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Another DAM Podcast interview with Brooke Holt on Digital Asset Management

Brooke Holt discusses 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 Brooke Holt. Brooke, how are you?

Brooke Holt:  [0:08] Good.

Henrik:  [0:09] Brooke, how are you involved in Digital Asset Management?

DAM is a large part of my daily work. I’m a one woman DAM team.

Brooke:  [0:11] DAM is a large part of my daily work. I’m a one woman DAM team. Our system, which we call SEAL, houses photos, videos, logos, marketing collateral, and all the typical files you would expect to see.

[0:24] I’m the only team member with DAM responsibility and we have employees all over the country, so I spend a lot of time training them, serving them, maintaining the health of the system.

[0:35] I created the taxonomy metadata fields, standards, workflow, user communication, and overall aesthetics of the system. I also have a number of non‑DAM responsibilities, but they are not as fun.

Henrik:  [0:46] Can I ask what SEAL stands for?

Brooke:  [0:47] It stands for SeaWorld Entertainment Asset Library.

Henrik:  [0:50] Brooke, how does a chain of marine mammal parks, oceanariums, and animal theme parks use Digital Asset Management?

Brooke:  [0:58] We use our system in three major ways. One is an archive. Our company is fifty years old. We have a lot of physical and digital assets. So there’s an archive area of our DAM, where we can store files that have historical value but don’t need to be accessed regularly.

[1:13] As a sharing portal. We have teams and partners all over the world. It’s vital to have a central depository in which new logos or key visuals can be stored by anyone with the appropriate permission level.

[1:25] Some of our events are held simultaneously at three different parks, so putting them in SEAL allows us to have one place. It cuts down on sending large emails or worrying about who may or may not have the most recent version of a file.

[1:38] We have two children’s education television shows that air on TV. Each week there’s a new batch of promotional assets for those and I can easily put them in SEAL and get them out to all the various people that need them. They can continue accessing them.

[1:52] The third way is as a development tool. This is kind of new for us. We use it for storage and sharing hub for projects that are under development. So in this scenario a very limited number of users have access to the files as they develop maybe a new show or attraction.

[2:09] It’s unlike the rest of the system which is really final files. It allows us to be able to share things with partners and vendors in a more secure area than just using Dropbox or any file sharing system.

Henrik:  [2:21] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Brooke:  [2:27] For me, the biggest challenges are overcoming bad user and past user experiences. I overhauled a DAM system that previously didn’t have standards, an accurate taxonomy, or modern features. Any user that had previously encountered difficulty with the system was hesitant to give it a second try.

[2:45] Another challenge I have is what to keep and what to delete. Everything does not belong in there. It’s tough to balance what should be ingested. Do we want all B‑roll, do we want all of our RAW files, do we not, and how long do we keep these active before we move them into archive? Those types of things.

[3:01] Lingo is a challenge for me. We have teams that fall within the zoological field, entertainment, sales, legal, and a number of other ones. They all use different terminology for things. A good example is that someone in the veterinary field might come looking for a manatee calf, but everyone else that uses the system is going to call it a baby manatee.

[3:26] Making sure that I’m accommodating all those options. We have a lot of internal abbreviations for our Halloween event, Howl‑O‑Scream. Are people going to search for Howl‑O‑Scream or they going to search for HOS and not find anything?

[3:39] Then some of the big successes that I’ve seen are empowering people to do their job. When a user is able to get what they need without asking anybody else for help, that’s a huge success for both of us.

[3:51] Also security, so without DAM, you know we have very little security. People can have assets wherever they want and we have no way to monitor what’s happening. We have a EULA in place for non‑users who receive files from the system to just agree to our terms and conditions.

[4:08] We can track anyone who has shared a file, downloaded a file. I can immediately replace things that are outdated. I can get very granular with the controls over somebody who can see something, versus someone else may be able to download that or of those types of things, so improving security.

[4:23] Also culture change over my last year and a half there, I’ve created a DAM culture that has gone from basically, “Like ugh, I hate this thing”, “I can never find anything”, “This is the worse”, to more like, “This is so much easier to use, oh my gosh, it made a PNG for me”.

[4:40] “So and so should be using this” or “The rest of my team should be using it.” This is still a work in progress. I certainly don’t hear these things every day. Culture change is a big success for me.

Henrik:  [4:54] I don’t think any DAM Manager hears wild reviews every single day.

Brooke:  [4:58] Yeah.

