Tony Gill discusses Digital Asset Management
Here are the questions asked:
- How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
- What challenges do you face using Digital Asset Management within a marketing organization?
- What advice would you like to give to DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?
Henrik de Gyor: [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Tony Gill. Tony,
how are you?
Tony Gill: [0:10] I’m good. Thanks Henrik. How are you?
Henrik: [0:12] Good. How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Tony: [0:15] My job title is Global Director of Library Science and Information
Management. I work for an advertising agency that is part of one of the large
global advertising conglomerates. [0:28] We have a single client which is a very
large technology company. My role is theoretic quite general.
[0:35] In practice, I spend the vast bulk of my time running a large multi server
Digital Asset Management System that’s shared between us, our client, and
about a dozen of our sibling agencies within the same conglomerate, all working
on the same account.
[0:53] After defining the initial information architecture for the system such as the
metadata schemer and the control vocabularies, the folder hierarchy that we use
for storing the assets, asset ingest and work flow procedures.
[1:10] I now manage a team, a small team of Digital Asset Librarians who perform
the day-to-day act of managing the flow of assets throughout the system and
throughout their life cycle.
Henrik: [1:20] Great. Tony, what challenges do you face using Digital Asset
Management with a marketing organization?
Tony: [1:26] The challenges are many and varied. One of the biggest challenges
we face is just the sheer volume of assets coming into the system all the time
from a wide variety of different sources both from within our agency groups and
also from the client and from beyond. [1:43] We do have fairly well established
asset ingest procedures that require metadata to be provided with the assets.
But because there are always new users and new communities wanting to
upload assets to the system, it means there’s a constant need to keep training
people and keep bringing them up to speed on the ingest procedures. That’s
[2:05] Another factor of my job is that we have a very demanding client and
often times they will make requests to have assets organized for their particular
[2:18] Often, it’s down to me to say politely but firmly that we can’t do that because
the system has to meet the needs of a very, very broad user community.
We have something like 3,500 users on the system globally, at the moment.
[2:31] We can’t just reorganize areas of it for one group, or one individual’s requirements.
Sometimes I have to be able to politely and tactfully say, “No,” and
explain why we can’t change the structure of the system for individual user’s
needs because of the whole broad range of different user needs.
[2:55] Obviously, rights management is a perennial problem in this field. We have
to make sure we have detailed usage right information for anything where the
usage rights are not just straight forward global unlimited usage rights.
[3:13] Communicating that to people that are uploading assets is also sometimes
challenging because sometimes they haven’t even considered the usage rights.
[3:23] You have to end up doing a little mini tutorial about copyright and usage
rights and explaining why, as the publisher effectively of these assets, if we
publish them and we don’t have the correct usage rights, then we’re effectively
liable for copyright infringement even though we may have had no part in acquiring
these assets in the first place. Of course, that’s also a challenge.
[3:47] Then, the general symptom of working in the advertising industry is that
deadlines are always very short and often missed. People tend to wait until the
last minute and tend to get very anxious when we say that things are published
in a timely fashion.
[4:08] They often leave things to the last thing on a Friday night before they
upload them. We often find ourselves scrambling at the last minute to get the
stuff posted that’s urgently needed by teams all around the world right at the
Henrik: [4:21] Sounds like a bunch of challenges there.
Tony: [4:23] Yeah.
Henrik: [4:27] What advice would you like to give DAM professionals or people
aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Tony: [4:33] From my part, if you want to come work on my team, you will need
a Library Science degree. That’s a graduate degree in Library and Information
Science. That’s a really good grounding in the kind of disciplines that are very
good in the Digital Assets Management field. [4:51] It teaches you the importance
of information architecture and information management. It teaches you
to be rigorous and to follow standards. It also teaches you an observance for
finickiness and attention to detail.
[5:05] In the job description that I wrote recently for the Digital Asset Librarians, I
said, “An almost obsessive attention to detail would be a useful attribute in any
of the successful candidates.”
[5:20] I tend to find that there are certain people that are drawn to the librarianship
role, and they also make very good digital managers. Those are the main
things that I can think of just off the top of my head.
Henrik: [5:31] Great. Thank you, Tony.
Tony: [5:33] You’re very welcome, Henrik. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.
Henrik: [5:36] Any time. For more on Digital Asset Management, log on to
anotherdamblog.com. Thanks again.
- Another DAM podcast interview with Chad Beer (anotherdampodcast.com)
- Another DAM podcast interview with Leala Abbott (anotherdampodcast.com)