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Another DAM Podcast interview with Julia Thompson on Digital Asset Management

 

Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I am Henrik de Gyor. Today, I’m speaking with Julia Thompson.

[0:07] Julia, how are you?

Julia Thompson:  [0:09] Great, thank you. How are you?

Henrik:  [0:10] Great. Julia, how were you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Julia:  [0:14] I’m the Digital Asset Manager at UNICEF, New York headquarters. Part of that role, I’m the administrator of our Global Digital Asset Management System. This includes things like configuring the ACLs, developing and maintaining metadata, working with the DAM vendor on issues, any changes we’d like to make, and features that would be useful to us.

[0:34] My role also includes the development of DAM workflows and advising on best practices, and user support and training.

Henrik:  [0:42] How does an organization focused on long‑term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries use Digital Asset Management?

Julia:  [0:52] The DAM system that I manage contains just finished materials at this stage, rather than works‑in‑progress, although I see that being something that we may be using the DAM system for in the future. At the moment, it includes photos, videos, branding materials, publications and social media assets and things such as infographics.

[1:12] And also other related peripheral materials, mostly communication materials that are ultimately destined for an external audience. So we work in more than 190 countries and territories and we have content creators and offices all over the world. For us having a global DAM system helps us to break down content silos across the organization.

[1:33] It provides us a way to make rich media created all around the organization, available to UNICEF staff everywhere. The staff use the DAM system to locate materials for repurposing and reuse when they are creating new communication assets. So we offer B‑Rolls for creating new videos, photos that they use in new publications.

[1:52] We also use the DAM system to distribute editable versions of assets for localization. So that means that an office can create versions of assets in their local languages. We use the DAM system as a tool for sharing downloadable assets with news media and with our many partners and stakeholders.

[2:09] It also provides a source for high quality assets for publication on websites and social media, and other internal platforms and it’s integrated with unicef.org, for the publication of photos by the DAM system API. I’d say that one of the most important roles of Digital Asset Management for us is in helping to protect the rights of the children in our photos and videos, helping us to ensure that assets are used appropriately.

[2:32] So we have some assets, images of children at risk, such as children associated with armed groups, which requires special approval and particular care in their use. The DAM system helps us to handle usage approvals.

[2:45] We are able to use the system to embed the usage terms and conditions and some asset types like images, to make users aware of the usage terms and conditions upon accessing assets in the DAM system.

[2:56] We use the DAM system to pull together packages of assets that relate to a particular focus area or a campaign, which makes it quicker and easier for staff to find the communication materials that they need and the DAM system also provides a definitive source for our branding materials, so that we can keep the UNICEF brands clear.

Henrik:  [3:13] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Julia:  [3:17] So in some ways our successes and challenges are fairly closely linked. Because the DAM system has become quite central in supporting our communication goals, our users are starting to see the benefits of the DAM system in their work, which is a good thing. It’s exactly what we are aiming for.

[3:34] One of the consequences that we found of having a system that people like and see the value in, is that we’re finding ourself needing to assess and culminate new needs that are arising, we’ve seen the emergence of new use cases, new demands on the system, which have created new challenges to address, new workflows to develop, additional metadata to add, changes in the way that we handle permissions.

[3:57] So these new needs have been a challenge to address. Some taking extra resourcing, requiring changes in the way that we are working with the system. But it’s also nice to see the value of Digital Asset Management in such a large organization. Another challenge that we’ve faced is balancing our shorter and longer term needs.

[4:15] We need our Digital Asset Management to support an often high paced flow of assets within the organization and to outside partners and news media. But we also need to ensure that we have full and accurate metadata needed for the long‑term accessibility of those assets.

[4:30] In an emergency situation such as after the recent Nepal earthquake, the DAM system was used to make photos and videos available to the organization and to the news media, which needed to happen quickly. So in a situation like that there’s not always time to spend fully cataloging an asset before publication and distribution.

[4:50] However, we do need full metadata to ensure that someone can find those assets in a few years and that they have enough contextual information to know what their looking at. So I definitely wouldn’t claim to have all the answers to that dilemma yet. That’s really something we are still working through. But I think in the future, it’s going to have to involve a staged approach to Asset Management.

[5:09] We have a workflow and a system that’s live and user‑friendly enough to meet their short‑term needs, combined with oversight by information professionals, maybe filling in the metadata and making sure that everything looks right at a slightly later stage.

[5:24] And also, I think accepting that good‑enough is sometimes the best you can do. There is really no question that Digital Asset Management in a large organization like that, operating in different time zones is a challenge.

Henrik:  [5:36] I bet. What advise would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Julia:  [5:42] One of the things I would recommend is the future proofing as much as possible, being aware of the importance of flexibility and scalability when procuring and configuring a DAM system because you will inevitably be making changes, particularly when working in a large organization.

[6:00] We found it really important to have a system that allows us to be really flexible, making changes to metadata, accommodating new asset types, new asset genres and supporting new asset cases.

[6:12] Related to that, I’d say that it’s important to keep talking to your users well beyond the initial planning and implementation stage, so that your system and workflows can evolve along with the new user needs that will emerge. We’ve definitely had a lot of changes with the way that we are using Digital Asset Management within the new organization, even over a fairly short period of time.

