Listen to Alex Hauschild talk about Digital Asset Management
Henrik: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Alex Hauschild. Alex, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Alex: I started out at UCSB Davidson Library working for Salvador Güereña. And he brought me on to do brochures and graphic arts and stuff for him and we hit it off up pretty good and during that time found out that a lot of my imaging experience from previous was what’s going to help him develop what was called a digital library at the time. And we did a couple of pilot projects and went from there and he encouraged me to get the… he tricked me into getting a library and information sciences degree and went from there. I ended up with the UCSB Art Museum doing architecture and design collections.
Worked with California digital library, developing some of their policy and content governance for the California Digital Library and Califas, which is basically a large multicultural archive online. And went from there. Around 2008, ended up going to…moved to Los Angeles, did a little trying to start my own publishing business for a while. They ended up with Motor Trend hot rod trying to save their archive and that was an amazing experience. And from there, just kept going through the entertainment industry, went to Dreamworks and from there Google.
Henrik: Alex, how does a multinational technology company use Digital Asset Management?
Alex: Well, that’s a crazy question. Basically, they use it in multiple different facets. There’s production pipelines. Might have heard the term creative value chains or creative value pipelines and these are basically the production from concept to final assets. And final assets actually can mean several different things. So they’re using Digital Asset Management all the way along the way and sometimes multiple case in multiple ways. They use it in project management and then they use it for distribution. I mean, the short answer is distribution in all cases. That’s what Digital Asset Management is all about. But depending on your user base, it depends on what that distribution is.
Henrik: Alex, What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Alex: That is a question that has two different parts. What are the challenges and successes for me and what are the challenges and successes in the field. For the field, I think what we’re seeing is more of a transition or more of a user-friendly attitude towards content management basically blends brand awareness and brand control with Digital Asset Management. We kind of transitioned into that from content management systems and just being…. seeing the potential for being able to distribute out to multiple users and multiple ways. Especially with… for the web or specifically for the web. For myself, it’s been a long road, so I’ve gone from creating digital library… Digital Asset Management systems before we had a term for them. I used to think of them as digital libraries and then kind of evolving with the industry as it transitioned into, I think basically going into distribution and then getting mixed with legal and I think maybe the challenges and obstacles we faced are now that we’re able to provide organized sets of assets on a massive scale, how can we protect the legal at that point and what kind of interaction with legal and licensing do we want to take? Or we the gatekeepers, are we the organizers? That’s really the fundamentals of the industry right now I think is can we transition as librarians, gatekeepers into a communicative role where we basically are helping users determine whether or not just where something is, but whether or not they can use it, so user control is a big deal now.
Henrik: Alex, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Alex: I mean, depending on which aspect of the industry they want to go in, there’s a big difference between academic and tech…technology fields where I’m at. I would get to know the marketing production, the process of it from content creation, which is at the producer level, at the project manager level and get to know how that works and how those assets are transferred from concept to creatives to postproduction. There’s so many tie-ins from asset producers who are creating images and handing them off multiple ways. Those handoffs become the critical mass for any assets, like who’s getting it, when they’re getting it and those are the timelines that you were working with. I think that those are really the things I would pay attention to if I was starting out. Now it’s can I get more involved in marketing and can I understand the marketing world because they’re the ones really creating these asset banks, really just get to know marketing agencies and how agencies work. It really becomes more of a people process when you understand why and when things are being made.
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.
Listen to Nancy Price talking about Digital Asset Management
Henrik de Gyor: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Nancy Price. Nancy, how are you?
Nancy Price: Great, Henrik, how are you?
