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 de Gyor: [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I am Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Anne Lenehan. Anne how are you?
Anne Lenehan: [0:09] I’m very well, thank you Henrik.
Henrik: [0:11] Anne, how are you involved with digital asset management?
Anne: [0:14] At Elsevier, I’m currently the product owner for our digital asset management system, and I was also involved in creating the business case for the DAM we introduced into Elsevier, and ensure that not only through the business case but also through the implementation phase at Elsevier.
Henrik: [0:31] Anne, how does the provider of science and health information use digital asset management?
Anne: [0:35] It’s a great question, when you think about science or health information you don’t necessarily think about all of the types of rich media and video, and audio materials that are part of not only just the diagnosis part of medical information but also in the learning and also in the patient information. The way that we use digital assets at Elsevier is they’re part of every product that we produce, every book, every journal and every online product that we have has images, videos, audio files, Google maps files or map files.
[1:08] We have special 3D and interactive images, we have interactive questions and case studies, all of which have a lot of rich media as part and parcel of those content pieces. Those are all digital assets that we want to store and manage, and potentially recompile and re‑use in future products. It’s really at the core of our content information. It is as big of a part of our content flow as the text content has always been.
Henrik: [1:39] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with DAM?
Anne: [1:42] I think one of the most difficult thing with digital assets and how we manage them through a DAM, is really understanding the work flows that are involved in creating the assets, and how they can fit together in an end‑to‑end workflow for production pieces. I think that’s probably the biggest challenge.
[2:00] The way that we view creating, say images or videos, are viewed as very much separate work streams, where in fact, they are very frequently work stream that all flow together or workflows that flow together and are connected in a way. Actually having a DAM enables us to view those work streams and workflows in a much more continuous manner and help us to improve our processes for creating rich media assets that are then part of the DAM.
[2:30] I think this has been one of the biggest challenges that we’ve seen within my company but that’s also a common thing within other companies is that certain parts of the workflows are not always identified as having the potential to be part of working with the digital asset management system. It’s actually very good way to manage assets coming into the company from our author base.
[2:51] It’s a great way to manage distributing those assets for improvements or for transformation to our vendors. Digital asset management system is a very helpful way for us to review those assets, to view them in [Inaudible 3:03] and the way that they are going to be used in our content product. Also to distribute those assets down the road to our product platforms and also as part of our compiled objects, be they books or journals, online content, e‑books, whatever the output is.
[3:19] That’s a great success and it’s actually seeing how the DAM can be in content, but the biggest challenge is really helping people understand how those workflows fit together.
Henrik: [3:30] Anne, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Anne: [3:35] I think one of the most important things to understand is actually how the assets are used in a company, and what the importance of those assets are. This was a big change for us at Elsevier, we had always viewed rich media assets with somewhat secondary..or a secondary part of our content pieces.
[3:52] It was only really when we started to think about video assets and image assets, and all other kinds of rich media assets as being core and central to our content pieces that we started to really look at DAM as being a way to manage those content pieces.
[4:07] The one important thing for an aspiring DAM professional is to really understand the business that they are looking at, and what the content pieces are that go into it, and how those content pieces, be they, digital assets. How are they working together? What is the overall picture, and the overall view or the overall importance of digital assets to that company?
[4:27] As those assets become more important and as the record or the management or the potentially the re‑use becomes more important. That would be something very important to understand and to translate to, particularly to senior management, in supporting and funding origination of a DAM system.
[4:45] The other thing that I would really recommend for aspiring DAM professional is to understand a lot about metadata and taxonomy and how they work together to support the assets that you are creating, storing and managing in a digital asset management system. I can’t overemphasize this enough, but this was really a core part of our mature view of digital assets within Elsevier is that we had established a really good taxonomy.
[5:11] That we are using as part of a process we call Smart Content across our product assets and platforms. We were using the taxonomy to tag our content and manage it to improve the search and discovery of the assets and content that we had on our platforms. One of the outgrowths of the Smart Content program was really to understand that rich media assets were being searched and were being used.
[5:37] That actually translated to…how do we use the taxonomy? What a taxonomy is? How it could be used in your particular industry and the importance of how that can be used to enable search and discovery and lead in the efforts of the DAM.
Henrik: [5:50] Well, thanks Anne.
Anne: [5:51] Sure.
Henrik: [5:53] For more on this and other digital asset management topics go to AnotherDAMblog.com.
Abby Covert discusses Digital Asset Management and Information Architecture
Henrik de Gyor: [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Abby Covert. Abby, how are you?
Abby Covert: [0:09] Great. Thanks so much for having me.
Henrik: [0:11] Abby, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Abby: [0:14] Well, I am a professional Information Architect. My involvement with Digital Asset Management is really in helping organizations to understand the impact of language, and structure on their effectiveness towards whatever their goals might be, and that can be across many mediums, which I think is similar to the challenges that Digital Asset Managers face as well.
