Here are the questions asked:
- How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
- How does the Air Force use Digital Asset Management?
- How do you get unstructured assets under control?
- How did you develop new metadata panels for use with the Adobe Creative Suite?
- What advice would you like to give to DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Henrik de Gyor: [0:00] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Cynthia Hilsinger.
Cynthia, how are you?
Cynthia Hilsinger: [0:10] I’m just fine, Henrik.
Henrik: [0:12] Great. Cynthia, how are you involved with Digital Asset
Cynthia: [0:14] I manage a series of files, images, et cetera, about a terabyte, at
Headquarters Air Force Information Media Management and Graphics.
Henrik: [0:25] Great. How does the Air Force use Digital Asset Management?
Cynthia: [0:28] The Air Force uses Digital Asset Management to control its
unstructured assets. These unstructured assets are kept for remanipulation and
repurposing. Information requests come in for the Air Force. We can pull that
information quickly, serve it up to our customers. [0:48] It all becomes part of
telling the Air Force story. This is what we do and having those assets handy,
findable, discoverable, ready to be pulled, served up, made into a product that
can be consumed by the customer or the public, that’s an important storytelling
point for us and our office.
Henrik: [1:10] How do you get unstructured assets under control?
Cynthia: [1:13] One, you have to deal with people and personalities first, content
makers. That was the most difficult item for me. Making sure people understand
that data is a corporate asset, and it has a very real value, and having
them understand that.
Henrik: [1:36] How do you develop new metadata panels for use with the
Adobe Creative Suite?
Cynthia: [1:42] We were given new governance that we were required to
add a VIRIN number to our Creative Suite files. We use a lot of Illustrator and
Photoshop. In the military, in the DoD in particular, we have what’s called
a VIRIN number. It’s the Visual Information Record Identification Number.
Currently, there was no way to add that VIRIN number into the metadata panel.
The practice had been to rename a file and give it this long VIRIN number. [2:15]
To give you a sample of what a VIRIN number is, think of your car VIN number,
the Vehicle Identification Number, which is a very long number. We have this
very long VIRIN number, important because each data asset, each visual information
product has its own individual VIRIN number. It’s almost like a thumbprint.
How are we going to add that without changing a lot of file names to a
hard to remember VIRIN number?
[2:47] When I was looking at the metadata panels that come incorporated with
Adobe Creative Suite, I realized that they were powered by XMP. I contacted
that company and tried to develop some way to add that information in and
change those panels around. After some time, they said, “Well, you know, it’s a
little bit difficult. We had a few requests from other people in the military wanting
the same item.” So it was a common pain point for everyone in the DoD.
[3:24] I brought it forward to Defense Media Activity, and between developers,
Pound Hill, and Adobe, and Defense Media Activity, and understand, trying to
get the government from many different arms. Defense Media Activity said,
“Well, let us massage this a bit.” And I was keeping the communication lines
open, adding some insight on how we were developing things in our name
schema, and I wanted to keep the file name the same.
[3:55] Well, everybody signed off. Adobe said, “Not a problem.” DMA said,
“We’ll host this. It can be found on a DoD website free to the government
users.” Now we can open up a metadata panel that is named for us. It’s a metadata
panel, and that allows us now to keep the file name the same and add
metadata in the appropriate places and makes a smooth transition.
[4:31] My goal was to make each file smarter. With everyone’s cooperation, it all
came together. So now we have a new metadata panel that can be inserted into
our Adobe software, and Adobe is thrilled with it. They’re out saying to their
federal customers, “Hey, look what we have. Please use that.” Federal users
they’re happy, since they don’t have to go some other place.
Henrik: [4:59] What advice would you like to give to DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become data professionals?
Cynthia: [5:05] I would say to begin with, when you come into any organization,
take a survey of the work processes there, and take the survey of all the data
that is in-house. Learn how your office is ingesting data, how it is being moved
throughout the office, and its work processes how it is being made, held,
[5:29] Once you have a baseline of what is and when you know what you’re
currently doing and how to do it, getting a DAM system or building a DAM
system and having metrics is quite critically important. That takes a fair amount
of time to understand, so that’s a first critical step. After you know what your
processes are, the next item that I would say to young DAM professionals is get
a naming system.
[6:02] Make sure that you have a schema for how things are organized. Get a
naming system, making sure that there are no blank spaces, no unusual characters
except hyphen and underscore. That way files become platform agnostic.
We use Macs in our office, but many people have PCs. That way they can be
sent across the Internet without adding extra characters.
[6:28] That would be step two. Naming conventions and getting an understanding
of what things are called, and making sure all files fit that naming convention
and that organizational schema. Step one, know your processes. Step two,
naming conventions and schema development.
Henrik: [6:50] Excellent. Thank you so much, Cynthia.
Cynthia: [6:52] Thank you very much for having me on your blogcast.
Henrik: [6:56] For more on Digital Asset Management, log onto
AnotherDAMblog.com. Thanks again.