Another DAM Podcast

Audio about Digital Asset Management

Another DAM Podcast interview with Deborah Gonzalez on Digital Asset Management

Deborah Gonzalez discusses Digital Asset Management


Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I am Henrik de Gyor. Today I am speaking with Deborah Gonzalez. Deborah, how are you?

Deborah Gonzalez:  [0:10] I am good. Thank you for having me today.

Henrik:  [0:14] Deborah, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Deborah:  [0:16] First of all, I am an attorney. I also own a consulting company called Law2sm. What we do is look at the legal aspects of online digital and social media activity. One of the things that I work with, particularly with my clients, is to make them understand what the concept of Digital Assets is and that these Digital Assets have value that need to be protected. Right?

[0:43] Then, as they go and make certain decisions to protect those assets, to think about different scenarios of what may happen in case the access and control management that they have in place might need to change.

[1:00] We take two different perspectives. When we are working with individuals, we are looking at a digital legacy plan and personal digital assets, but when we are working with businesses, we are looking at a digital succession plan.

Henrik:  [1:16] Deborah, what should people consider for succession planning for digital assets whether individuals leave an organization voluntarily, involuntarily, or quite literally die while employed for a company in the United States?

Deborah:  [1:30] I think the first thing is that people need to be aware that this can be an issue. I don’t think people go into business and think, “Oh, my god. The person who is in charge of all my assets is going to get hit by a car and die or become so critically injured that they can’t do their job.” It is important as a business person to make sure that is in our consciousness.

[1:53] Then, make sure that we put it into a succession plan regarding the control access and management of these assets. No matter what kind of scenario happens. Right? Whether it is a voluntary separation with an employee or an involuntary separation with an employee.

[2:10] The second thing is that this plan should also include an inventory of the digital assets, who has access and control over those digital assets, and what are the credentials to access those digital assets. This will help because you combine this with the protocol in place for managers and supervisors to have those credentials as well. If something happens, the information isn’t lost to the business completely. We call this our digital record keeping. Making sure we know what we have and how to get to them.

[2:45] Third, I always suggest to my clients that they integrate into the exit interview. Some of these businesses might even have a terminated employee checklist that they have to go through these steps when an employee leaves the company but add a couple of items that relate specifically to digital assets and their credentials, and ensure that these credentials are transferred. Once they are transferred, make sure also that these credentials are changed, so that employee no longer has access to them from outside of the company.

Henrik:  [3:21] Deborah, are there laws protecting digital assets after death?

Deborah:  [3:24] Yes, and it’s really interesting because one of the things that we have to think about, is go back into the whole idea of the US, in terms of the laws being very property centric. The first laws that we have that will deal digital assets and any transfer are what we call the inheritance laws, especially for personal digital assets. That’s in our constitution, right? This idea of property, and so what we in the legal terms call, “The Power of Dead Hands.” This is very different from other countries who are more interested in that property not be wasted. If the person has died or been terminated, then that property needs to be changed to somebody who can use it. That’s a very different perspective than the US perspective.

[4:13] To add a complexity to that, in 1986, Congress actually passed a law that forbids consumer electronic communications companies from disclosing content without its owner’s consent or a government order like a police investigation or a subpoena. And so, the issue there was to protect the consumer’s privacy and for consumer protection. That’s why we have lots of companies that then include in their website terms of use, certain clauses that say if the person dies, then the account is automatically terminated.

[4:48] You can think of your frequent flyer miles, for example, what will they say? You can transfer miles, you can gift miles while you are alive, but not once you are dead. OK? Other things that also act that way are maybe your email systems or online banking.

[5:06] From a business perspective, then you have to think of some of the service provider agreements like if you are using cloud storage for your digital assets. What do they say about their assets and termination of an employee, or a change of the credentials? You want to make sure that if there is a third party involved that you know what the service provider agreements actually say.

[5:30] We are beginning to see some specific state laws that actually have included the language of digital assets in them. Right now we have seven states passing legislation talking about executor power over digital assets. These include Connecticut and Rhode Island. They only cover email. But Indiana, Idaho and Oklahoma cover social networking and blogging accounts, and also Nebraska. The problem is that these sometimes are in conflict with the website in terms of use of some these sites that we use with our digital assets, and the laws have not really been tested in court. So, in August of 2014, a governor, Jack Markell of Delaware actually signed HB345. This is the first of its kind in the US. Now again, it’s relatively new, but it is interesting to see the progressions that states have made.

[6:31] The other thing that I want to bring up is that we did have a Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act that was approved in July 2014, trying to get a standard across the nation, but that is voluntary. That’s not a federal mandated act.

[6:49] But you can get some additional information. There is a great blogger, Geoffrey Fowler, who wrote “Life and Death Online: Who Controls a Digital Legacy?” and you can certainly Google him and follow the information that he’s put out there. He writes for the Wall Street Journal. He’s definitely looking at the value these digital assets have.

Henrik:  [7:11] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with digital asset management?

Deborah:  [7:15] The biggest challenge that I’ve seen is this unawareness of the issue, that there’s all these assets out there in digital space, and that we’ve put someplace and it’s very easy to lose track of them if we don’t have a system in place to actually manage them. It becomes almost an afterthought for so many businesses and individuals.