[0:35] They’re looking at the scaffolding that then initiates a lot of processes within an organization. So, my job is pretty similar in that regard I would say.
Henrik: [0:44] As an Information Architect, you recently authored a book titled How to Make Sense of Any Mess. Tell us more about what we can learn from this book since many DAM professionals need to do the same.
Abby: [0:55] My main premise in writing a book with such a broad title How to Make Sense of Any Mess, and I thought very hard on the word “Any”, was that I really felt as a practicing information architect after 10 years, that a lot of the messes that I was helping my clients to make sense of were actually really based in information and people, more than they were specific to the technologies, or the mediums that we were actually executing in.
[1:21] I would say that anybody who has been working in technology for more than 10 years, has seen some sort of current of change that all of a sudden we have mobile, all of a sudden we have social, how does that change what we do?
[1:33] What I actually found was that it doesn’t change a lot when you look at that information and people part, that it really comes down to a basic understanding of leading and facilitating people, through a process of identifying what is not making sense to their consumers or to their coworkers.
[1:51] Then working through the delicate steps that one needs to take to really adjust the mental models of themselves, and maybe the people that they’re working with, in order to reach whatever intent people are trying to get to. I guess after spending a lot of time making sense of other people’s messes, I wanted to know if I could write a book that would help people make sense of their own.
[2:14] I think so far, based on the feedback, yeah, I think that you really can. You can self‑serve this stuff which is great.
Henrik: [2:21] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Abby: [2:25] I definitely think that scalability is one of the biggest issues that organizations face in general. Whether that be scaling up to meet the needs of digital, or scaling up to meet the needs of a growing business, those two things have become synonymous. I don’t run into a lot of companies that are scaling up their business that doesn’t mean they need to scale up the digital side of their business.
[2:49] Also, the cross‑channel nature of things. The decision to invest or not invest in certain channels, and the impact of doing so. Taking the time to start a new social channel that just got announced, instead of taking the time away from doing something else. So I think in terms of Digital Asset Management, I think that it’s difficult to stay on the edge of that while also maintaining what you have and not letting the things that you have get unkempt.
[3:21] I would definitely say scalability, and keeping up with the wave of change would be the biggest challenges. Successes, I would say, anyone that can pay close attention to context of use, and not use metadata as a way of checking the box on like, “Yes, we’ve collected metadata,” but really thinking about how that metadata is going to apply to a use case, that might be realistic to that organization, and how they’re going to use that content at a swift pace.
[3:52] Then, also the cadence they’re going to need it at. I think that anybody who is doing that level of deep research organizationally, around the way that they’re organizing their internal assets, is probably seeing a lot more success than those who are in their cubicles alone, just applying data schema that make sense in their head. Because it’s easy to do that from the common sense place, but it turns out that common sense is pretty unreliable in a lot of cases.
Henrik: [4:20] Good points. What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals, and people who are aspiring to be DAM professionals?
Abby: [4:25] I am going to go and continue my thread of “Get out from your cubicle, or your office, or even from your desk and go work with other people.” I think that the idea of doing the work versus concepting your way through how the work will be done, is a dangerous place to be by yourself, especially in a field that is so dependent on making sense of the things for other people to use for their jobs.
[4:55] I feel like if you can take that soft skill part and use that, and give equal attention to that, then also your tools, I would say that that would be my number one piece of advice.
Henrik: [5:07] Have a conversation with as many people as necessary who will be using this?
Abby: [5:12] Yeah. Also, don’t scare them away with your language and your tools. That’s for you to figure out later. But get out a marker and some post‑it notes and a white board, or whatever you got to do to make them feel comfortable and get through the anxiety of… Digital Asset Management is like a big mouthy term, and I’m sure that there’s some marketers that are hearing it for the first time in some cases when people are working with them on it.
[5:37] Making sure that that’s not getting in the way, and just remembering that technology is a monster in many people’s minds. So, we’re all going through this transition organizationally. Most organizations are going through a transition. I would say that those that haven’t been born into digital, even those are going through lots of transitions with the increased cross‑channel nature of our businesses and our design mediums.
[5:59] But I feel like if you can educate people in a way that they understand that you’re making decisions that are going to help them along the way, and that you’re collaborating on those, and that you’re just the filter, you’re just the person that’s going to go to the tool at the end of the day, and enter it into the way that you guys agreed it’s going to be. But you’re not a dictator of the way that digital assets should be managed.
Henrik: [6:22] Well, thanks Abby. For this, and other Digital Asset Management topics, log onto AnotherDAMblog.com. For this podcast and a 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to AnotherDAMpodcast.com. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to to email me at email@example.com. And Abby where can we find out more information from you?