Listen to Patty Bolgiano, John Cronin and Becky Clark talk about 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 Patty Bolgiano, John Cronin, and Becky Clark. How are you?
Patty Bolgiano: [0:12] We’re all doing fine, thank you.
Henrik: [0:13] How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Patty: [0:16] I am the person who’s responsible for uploading our data files into a data collection and management system. I do naming conventions. I make sure that the files have fonts, have images, decide which method is going to be the quickest way to upload those.
[0:36] Primarily, we are using Quark and InDesign as our software programs here. I’m making sure that they’re current versions and alarming staff if there’s a problem.
[0:46] I’m also responsible for revising and updating our paper book editions of our titles with reprints, there’s an actual change in the book itself, text maybe changed, images maybe changed. It’s my responsibility to make sure that the application file and the PDF that eventually goes to make the eBook are exactly the same, and make sure that there are no problems when they are eventually turned into eBooks.
[1:17] I’m also working with the other members of the staff to get images and PDFs that they need for review or for overseas publications, which means the files have to be there. I either transfer them via FTP to that other person’s FTP site or will even burn them on discs or external hard drive so that they have material.
Henrik: [1:40] Patty, how does the oldest, continuous running university press in the United States use Digital Asset Management?
Patty: [1:47] We use it in a variety of ways. First and foremost, it is a repository of our intellectual property. A place where the files reside so that at anytime if we wish to reprint, restock or pull information from these files, we can do so in an efficient and easy manner. We also use the archive as a place where it can be safely stored.
[2:10] The sheer amount of information that Hopkins Press has is extraordinary. Now, we are getting it, it is at our actual fingertips instead of looking through very old books or very old files. That information that we have at our fingertips can tell us how we thought previously, via social sciences and things of that nature to current thoughts about the fossils of birds.
[2:40] We are aggregating all these information, keeping it a level where anybody within the Hopkins Press can access it for interior needs, or to publish or promote a book outside of the press. It’s also part of our heritage, this whole Data Asset Management philosophy. Our heritage is that we are constantly thinking and writing, and exploring about various topics.
[3:08] We are pulling both from the past and the present to show potential audiences how we used to think, how we’re thinking now, what new information has come aboard so that we can show a progression of understanding about topics.
[3:25] This also helps us talk with authors who say, “I have all these vast information, how can I get it into a book and get the most bang for the book?” By having an asset management system in place, we can then make multiple books, if necessary.
[3:42] We can have a Volume I, a Volume II, a Volume III, or we can do some books as a traditional print, some books as strictly as eBooks or a PDF format, so that the reader can have a variety of options of accessing this information.
[4:05] I was the first person originally hired to start managing the information that we had gathered and to coordinate it. It’s been seven years.
[4:13] It’s amazing to me, how people will ask for something that is 30 and 40 years old, and they want that. That to me is astounding because I’m here in the press, and I’m thinking, “What does something 30 or 40 years ago have, that that person wants it?” It could be something that they’re going to use for their thesis.
[4:36] By having this Digital Asset Management System in place, we can better help them. It’s been seven years, it’s worked really incredibly well. We have been able to work far more easily, and have various departments being able to access this information without having to jump through various loops, which is always a good thing.
[5:02] Approximately 2,000 books right now with our system, which is codeMantra. Today, we’re just putting up more books, so it’s constantly growing. It’s also constantly evolving because we also can take from the print books and make our eBooks.
[5:20] We’re getting more into eBooks with MP3s in them, so that the reader can actually be right there and see something that takes the book to another level, and takes the topic to another level.
John Cronin: [5:35] I came here about eight years ago, and that was really one of the first tasks that we had to do, was to get our archive pulled together, find an outside vendor who can handle the vast amounts of information. We were able to do that, and Patty was really the first hire, and this is really still the focus of her job. It’s very detail‑oriented, very critical to the press.
[6:00] Certainly, we do eBooks for every single title that we have so that all of those things are archived in the conversion process which is also something that is done within my department of design and production. We’re really looking at electronically imprint together, and certainly our copies have been invaluable. We had to set that up before we could really expand from these ways, which are very market‑driven.
Henrik: [6:24] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Patty: [6:28] The biggest challenge is keeping current titles up to date. In the book world, when you do a reprint, there are changes to the text of that book. Again, as I said earlier, it’s my responsibility to make sure that everything matches with the most up to date version which is available.
[6:44] So, shall we decide not only to reprint it, we have the current files. Also, the eBook when it gets updated, has the current files. Then if we decide to then take that book, and make a whole new version of the book, maybe it brings together books about science and evolution, being able to grab all those different kinds to files and put them together in one book.
[7:10] Having the most current file is always the most important thing. The biggest success is that previous to my coming here, there was no archive, and it was because of a variety of reasons. No one, seven years ago, imagined that all these information that they have will become valuable.
[7:27] They knew in one sense that a book is always a valuable thing, but what they didn’t understand is that you have to be able to access that book in a multitude of ways, and being in that, we were able to go ahead and access that information and give it to them.
Becky Clark: [7:46] We really could not scale our eBook program until we had a Digital Asset Management program in place. We couldn’t find our assets plus get them converted to eBooks, and do it in a way that was efficient. We realized that the only way we will be able to scale our eBook program is by putting together a robust and well managed Digital Asset Management System.
Henrik: [8:09] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Patty: [8:14] First, I would recommend that you understand that you can come from print to Web easy. It is more difficult to go from the Web to print because the technology that each is required is unique for that particular type of product.
[8:28] Other things that I think you ought to know, you should understand the formats such as what is an MP3, a PDF, a JPEG, TIFF, a software that’s associated with photography, film, printing, how those formats can change, and how you can keep them from being corrupted. You need to understand that technology is new and evolving.
[8:54] While you have to adapt to the technologies, business is key and always adapt as quickly as you would like them, because they will have marketing departments and other departments that feed into this overall picture.
[9:07] It can take businesses a little bit longer to actually make the changes, and it’s just the way the businesses are. Other things I would say is look into library sciences, information systems. A couple of colleges are now starting to offer digital preservation classes, online and in person. Always having good people skills, and working with people on a day‑to‑day basis.
[9:35] Understanding that sometimes there are things, there are projects, their initiatives are immediate, and you’re going to have to stop and help them, and work them through the program. When it comes to a problem, and there are going to be problems when you setup your asset management.
[9:50] Sometimes you need to step away for a day, or walk around the building, or just say it out loud to yourself, and you can pick up, maybe the flaw in your logic, or somebody else can say, “Oh, by the way, you forgot about this particular employee.” It’s going to be critical in getting your asset management up to speed.
[10:11] Just remember, it’s a constantly changing field. Everybody makes mistakes. Technologies changes. Formats change. Being very detailed‑oriented is really, really critical.
[10:24] I would recommend that you have a very broad outlook as to all the things that you’re going to play in when you get your archiving and your data management up and running.
John: [10:37] This is certainly a field that has, I think, a lot of employment potential with people who understand, and can come from a couple of different disciplines. There’s job right there, something that every company needs in some way, there’s library, so to speak, an archive in every company, I would think.
Henrik: [10:57] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to AnotherDAMblog.com. For this and 170 other podcasts episodes, go to AnotherDAMpodcast.com. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[11:15] Thanks again.