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Another DAM Podcast interview with Jennifer Sellar on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Another DAM Podcast interview with Jennifer Sellar

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 Jennifer Sellar. Jennifer, how are you?

Jennifer Sellar:  [0:10] I’m good, thanks.

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

Jennifer:  [0:14] I am the Senior Digital Image Archivist at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I’ve been here almost nine years. I started out working in more traditional archives. I’m working with photography and film collections. I have an MLIS. And then, a job opened up, when I moved to New York at MoMA. They were looking for someone to organize the workflow and the digital images they were taking in the imaging studio.

[0:43] When I came in, they were originally working with the Excel Spreadsheet, some basic metadata that they were adding in, while they were shooting images. My job was initially to organize the studio, and get all of their workflow, so that it was set up, so that they weren’t using [laughs] spreadsheets. We’re able to track all their images. At the same time, the museum actually started the processing of getting a DAM System, and had chosen one using a committee through various people at the museum.

[1:13] Once that was established, I was the primary person to the front-end of the DAM at the museum. I work with all of the different departments, working with their workflow, and getting their materials into the DAM. Then, I work with a committee and various people through the museum, primarily in IT, so that the DAM is running on a daily basis.

Henrik:  [1:36] Jennifer, how does a modern art museum use Digital Asset Management?

Jennifer:  [1:41] We use it as a workflow for all of our images. Actually now, not just imaging materials, but all sort of multimedia materials in the museum. We started out, as I’ve said, in the imaging studio, because the imaging studio’s responsible for taking all the images of the artwork. Those are used for publications, retail or anything at the museum. We would use it for the website.

[2:11] Once we got that established, we started using it for all imaging. It’s been slowly growing, retail, graphics, the conservation department. All of their images are also in there and fully searchable. Everyone at the museum has some sort of access. Most users have a basic access to be able to download a JPEG from the [DAM] system.

[2:36] We actually have our rights management outsourced to two companies. One is Scala, which is in Italy, the other one is Art Resources, which is based in New York. They oversee our Rights Management, but that flows through my department and through me. They are able to use the DAM System, to be able to find what we have for their researchers. It allows them to do research, where we don’t have to do it on our end, and then they’re responsible for overseeing the rights, and getting the images out to other people.

[3:07] We also use it as a workflow to get our images to our main museum database, TMS, which is used throughout the museum world. That also allows the website to be able to get images as well. We are now recently using another new system in the museum called “The Digital Repository for Museum Collections” which we call DRMC, which is basically a system archive and preserve any original digital artwork in the museum. They actually are providing access copies of those works that are available in the DAM for users. If a curator wants to watch one of those, they’re able to watch those in our DAM System.

[3:45] We, primarily, pull a lot of our data from the TMS System automatically. We put that in place. The TMS System has rights in regards to the artwork and uses in any of those documentation.

[3:57] That’s pulled into the Asset Management System. Our resources in Scala will be able to see what the images are, if they have any issues. Again, we’re providing the image. If a person is using that, they would actually go to the artists’ estate or the artist themselves, and then get their additional permission. It’s fairly complicated.

[4:18] We’ve actually looked into some additional rights system, because you’ll hear from a lot of people with DAM Systems. One DAM doesn’t usually fit everything perfectly. Rights seems to be a big issue. We have some basic rights information, but obviously, as you get into things like video, which we just started pulling in, rights gets much more complicated than with just one artist. It becomes very complicated.

[4:45] We’re looking at different ways of putting that in through using a documentation that would be attached with the asset, versus it necessarily being searchable directly as a field in the DAM. That’s one thing when you’re working in a museum, especially in modern museums. Somewhere like The Met, someone that’s dealing with stuff that’s out of copyright, it’s a little bit easier, but we have to be very concern about how our permissions are set.

[5:08] A lot of times, people don’t realize all the rights involved, when you’re working with people. They want to go ahead and use the image [laughs] , if they have full access to it or are able to download it very easily without going through a process of someone with checks and balances. A lot of that is set through permissions.

[5:26] Primarily, there are very few people in the museum who have full access to be able to download. Those people tend to be people who are working in departments who would understand rights, so publications obviously, they understand that they can’t just take an image and automatically use it.

Henrik:  [5:42] Jennifer, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?

Jennifer:  [5:45] For us, and this is a challenge, no matter where you are, people are producing so much content at this point. I’ve been in the studio. We’ve seen the number of growth images we do. It’s massive, the amount that we do now, compared to what we did eight years ago. Again, same thing with video and audio in the museum. Every department is producing more and more materials, honestly with less people.

[6:13] It’s very difficult to get people to buy into being able to put, to give us the information or materials in a way that will actually work in the Asset Management System. Also, a lot of times, the people we work with don’t necessarily even have the ability to do it. In the studio, we have great resources. We have Photoshop. We have Bridge.

