Listen to Anne Graham discusses Digital Asset Management
Henrik: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Anne Graham. Anne, how are you?
Anne: Great, how are you?
Henrik: Great. Anne, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Anne: So I actually work for Turner Sports. I came from an archival background. I worked for a public university in Georgia and I was a digital archivist there for eight years before moving to Turner Sports. So I’ve worked in academic institutions and I’ve also worked in corporate archives before. So here at Turner, I am managing digital assets, specifically our media assets, so this would be audio and video recording of sporting events.
Anne: So I manage the media in two different ways. I manage the digital media feeds that come in remotely from the trucks. At remote sport events, we actually have trucks and they bring in the actual video recordings that are going on and those get sent to our site from the remote site. And I also manage a physical tape assets which are kind of legacy assets that we have on site and kind of what that entails is I develop and enforce retention periods. I create and maintain data models and metadata schemes with our stakeholders and users. I develop a controlled vocabulary and a document the relationships between those terms with a variety of stakeholders and partners. So basically, we’re working on creating an ontology as well as just control vocabulary. And we do a lot of reaching out to stakeholders just to survey content to make sure that it’s being managed properly. So it might not be something that’s coming into our MAM or our media asset management system. It might be something that’s being managed in C2. So C2 just means that people are managing their media in place. So it would be the actual content creators are managing it in their area instead of moving it to our centralized MAM system. But I just want to make sure that we provide recommendations for them as to how to preserve it and how to organize and describe it.
Anne: And then, I also control the movement of content between users and partners. So we get a lot of content from our media partners like NBA, PGA, NCAA, MLB. So we’re basically transferring that content into and out of our MAM system. And then on top of all of that, we take care of reference requests for our users.
Henrik: Anne, how does a sports broadcaster use Digital Asset Management?
Anne: Something that’s a little bit different about the sports library at Turner is that we started out as a tape library and we have moved obviously to managing digital media so there’s still some remnants of our old workflows that were in the process of updating, but basically feeds come in from satellite or fiber from the sports venues and those are fed through the trucks which we discussed. And sometimes those also have digital or social media content and engineers in the trucks as well.
Anne: So sports broadcasting, we manage access to the content that follows the contractual obligations with content owners, both long-term and short-term access and preservation to those. Meaning that each of these properties are major properties are actually partnerships. We have partnerships with NBA, MLB, PGA, and NCAA. That content doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to them. We fulfill the contractual obligations with those partners concerning access and preservation. We also manage access to content produced by Turner that can be current production or legacy. For instance, the current productions we’re doing or Eleague, which is our eSports property, but we also have legacy media, like Goodwill Games that went on from 1986 to 2002. Then we also transport media to and from remote sites, so that would be the media that’s coming from the trucks, but we also send media out to the trucks to be used on site.
Anne: We add metadata and aid search and retrieval and we document the provenance and we are trying to automate our workflows as much as possible. We match game logs, so games are actually logged when they’re going on for actions and players. We’ve matched us with the content. Our content, basically are airchecks, melts, and clips. So an air check would be an off-air broadcast. It’s what you would actually see on television if you were watching a game. Melts are highlight reels basically, so you would see the most important actions from a game, but you’d see them from multiple angles and we call that clean footage because it doesn’t have any bugs in it, any graphics. Bugs are what the network identification is on the actual feed. And then clips. So we preserve and provide access to those [clips]. We also manage our content standards with partners so we actually have content standards that we follow and we need to make sure that content we receive from partners follows the standards. And then we collect media and distributed to users so that can be inside our MAM for users inside and external users, especially we get requests from talent who want copies of their appearances. So that’s basically it.
Henrik: Anne, what are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?
Anne: So what I like to talk about our challenges and opportunities instead of successes because I kind of see opportunities as potential successes and I think it gives you a little bit more of a win for it. So I think some of the biggest challenges with Digital Asset Management right now, and I think this is universal, is funding. We’re always looking for funding for positions, for digitizing legacy media and just for Dev[elopment] work for new systems that you’re bringing online. I’d also say a problem that we have here is just overcoming silos to find stakeholders and allies who might be across properties and also identifying content, I would say across the silos. We have staffing limitations, there’s a lot of complexity since we have rights managed by so many different contracts.