Henrik de Gyor: Great. Nancy, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Nancy Price: Well Henrik, I kind of stumbled into Digital Asset Management after working as a cataloging librarian at an academic library. It’s actually pretty funny because when I started I really wasn’t very clear on what I’d be doing other than applying metadata, but it turns out that I really performed that day to day activities that make Digital Asset Management magic happen. So on any typical day, I would upload assets into the system. I applied descriptive metadata so the assets can be discovered by our corporate users. I manage the assets for different stages in their lifecycle. I developed system workflows for onboarding new types of asset. I version assets. I provide user assistance and customer service. I fulfill requests for asset location and delivery. I document system processes and communicate them to users. I develop training materials and provide system training and I work with IT to troubleshoot the system and for upgrades and a UAT testing. So I can typically have a pretty full day and I really liked the variety that might position offers, so I do really enjoy Digital Asset Management.
Henrik de Gyor: Nancy, how does is a premier brand for girls use Digital Asset Management?
Nancy Price: Well, I think we use Digital Asset Management and any other corporation in our industry would. We use it to organize and store digital assets such as images, videos, graphics, and those are all used to support the creation of our content and for our marketing purposes. I’m actually very fortunate that our company were pioneers in Digital Asset Management adopting the system in 2006. At that time, when I started I was charged with gathering assets off the departmental servers and ingest them into our new Digital Asset Management system. The 27,000 files I found on the servers had file names like hair or blue dress and then, there were a duplicate file of the thing image that had totally different file names. So I know for a fact that Digital Asset Management has improved our productivity here and it’s my opinion that a digital file is just that, a file, but once it is entered into a Digital Asset Management system and metadata is applied, it becomes an asset because I believe it’s the metadata that gives it value.
Nancy Price: For example, if you had a system with 400,000 assets, but you didn’t have any metadata, people wouldn’t use the system because they had to page through every asset, define what they need, which isn’t very efficient. So I really do believe that metadata provides the access points to discover the assets, whether it be by brand or category or a year. And it also allows that asset to be discovered for purposes other than for which it was intended. And that will increase the value of the asset. So there’s plenty of reasons to use Digital Asset Management today and I believe that we are using it in a very efficient manner as we use it for workflow and for versioning and for managing other aspects of the system. Like when assets need to be retired or for usage rights, so we use it in a variety of ways and it is been very productive for us.
Henrik de Gyor: Nancy, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Nancy Price: Well, I would say that some of the successes is that when we first went into Digital Asset Management, our system was more of just a repository for digital assets with rudimentary functionality and now it’s really grown into become quite the dynamic graphical database with the ability to search, display, transform, share, download, and link assets within the system. Some of the challenges that we face are integration with other systems. For example, the ability to push assets from your DAM into your content management system or the ability to link your assets in your DAM to Adobe Creative Suite products such as InDesign. We’ve also had some challenges with vendor’s proprietary software limiting our ability to automate certain processes. We also have problems with vendors not really offering some of the features that we would like, like versioning. We had to do customization on our and have the ability to version the assets. It wasn’t something that came with our system, so there are some challenges in features that we’d like to see and have not yet been developed yet.
Henrik de Gyor: What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals to become DAM professionals?
Nancy Price: Well, you know, I have such a unique background. I really do believe that my master’s degree in library science and experience with international bibliographic standards for description access gave me a really solid understanding of the theory behind information organization and management, but I do know that an MLS degree is not very feasible for a lot of people, so my suggestion would be to seek out a course or a workshop in metadata standards for digital collections and learn about the different international metadata standards such as Dublin Core or metadata object description such as mods. The Visual Resource Association Standard, which is the VRA. Library professionals have been developing these standards for decades and we can really learn from the effort that they’ve already expelled in this area. DAM professionals can learn a lot from the metadata standards that exist today. I would also like to offer one other piece of advice is when you get that first Digital Asset Management job, the first thing you should do is locate that one source of truth for accurate data. When I started over 10 years ago, that’s the first thing I did. It took months to find it, but I did end up finding the fountain of truth and that way I know that the information that I am entering into my system is accurate. It’s correct data, and it’s coming from a reliable source. If you don’t have correct metadata in your system, users will give up on it and it ended up compromising your system and its efficiency and how it’s used. So I really, I’m a big stickler for accuracy. I also think that consistency is vital to any Digital Asset Management system. Your metadata should be well documented along with the parameters around how it’s applied. So this maintains consistency on how you will apply metadata throughout the system and throughout the years, and that is extremely helpful and especially when you’re. You try to automate processes. Consistency is key.