Henrik:  [4:58] No worries.

Brooke:  [4:59] I’ll take one every six months.

Henrik:  [5:00] That’s fair. What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people who inspire to become DAM professionals?

Brooke:  [5:07] I would say DAM is awesome. I’ve been working in this field for about ten years and a variety of industries. I do not have a library degree or an IT degree. I have a degree in Spanish and a Masters in Linguistics.

[5:19] The beauty of that is that you can have any type of education background, basically. The field is a good combination of many things. My passion is photography, helping people, teaching, art, grammar, I love arguing about commas, organizing language, and then technology.

[5:37] Still working with people and also working with technology. I fell into this field I think a lot of people at this point have just kind of fallen into it, but it’s growing a lot. One of the things that I would like to see professionally would be more standardization, DAM job titles, and departments.

[5:57] It’s really hard to find positions because they might be called content manager, creative services, a librarian, a systems engineer. It can fall under a variety of departments, so maybe it’s IT, a business department, or marketing. The reality is that any major company is getting more and more digital assets, so there’s great job security in this field.

[6:20] I would recommend anybody looking for a DAM job, to just apply. There are not a lot of people that have tons of DAM experience. There are so many facets that if you have experience helping people, organizing files, using a CMS system, or manipulating digital files, that might be good enough.

[6:39] A lot of people just fall into this DAM jobs. I say it’s important to enjoy working with a variety of people, being able to listen to people, having attention to detail, and be passionate about technology and creativity.

Henrik:  [6:55] Thanks Brooke.

Brooke:  [6:56] You’re welcome.

Henrik:  [6:58] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to If you have any comments or questions please feel free email me at

[7:09] For this and 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to

[7:17] Thanks again.


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Another DAM Podcast interview with Megan Re on Digital Asset Management

Megan Re discusses Digital Asset Management



Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management
  • How does an organization focused on food use Digital Asset Management?
  • What are the biggest challenges and successes you have seen with DAM?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?