[6:34] We have all of these ways to put in metadata, and set up metadata to automatically go into materials. There are a lot of people working in the museum who can’t even open a TIF image [laughs] on their machines. A lot of times, they’ll look at a disc from an outside photographer, and they won’t be able to even to do anything with them.

[6:53] A big goal for us is to try to figure out a good space, where those people can view enough information and have workflows that they can get that material to us in a way that it works in the DAM. It’s finding that sweet spot between that, which always very difficult.

[7:10] We have the luxury of being able to implement our DAM fairly slowly. We’ve been able to go to departments and realize when they’re ready and when they’re not [laughs] , because if not, if people just throw you materials, it doesn’t work very well with the DAM, because while you can put them in there, they’re not usable if they don’t have their correct data or organization with them. I would say that’s probably the biggest challenge for us.

[7:32] It’s being able to handle all the materials that are coming in with the amount of people working. We’ve had a lot of success. Because of that issue, we’ve been really successful of being able to integrate any systems that were available already, which I talked a little bit about TMS. We are able to pull a lot of data from that database, because it’s really rich.

[7:56] There are people who are working with that full‑time, who really know the art, the artists and all that information. It makes sense. We can do that with artwork. We have an object ID that’s unique. We’re able to pull all that information about the artwork automatically in every day. Also, we’ve been able to do a workflow, where we’ve been able to automate pulling and approving the materials.

[8:19] As we go along each step, we’ve been able to automate more and more. A curator has to proof an image, and it goes automatically to the database into the website, without them having to do a lot of work. That’s been a great success. Also, just putting the materials into the DAM System has allowed us to see overlaps in different departments, because departments tend to not necessarily always speak to each other.

[8:43] There were some departments who are taking similar images of each other, so that they could actually realize that they didn’t need to rehire a photographer to shoot something, since we already had it. They’re able also to understand a little bit more at the front end that rights are important. There used to be a lot of handshake agreements [laughs].

[9:02] They realize now if they’re going to pay an outside photographer for images that it would be great, if we can get the rights for those, and get people to sign off releases. It’s helped the museum realize that kind of thing that will help in the long run for these assets to be used more than once.

Henrik:  [9:21] Jennifer, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Jennifer:  [9:25] For people who are trying to go into the industry, I would say there is more and more course work raised on DAMs, but there is so much out there, if you are already working, so I wouldn’t go a more traditional library field. There are things, like the DAM meetups in New York, which are great. It’s really amazing. You can meet people. You can learn about the industry. It’s a great place for contacts, any meetups.

[9:46] I was going to the other day, there’s a meetup for that, if you need to learn about scripting, if you need to learn about taxonomy. Those are amazing groups, and they’re great resources. Now, there’s so much more material on the Web.

[9:59] I was looking at film and video. It’s not my strong suit and background, NYU has a film archiving program. They put all their syllabus online now. You can see all the course material. A lot of times, there’s links. Sometimes, there’s lectures.

[10:18] It’s really amazing from when I went to library school 15 years ago, what is out there and free. There is so many more ways to network than there were 10 years ago even. Just use every kind of person that you can go out there.

[10:32] I would also recommend getting internships. We always have interns. I’ve gotten a couple of interns actually from the DAM meet up for people who are interested. Some people were like adult returning students, and not necessarily who would have originally started out in that background. If you’re in a city or anywhere, there’s Asset Management Systems in every field. It’s a growing industry.

[10:51] For people who already work in Asset Management, for us the largest success for us is to look through the museum and see we don’t have a large staff. That’s very common, especially in non‑profits and museums. We’ve been able to collaborate and use other departments to get a lot of things done. That’s what I look at. That’s been successful here for us.

Henrik:  [11:14] Thanks, Jennifer.

Jennifer:  [11:15] Thanks.

Henrik:  [11:16] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to anotherdamblog.com. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at AnotherDAMblog@Gmail.com. For this and 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to anotherdampodcast.com. 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 anotherdamblog.com. Another DAM Podcast is available on iTunes and AudioBoo. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at anotherdamblog@gmail.com. Thanks again.


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Another DAM podcast interview with Jeff Sedlik

Another DAM podcast interview with Jeff Sedlik | Listen

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • The PLUS registry was recently announced. How can DAM professionals can become involved in the Registry project?
  • How can DAM solution providers can leverage the Registry for their customers?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to be DAM professionals?


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Another DAM podcast interview with Tracy Guza

Another DAM podcast interview with Tracy Guza | Listen

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • What are the biggest challenges for dealing with creative assets in a DAM system?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?