Henrik de Gyor: Well, thanks Nancy. For more on this, visit anotherdampodcast.com for 200 other episodes like this. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. Thanks again.
Listen to Chris DiNenna talk about Digital Asset Management
Henrik: This is Another DAM podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Chris DiNenna. Chris, how are you?
Chris: I am doing well. How are you doing?
Henrik: Great. Chris, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Chris: I came into the orbit of Digital Asset Management through my work with photographers and with stock photography agencies. I began the career about 20 years ago as a photo researcher. Kind of morphed that into photo editing. And at the time about around the recession, that was when a lot of the companies were starting to scale back and that’s when I had to find a way to reinvent myself in this industry. I think some opportunities came up that involve Digital Asset Management and it was a good move for me to go into at that time.
Henrik: Chris, how does the world’s leading river cruise line company use Digital Asset Management?
Chris: The company has been growing incredibly quickly and they decided that instead of keeping all of their assets on internal servers, they needed to bring in someone to kind of manage the whole process of all the images coming in, all the maps, all the different logos that they’ve been storing in different folders here and there. And so I was hired to come in and kind of corral all of the image assets into one big database. When I was hired, they didn’t have a DAM in place, but when I came in they acquired an Adobe product and I worked with the developers to kind of customize this database to fit the needs of the company. And so I took about 70,000 images, maps, such and kind of gave everything I kind of a standard file name so that a lot of the assets would be searchable, included a lot of metadata just so that the images would be found when someone was searching for something such as like a German castle of sort. So the company uses the DAM right now basically with a lot of their digital products, with a lot of the print materials, the content that we use online on the websites. Everything is a lot easier to find for people in the company and it’s easy for me to kind of know where the assets are living at the time.
Henrik: Chris, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Chris: Well, I think the successes I’ve had with the DAM is that it’s more manageable. It’s easier to find. We have a lot of wholly owned content that we can share out with our third parties, with our travel agents here and there. But when it gets tricky is when we have the stock photography that we licensed from different agencies and a lot of the licenses aren’t applicable to a lot of projects that we do here and there. And so instead of having a lot of these images open for anyone and everyone to use, I’m kind of the gatekeeper. And so I kind of work with people to kind of get an idea of how they’re using the images, where the image is going to end up using, the end use of course. And then, I either agree to the terms of those people to use the image or I tell them to go back in and search for another asset so that asset can be used in their final context.
Chris: The biggest challenges I’ve had though with using the Digital Asset Management is that I’m kind of a one-man show. I’ve kind of worked with a lot of different IT folks within the company over the last three years. And that’s been the toughest challenge for me is they actually have someone who is very savvy with the tech talk, with knowing the bones and the meat of the whole database and working to help me kinda work out the bugs and the challenges of kind of building out the DAM so that everyone can use this. But also to kind of make sure that the machine is running, you know, without any issues. Keep it kind of streamline. When I was hired, I think I should have made sure that there was a tech person to kind of be there to kind of work in unison with, to kind of keep this program running without any issues.
Henrik: Chris, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Chris: That’s a great question. I’ve kind of haphazardly kind of ended up in this industry just through my expertise, working with photographers and with image licensing and rights representation. If people are really set on being archivists, being librarians, of course, it’s great to get the schooling behind that since this is like a brave new world where technology is kind of leading the forefront of imagery and how images are being used in the final context, but also experience also helps. And to find a company or a mentor to kind of help you along the way is something that I think people should learn to aspire for and kind of hunt out those people out there who have the experience, who have worked with either these databases or have worked with imagery just to kind of know of the pitfalls and the and success stories that are out there so that people can learn and grow from it and be able to kind of add more wealth into the DAM business.