained over 91 linear feet of manuscripts, close to 350,000 images, 207 mixed audios, and a number of video and some recordings. My job was to digitize and process the collection.

[0:47] That was my first introduction into Asset Management.

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:51] You were recently awarded a fellowship on Digital Asset Management. Tell us more about this.

JA:  [0:57] Oklahoma is pretty new on the digitizing field, and we’re relatively new as far as policy and procedures go. Of course, we have a huge collection especially with the five million image Gateway to Oklahoma history newspaper project, and the OPUBCO collection that we do have.

[1:14] My proposal was surrounding long‑term Digital Asset Management. I felt the Smithsonian Institute Archives, the way that they run their program and the way that they manage their assets, is something that I definitely want to model and bring back to the Oklahoma Historical Society.

[1:32] The proposal I wrote was concerning that, and the research that I will do for two weeks while I am residing there.

Henrik:  [1:39] Is this in Washington DC?

JA:  [1:40] Yes, April 5th through the 19th this year [2014].

Henrik:  [1:44] Sounds very exciting.

JA:  [1:45] It is. I’m looking forward to it, I’ve never been to Washington DC. My mission is to develop a management plan and best practice strategies for all of our assets that we have here.

Henrik:  [1:55] Fantastic. What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?

JA:  [2:00] For the Oklahoma Historical Society and for myself and my department, there is pretty much one person handling each media format. And of course, we always go through budget cuts and we’re the first one to be cut in the state since we are a state agency.

[2:18] There’s only one of me, and the ethics grant has a total of one scanner ‑‑ which is a part‑time scanner ‑‑ one part‑time indexer, one volunteer indexer and I. Also, I like to say I moonlight as an audio engineer, an archivist, but have taken a lot of classes and lot of educational steps to get into the audio engineering field and audio archiving in the oral history collection.

[2:45] Whenever we do acquire new audio collections such as the Clara Luper collection, where it was an audio tape…every one of Clara Luper’s…who’s an African‑American archivist in the region. She had a radio show. We acquired that collection. It had 19 linear feet of audio tapes and cassettes. We’re going to digitize those.

[3:07] The biggest challenge is not having more than one me to handle the newspaper project as well as the audio digitization projects that we have.

Henrik:  [3:17] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

JA:  [3:22] I spoke to a class this morning that was doing a tour of the archives that we have here at the Oklahoma Historical Society. I was asked the same question. What I spoke to them about is becoming more familiar with all digital formats as much as possible, taking as many classes as you can.

[3:40] I mentioned earlier taking classes in audio engineering, taking online classes in video and film production, and getting familiarized with library processes. All different kinds of scanning and digitization as well as the preservation of that material that we are digitizing.

[3:57] Whenever I speak to students or aspiring archivists, I always want to say, “Keep studying. Keep studying everything that you can. Build your knowledge base.” The more that we know about the material that we’re digitizing, the more beneficial we’re going to be with managing that material. Whenever we speak with community colleges or the different universities, I always like to say, “Concentrate on the efficiency as well. Quantity, quality, and efficiency.”

[4:28] I think that we become more efficient as digital assent managers as we educate ourselves more along the different processes, which is one of the reasons why I’m looking forward to going to the Smithsonian for that fellowship. It’s primarily to learn how we can manage our material better.

Henrik:  [4:47] There’s still a lot of analog material out there to be digitized.

JA:  [4:52] Absolutely. Now that it’s become the time…the archivists before us that have worked here with the Oklahoma Historical Society for 37 years or for 40 years. That material that they have taken care of is expiring. They’ve all retired now and left it to us, which is just the natural progression/evolution of all the material.

[5:11] We’ll do our part, and then in 30 or 40 years, somebody will come in and do their part. Things keep expiring. The new advances that we see every day, I believe…If we fall behind, we fall behind.

Henrik:  [5:25] I’ve heard once it is digitized, it may be transferred into a different format eventually because to your point, before it gets expired.

JA:  [5:33] Absolutely. One of the other things I was speaking to students this morning is the importance of having a master copy, an access copy, or clones of the master copy for different uses. Online use, copy use, press release use, all different sorts of uses, but securing that master copy just in case anything ever happens to the original format such as fire, flooding, or in our parts, tornadoes. But definitely to have that master copy.