Full Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor: [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Tracy Guza. Tracy,
how are you?
Tracy Guza: [0:11] I’m very good. How are you?
Henrik: [0:12] Good. Tracy, how are you involved with Digital Asset
Management?
Tracy: [0:16] Currently I work at Corbis. Corbis Images is a stock photo and
various other creative types of format company, and I am part of a small internal
team in editorial photography that creates custom content for a client of ours. I
manage their Digital Asset Management system.
Henrik: [0:41] What are the biggest challenges for dealing with creative assets
in a Digital Asset Management system?
Tracy: [0:45] Well, currently my challenges are somewhat different than previously.
I have worked in Digital Asset Management for some time at a variety
of advertising agencies. I’m pretty used to creative users and how they search.
One of the things I’ve found, over the years, is that the way that a library or
information professional might consider keywording items is not necessarily
the way that an art director or a designer would search for the items. [1:20] It’s
really helpful, as in any case, to do some kind of user analysis to figure out and
to know your clientele, to figure out how your user base is searching for things.
And how to intuitively keyword things and create a vocabulary that’s tailored to
the users, more so than a 100 percent kosher library science management thesaurus
or vocabulary. While structure is lovely and consistency is great and one
of the reasons that a vocabulary is important, that vocabulary can be flexible
and it can be tailored to your users.
[1:57] One of the other huge issues that comes up a lot in creative agencies
is the licensing and rights associated with different creative assets. Whether
they’re images, video clips or audio clips. Usually, especially with stock images,
when an image is purchased, it is purchased for a particular usage if it’s a rights
managed image. That usage can be very specific. It can be something as specific
as, “We’re buying this image once, for three months, for 10 publications in
North America, with a print run up to a million.”
[2:34] If that is not communicated jointly, with the asset, in a way that users can
see and notice, there can be some legal ramifications and infringement can
occur. One of the things that’s important is to look at whatever DAM system is
being used and figure out how you can best flag images or assets that have particular
restrictions. Is there a way to create permissions only for certain users?
[3:04] Is there a way to create an HTML popup that wants people that, “Hey, this
image has some particular restrictions to it. If you’re not using it for X, Y and Z,
you shouldn’t be using it.” Because generally, the users, especially in a creative
agency, aren’t legal professionals. Nor do they have regular access to legal
professionals. But they can get a company in a lot of trouble by using things that
they’re not supposed to use.
[3:35] Often times, especially in the stock industry, the fees for infringing on use
or using something that you haven’t licensed properly, are much higher than
the costs for just licensing the image properly and using it correctly. That’s a
big thing.
Henrik: [3:52] So rights management and permissions management, as far
as licensing and permissions for the use of any asset. That’s a very key thing
to reduce liability as much as possible, as far as appropriate use of assets.
Great point.
Tracy: [4:07] Yes. And what can be challenging is not only educating the users
that licensing restrictions exist. But also helping them, by using the system to
the best of your ability to make it easy for them to discover what the rights are
that are associated with the asset. It shouldn’t be hidden in 64 metadata fields.
It should be easy for them to find out.
Henrik: [4:30] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Tracy: [4:34] It’s interesting. The way that I got into this, originally, was working
at a particular advertising agency. I was doing a lot of project management and
production kinds of things. I was very familiar with the clients and with the workflow
in creative services. So I was asked to do, as a consultant, a freelance project
to organize all of the client assets at the agency. At that time, the workflow
was changing. [5:04] It was right when you were able to buy like four terabytes of
storage really cheap. Suddenly, everybody could use super huge, high-resolution
images.
[5:24] So we had literally file cabinets full of CDs. This is how crazy it was.
Where those images were the high-resolution images that corresponded to the
low-resolution images on the server. No one [laughs] had any way to match anything
up or find anything.
[5:42] So the company purchased a very basic DAM product, and I was asked
to actually put everything in there for the first time. It changed our workflow. It
changed how people needed to use things. I realized at the time, this was about
six or seven years ago, how much I still needed to know.
[6:03] I created a vocabulary on the fly and realized that I needed to know a lot
more about metadata and tried to figure out ways to customize the search fields
and so forth so that we could get a prompt when an image license was about
to expire and stuff like that. I was a little over my head, so what I did was I went
back to library [laughs] school.
[6:27] I got an MLIS , and I found that that program really helped to fill out for me
all of my questions about different kinds of technology, backend database programming
stuff as well as the very basics of SRS [?] vocabulary development and
a lot about metadata. So my advice is not only to network, which is a wonderful
thing, but also to figure out what kind of additional education you may need.
[6:57] There’s something to be said for being in an organization and realizing
that maybe you have the aptitude to organize their assets. There’s another thing
to be said for making sure that you actually can back that up a little bit with
some tangible courses, workshops, or whatever form they take. It really helped
me to formalize the way that I think about how I work on DAM now.
[7:24] That’s my advice, and it seems to be a very much growing field as the
amount of digital assets grows. Certainly companies finally realize the value in
retrieval and the cost effectiveness of allowing people self-service access to
DAM systems. There’s more and more of a need for DAM professionals.
Henrik: [7:43] Very true. Did you want to share your blog with the audience
as well?
Tracy: [7:48] Oh, I would love to. It’s modlibrarian.posterous.com.
Henrik: [7:55] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics log
onto AnotherDAMblog.com. Another DAM Podcast is available on Audioboo,
Blubrry, iTunes and the Tech Podcast Network. Thanks again.

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