[6:33] For people aspiring to become DAM professionals, I would say that it’s getting hands‑on experience and so getting some exposure to Digital Asset Management in a real organization is super important.

[6:44] I would think that although getting a good handle on Digital Asset Management theory and best practices is key, it’s also really important to be able to navigate the unique culture of an organization to be able to successfully identify business requirements and end‑user needs.

[7:00] At least from my point of view that seems to be where the biggest challenges lie, but also the biggest opportunities for success in Digital Asset Management.

Henrik:  [7:08] Great. Well, thanks Julia.

Julia:  [7:10] Thank you.

Henrik:  [7:11] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to anotherdamblog.com. For this podcast and 160 other podcast episodes, go to anotherdampodcast.com. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to email me at anotherdamblog@Gmail.com. Thanks again.


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Another DAM Podcast interview with Fred Robertson on Digital Asset Management

 

Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Fred Robertson. Fred, how are you?

Fred Robertson:  [0:10] Good, thanks.

Henrik:  [0:12] Fred, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Fred:  [0:14] I’ve been involved with Digital Asset Management for about 10 years now. My current role as Digital Asset Manager is about two years old. My main role is to manage photography assets from the beginning of the creative process all the way through to disseminating them out to a global community of creatives. This means when a photo shoot is finished, a hard drive will come to me and I’ll transfer files onto one of our server volumes. Then art directors do their part making selections and preparing files for me then to move out to a color correction house for retouching and color correction.

[0:52] Then files come back to me when they’re complete so I can properly name them, tag them properly, and post the final assets into an image library that we maintain. I’m also in charge of managing the version control and file names where all the product groups and different models of products and series versions, which can get complicated. We really have to have a good system of naming in place.

[1:15] I also interact with the global partners so that whenever they need assets, and whenever new assets are posted, they’re constantly being updated about new activity and new imagery that’s available. Finally, managing the storage space on all of our working volumes. It’s a pretty involved role.

Henrik:  [1:34] Fred, how does a well known audio technology developer and product manufacturer use Digital Asset Management?

Fred:  [1:41] We use DAM in many different ways. Primarily, from an image standpoint, still photography is the main focus of our DAM work currently. We maintain this image library and storage system for all of our product assets, advertising, photography. We also use it as a creative workflow so that our creative can produce all the layout creative work that they need to by linking to those high res assets that have gone through that process that I explained earlier.

[2:10] Our creative group is able to produce layouts and different presentations without having to duplicate assets. It’s an all‑encompassing system where we have different volumes on our server for creative files, layouts, logos, raw photography, final color corrected imagery, even outtakes. It’s a highly managed system, but it also allows for more fluid workflow.

Henrik:  [2:34] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Fred:  [2:38] I would say the challenges are many. First and foremost, just educating people about the system we have and giving users a degree of confidence in using it. A lot of folks tend to be a bit daunted by or confused by an interface. Some DAM interface is just not as user friendly as most people expect after going on the web and, say, using stock sites. I find that if you hold someone’s hand just the tiniest bit, it goes a long way to helping them become independent in their use of it.

[3:06] One of the bigger challenges is getting all to these stakeholders, internal clients, corporate interests, some legal concerns, and anyone that needs to access it how to be on the same page about how we’re coordinating management and organization of those assets. Those challenges are ongoing. We don’t really manage digital assets. The digital group seems to manage their own. The video group seems to manage those on their own as well. I’m helping in both of those areas, but it’s not under one umbrella, which makes it tricky. It gives us something, a goal to shoot for as well, which is to get everything in one place.

[3:44] Successes are just that we have a tool in place. It’s surprisingly still unique to see large companies using a DAM tool in ways other than just small internal groups using it. We’re trying to use it on a global marketing scale is ambitious, and it’s great that we can continue to improve upon it from there.

[4:04] It helps us coordinate product launches. Just having a Digital Asset Manager in house is a new role here. I think it’s made a big, big difference in productivity in the group.

Henrik:  [4:15] Fred, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Fred:  [4:20] I think, first and foremost, just having a clear and focused approach is most important, something that emphasizes the value in having a process in place that everyone needs to adhere to, but that you can as a Digital Asset Manager, you can help facilitate that process and really step in at every point along the way so that you can interact with many different groups of people who might not often interact with the group that I work in. I really enjoy being a greater part of the whole process so I can really answer questions at any point along the way.

[4:54] I think if you aspire to become a DAM professional…My background’s photography and I came at it from that perspective, as a person who was just immersed in having a visual education. The way I look at imagery is organizationally different than most folks that come at if from a library science perspective, which I often wish I had, but I also feel like I bring something unique to the process as sort of a self‑taught DAM professional in a way.

[5:26] I just think emerging yourself in imagery and processes can only help get you to that place where really allowing yourself a chance to view lots of imagery and think about ways in which that they’re organized and interact with photographers and artists, it can give you a much more rounded perspective.

Henrik:  [5:45] Well, thanks, Fred.

Fred:  [5:46] All right.

Henrik:  [5:46] For more on this, and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to AnotherDAMblog.com. For this podcast episode, as well as 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to AnotherDAMpodcast.com.

[6:01] If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at AnotherDAMblog@Gmail.com. Thanks, again.


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What does a Digital Asset Manager need to know?

Based on the blog post from Another DAM blog,

 

Written and read by Henrik de Gyor