Anne: So trying to simplify that is always a challenge. And I’d say, again, this is probably something that everyone deals with is just the scale of content. We keep getting more and more content. It’s a higher and higher quality and I think everyone needs to understand that you can’t keep everything so you have to keep the stuff that’s really important where you can’t find it. And I would say another challenge we have is just getting everyone else to kind of see the big picture for content management that it’s actually, it’s an overarching picture and it needs to be administered in a standard consistent and predictable way. It shouldn’t be ad hoc decisions that people are making. And so for opportunities, I would say what we’re doing now is trying to accurately model our data so it describes it the way that our users actually search for it and use it themselves.
Anne: And we want to extend that model. We’ve started with our highlights production and we want to extend it to other users like creative services. They actually look for different things. So their data model is slightly different. Whereas a highlights looks for the actual actions are players during a game. What a creative services is looking for is actually a fan reactions, colors, believe it or not, emotion. So just trying to get a handle on how they actually use that same data. And we wanted to extend our models to include that manage vocabulary thesaurus, and eventually in the ontologies so that we can really start to identify the relationships between those different terms. What we aspire to, I think is to have our users not only discover the content that they knew they wanted, but to find the stuff that they didn’t know they wanted. That’s my goal.
Anne: So we have a metadata schema and our model. We also want to have that accepted across sports properties. I’d like to have kind of one standard that we all use. And basically the biggest thing is documenting our policies and procedures. That’s a huge hurdle, but it makes things so much easier for administration.
Henrik: Anne, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Anne: So I’ve heard lots of your guests recommending networking and I think that’s hugely important, but my advice is going to be to study across disciplines because if you’re managing content, you’re basically the advocate for that content. And in order to do that well, you need to be able to translate your needs between multiple areas. You need to be able to translate business needs to your IT support and you need to be able to to promote production needs to business and technology.
Anne: Everybody needs to understand what is best for the content and how to get there. So the areas that I would suggest studying would be archival science because that’s my background and it really helps you in terms of just thinking about collections instead of individual items about original order. So how things were organically created, the provenance, where things came from, and how to really describe things in terms of how your users look for things. And the most important skill I think you get from that is appraisal, which is deciding what you keep and what you don’t keep. I’d also suggest studying digital preservation. I think everyone should be familiar with the OAIS model and they should know the trustworthy repository audit and certification, which is now ISO standard 16363, the trusted digital repository checklist. It helps you to ensure that your users have confidence that the content is what you say it is, and I would also suggest doing some reading and records management.
Anne: It’s related to archival science, but it’s really about how to organize and manage your records as you’re creating them. So it will help you with lifecycle management. It’ll help you with creating retention periods and it really helps you to gather customer requirements by interviewing and observation and just doing research. I would also suggest studying technology so IT or I studied information systems [IS]. It’s been tremendously helpful in just understanding the lifecycle management not only of your assets, but if your systems. You’re never going to put one system in place and it’s going to be there forever. Those things change over probably a five to seven year development cycle, so as soon as you get your new system in place, you’re already looking for the next one. And studying IS really helped me with understanding software development cycle, how to actually write project requirements, basic project management and really thinking about getting your content out of the system from the very beginning of the project. It shouldn’t be something that you think about later. You need to think about that immediately and the last thing that I would suggest is studying business because my IS program was actually within the college of business and it was just invaluable for teaching me how to put together a funding proposal, how to make a business case for something, how to do presentations, which sounds very basic, but we think we’ve all seen some truly terrible presentations and if you can get your point across in a very efficient manner, people really appreciate it and it also really helps with just how to negotiate, so whether it’s negotiating with your users or your tech support professionals or even vendors. I think that’s just a hugely important skill.
Henrik: Great. Well, thanks Anne.
Anne: Thank you.
Henrik: For more on this, visit anotherdampodcast.com for over 200 episodes including transcripts. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again.
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