Henrik de Gyor: [0:08] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I am Henrik de Gyor. Today I am speaking with Megan Re.
Megan, how are you?
Megan Re: [0:10] I am good. How are you?
Henrik: [0:13] Good. Megan, how are you involved with Digital Asset
Megan: [0:37] I am involved with Digital Asset Management. I oversee the photography
for Food Network and Cooking Channel brand, and my position overlaps
the creative, the production and the asset management of photography. I
came to Food Network to redevelop and build a working photo team. With that,
I had to get my hands wet in all of the areas. [1:00] Coming from a background
with a BFA in photography, I understand what’s happening with a photographer’s
thinking, what is happening with digital techs’ thinking, an editor and
creatives. With that, we come down and we are working with our photography,
with our assets, with our DAM system, with organization and getting images out
to everyone’s needs ASAP.
Henrik: [1:04] How does an organization focused on food use Digital Asset
Megan: [1:16] We need it drastically. Without it, we would be lost. A company
as large as ours, we have thousands and thousands of photos. We are actually
turning 20 this year.
Henrik: [1:17] Congratulations.
Megan: [1:43] Thank you. That means we have 20 years of photography. We
have them in slide form, transparency form, and most currently over the past
10plus years, digital form. That also encompasses not only food and recipe
photos, but we have talent. I mean, our chefs, we have so much talent happening.
We have production stills happening for every show, we have events, cookbooks,
branding it goes way beyond the food and recipes. [2:09] You are talking
about hundreds and thousands of images, and with that, many internal teams,
because we are a brand. We have a marketing team, a press team, our new
business team, an international team, which is many, many countries. We have
to make sure that everyone is self-sufficient in getting images at a quick pace,
because all of our internal teams need them drastically soon.
[2:27] They need to download photos and view the photos. We need to make
sure that there are all descriptions at your fingertips, so you know all of the
details. And make sure that my photo team is savvy. Aside from that we need a
DAM, my photo team needs to be savvy and aware of the brand’s needs.
[2:51] Aware of the workflow, the process, the metadata and establish workflows
from the start, so we can work with our DAM. With our DAM, we have a DAM
that has been with our company for a long time. Aside from that, there are other
tools and other workflows before images get into the DAM that we need. All of
these thousands of images have to somehow get in there.
Henrik: [2:55] What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset
Megan: [3:23] One of my favorite questions. Challenges, at least for us, and I
think it goes for many people, is introducing a new system, the need of a workflow.
If there is not a workflow, how crucial that is from the start of a shoot. Then
too, your asset management. There is always going to be a workflow for our
internal teams and our photographers. [3:42] For us, coming here, a huge challenge
was just getting our internal teams, because this was a new department
forming who has been working with photos for years, is what is our workflow
and getting them to trust us. Our photographers, some who had been shooting
for a while with us, getting them to understand, now we are going to be asking
for new needs.
[4:05] Such as, let’s add some metadata, let’s add the copyright, let’s add the
year establishing what our metadata needs were. That was a really big challenge,
because you are starting from scratch. So what do we need internally as a
company, and what we need internally for our DAM system? Every DAM system
is different, every DAM system has different needs, so that was a big challenge.
[4:32] Basically pulling in new systems to offset the frustrations that naturally
come with a DAM system. Every DAM is unique. Some are loved, some are not
loved. They all have their issues and we just find a way to work with them and
around them in finding support. We had a DAM system, as I mentioned already,
established in our companies. It was just instilling some new processes that
were going to make it easier in training.
[4:56] Also, what do we do with the old photos? The photos that are not yet in
the system that need to get in the system, or photos that can’t get in the system
because they are so old. So, what is another way that we can asset manage
these photos? We had a huge-which we are just finishing now-two bookshelves
worth of binders and CDs from 10plus years ago. Massive.
[5:18] Successes…Simplifying the workflow. I feel like I always work in numbers
of three, so I came down to three simple systems that we needed, including our
DAM. We instilled a workflow program that we use Global Edit that we love. It
helps with our selects, our instant viewing, our approvals and our markups.
[5:35] From there, we then work with our internal servers. We have two main
servers that work for us that back up everything, and then of course, our DAM.
That is the goto place at the end where everyone is self-sufficient; can go on
and download stuff immediately at different file sizes and it organizes.
[5:53] As we all know, once images are in the DAM, it is very hard to get them
out or to get them reorganized again. So, we have to go to that system. Very
well-organized and put together. Another success was the trust in my photo
staff, knowing that they are going to work hand-in-hand on all elements.
[6:07] We are a smaller team, unlike some other companies who have a very big
asset management team and then a photo production team, my staff works
hand-in-hand with everything. We understand from the start of the job to what
has to happen at the end.
[6:30] My producers are producing to the shooters all of the details that are
ready, and when it comes back in, my asset editors can take the rest and roll.
[Another] success was organization and speed. As we know, everything needs
to happen fast. Everyone wants it now. Downloads need to happen yesterday
when they are needed today. So that was a huge plus.
Henrik: [6:34] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to be DAM professionals?
Megan: [6:55] Some of the advice I would say is to be prepared for challenges.
Take time to assess the project, the overall project or the company you are
going to be
working with. Problem-solve and understand the end goals. If you
do not have the backbone instilled from the beginning, it is going to be challenging.
You are going to be constantly reworking your system and your problems.
[7:08] A DAM of some sort is needed for every company, even a photographer
in their archive to a small or large company. You need to figure out how
it is going to work best. Take the time at the beginning to understand what the
end goal is going to be.
[7:30] A big plus, I would say, is understanding copyright law and usage terms.
I can’t tell you how important that is, because that is really a big goal of somebody
who is going to asset manage, is understanding how something can be
used, to what term. The minute it is let go, it is going to be seen on social media
sites. These days, anywhere, anyhow, at any media, you will be seeing it.
[7:43] Someone who is detail oriented. If you are detail oriented, you are probably
the best person to be in this field working with assets, and aware of technology
change. Within a year or six months, there are changes out there for
every program.
[8:01] If you are managing a very particular DAM, keep on top of what the new
changes are going to be, the new rollouts. If you are having some issues with
that and you need help with a workflow, keeping on top of what other tools are
available to you to assist and to complement your current workflow.
[8:21] It is not a problem to bring something else in if it is going to help you, especially
when you are low on staff and you need to work quickly. That is exactly
why we pulled in some other platforms, like GlobalEdit for the speed. That
took care of a lot of time. There are many other programs and workflows out
there that will help you to get your images into a DAM.
Henrik: [8:24] Excellent. Thanks, Megan.
Megan: [8:26] Thank you.
Henrik: [8:34] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log
on to Another DAM Podcast is available on Audioboom
and iTunes. Thanks again.


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Need a Digital Asset Management Consultant?

Another DAM Consultancy can help. Contact us today.