Henrik:  [6:05] Thanks, JA.

JA:  [6:06] Thank you for having me, and I enjoy your podcast quite a bit.

Henrik:  [6:10] Thank you.

Henrik:  [6:11] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log on to 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.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Ed Klaris

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Ed Klaris about Digital Asset Management

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • How does a magazine publisher use Digital Asset Management?
  • What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?
  • What advice would you like to share with 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, and I’m speaking with Ed Klaris. Ed, how are you?
Ed Klaris: [0:10] Fine, thanks. Thanks for having me.
Henrik: [0:12] Ed, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Ed: [0:15] I am Senior Vice President in charge of Editorial Assets and Rights at Conde Nast, which includes asset management and rights management across the entire portfolio. Conde Nast owns 18 consumer titles and three B2B titles, all of which have articles and photographs from the traditional print publications. We also produce a lot of video, blogs, and web content, all of which I’m responsible for taking after publication and putting it into a repository.
[0:49] We use our Digital Asset Management system to house, search and discover previously published assets, so that we can reuse them for various purposes. I’m not a technologist, I’m a manager. I’m an executive at the company and I oversee Digital Asset Management. In fact, under my management, we created asset management here at the company and we converted print titles backwards, back to 2002 into XML, and every month that the print titles are created here, we convert them to XML and then put them into our repository.
Henrik: [1:26] How does a magazine publisher use Digital Asset Management?
Ed: [1:29] Similar to what I just said, we convert all of our content into a structured format. We use our PRISM Spec XML format to house all of our previously published content. It’s a video or Web‑based content that can go into the asset management system fairly cleanly. However, we do try to add metadata so that it’s easily discoverable. We use Digital Asset Management as a repository so that we can reuse content as broadly as possible. We can distribute digital content across the world to our publishers around the world, to our licensees, our content syndication partners, etc.
[2:09] It’s a repository discovery device and a distribution mechanism.
Henrik: [2:14] What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?
Ed: [2:18] The biggest challenge that we face are combining asset metadata with rights data around exactly what we can and cannot do with a given asset. As an IT publisher, we tend to not acquire all rights to all content, we have limited rights. Many of the pieces of content have different use cases. We can make a book out of one title’s photograph, but not out of another.
[2:43] We can crop a photo here, and another photograph we might not be able to. We can use an article on the Web, and another article, we cannot. The biggest challenge is, I’m not discovering the asset, it’s knowing how you can reuse it, and having pretty easy access by the user into the asset and exactly its suitability.
[3:04] Then, the biggest successes so far have been our ability to take a robust database. We use an underlying database for our Digital Asset Management system and building a DAM app on top of it, which is the underlying database is an unstructured database that has great search capability, but it really didn’t have a lot of specified magazine publishing needed asset management tools, like a front end. It didn’t have carding, or reuse capabilities.
[3:37] It didn’t have the ability to segment and use taxonomies quite as well in our specific field, so we have been able to build on top of our unstructured database, a thin app that is very robust and serves the magazine publishing business very well, but when in fact this industry has really not had a DAM product that did serve our needs.
Henrik: [4:00] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Ed: [4:04] I think that DAM requires a great knowledge around search and discovery. It’s an undervalued skill set, and with search and discovery, I mean the ability to create and employ taxonomies to use segmentation and granularized search in a way that makes your assets findable. I think the people who are going into the field don’t know, just need to know how to manage binary assets, but also need to be very familiar with search and discovery, and they need to be able to be technologists.
[4:38] Not necessarily everybody needs to be able to code, but they need to be very familiar with technology around these databases and such, because otherwise, it maybe kind of get lost. They need to know what they’re getting into. What it was, if was they were really interested in, are they interested in that, more so content management than Digital Asset Management as a repository, and really know what direction they want to go in.
[5:02] Often times I find that people are ultimately interested in creating content rather than figuring out how to store it and find it and re‑purpose it, it’s the latter that people in this field really need to focus on. I’m looking for people who are both content specialists and people who can convert content into XML or HTML, mostly XML, and also technologists who understand search primarily, and can do front‑end development. Both of those skills are very useful and especially the technology side.
Henrik: [5:31] Thanks, Ed.
Ed: [5:31] You’re welcome, it was a pleasure.
Henrik: [5:33] More on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, logon to 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.


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