[7:41] When someone dies, or when an employee abruptly leaves, this can cause a lot of chaos. It can be a loss to the business of client information, which can then lead to a loss of financial assets. There’s a lot of wasted time that happens trying to figure out what the password is or even how to reset the password and lots of frustration. It can actually affect the whole work environment as they’re trying to get a hold on these digital assets.

[8:11] As for the biggest success, I think it’s when clients actually develop a plan that addresses the issue, and it’s almost like a sigh of relief, that they know that they’ve addressed this and they’ve taken care of it. More importantly, not only did they address it, but then that they integrate it into the way that they operate their business, because this isn’t something that you just do once and then sort of forget, as you see the laws are changing. Therefore you have to make sure that plans that you have in place for your business change as well and is up to date with the laws and what you need to do to protect your assets.

Henrik:  [8:48] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Deborah:  [8:53] The first thing that I’d like to share is that the whole digital assets arena is really growing, and it’s getting integrated with things such as the privacy concerns and the security concerns. The first bit of advice is learn about it and keep learning about it.

[9:09] I usually tell people, “Read. Keep up to date.” I know there’s a lot of things going on. There are new technologies being involved, new trends and new headlines. You can certainly use things like Google Alerts or Talkwalker to get the new things pushed to you in an email so that you can keep up to date with that.

[9:29] Another thing I’d like to suggest is network. Meet with others in the digital asset management field, whether that’s following certain people on Twitter and seeing what they’re talking about, seeing what they’re reading, seeing where they’re going, or going to these conferences, even if you can’t go in person.

[9:46] So many of these conferences are now being done virtually, and so you’re able to even communicate with others who are not able to physically attend the conference, but that you can communicate online. Networking is really important because everybody reads something. Pulling that all together can make it a lot easier than having the responsibility of trying to read everything that there is.

[10:11] The last thing that I would suggest is talk about what you’re doing with digital asset management and listen to what others are doing and share those best practices. Share the lessons learned, because we all make mistakes. There’s always something to learn about what not to do or how to do it better next. Being able to talk about it also helps us reflect what happened and what we can do better.

Henrik:  [10:36] Great. Well thanks, Deborah.

Deborah:  [10:37] OK.

Henrik:  [10:38] Deborah, where can we find more information on what you do?

Deborah:  [10:42] You can follow me on Twitter @law2sm. The website is, or you can email me at

Henrik:  [10:58] For more on this and other digital asset management topics, login to For more this podcast and 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at

Thanks again.

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Another DAM Podcast interview with Louis King on Digital Asset Management

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • Why does a University use Digital Asset Management?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?


Henrik de Gyor: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Louis King. Louis,
how are you?
Louis King: [0:09] I’m great.
Henrik: [0:10] Louis, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Louis: [0:13] I’m at Yale University. I’m the Digital Information Architect for the
Office of Digital Assets and Infrastructure. [0:21] Our focus is working on Digital
Asset Management at the enterprise level for the institution. This really means
looking across all the disciplines and the activities of the university, how digital
media is being used and how Digital Asset Management could be applied.
[0:39] What we’ve found over the years is that digital media is actually embedded
in every aspect of the institution. This involves our research endeavors in
which we have rich media artifacts coming in from the field. It involves teaching
and learning activities, and our dissemination of knowledge in publication.
[1:01] As we looked across the terrain and saw so many people using digital
media, we also found that there are a lot of silos of digital media and that we
couldn’t fluently move our content from one endeavor into the others.
[1:18] For instance, we might grab field activities some digital recordings of
indigenous languages being spoken from native speakers, and we bring them
into the research environment but we then couldn’t use them immediately in the
classroom environment either.
[1:37] As we looked at those silos, we really came to work on this idea of
being able to have data flow fluidly and in particular, digital media. Digital
Asset Management became an obvious piece of infrastructure to look at. As
we looked at infrastructure, it also became clear that it was not just a technical
[2:00] One of the things that we have to understand is a construct that we’ve
built around infrastructure and core infrastructure, which is actually it’s intersection
of a particular community of practice that contents that I think work with
policy and shared practices that are required to facilitate at work, then, finally,
the technology.
[2:25] Our work in Digital Asset Management is to work with all members of the
institution to understand where that intersection is for that type of work they’re
doing. When we looked at Digital Asset Management, we looked at people who
had a compelling need, a particular community of practice that was ready to
move into a more managed approached to their media production and dissemination
and stewardship.
[2:54] It turned out that our museums were working on similar solutions independently,
and we started there to bring people together around Digital Asset
Management. Shortly after, we also brought in the Yale University Library.
[3:12] This group of cultural heritage stewards of people who maintain a presence
of our cultural heritage for our use today in advancing our work had a
practical set of purposes that needed to be supported.
[3:28] They had identified content to work with. We were able to identify policies
and refined and shared in common practice. Then, we were able to configure a
technical solution in a Digital Asset Management environment that would meet
those needs.
[3:45] As we moved forward, we begin to look at what are other communities of
practice. We’re beginning to bring in other communities of practice. We have
the communication teams coming on board to start looking at how we advance
communications work. This is digital media production all the way through to
Web communications. Also, since we already have cultural heritage people on
board, it’s when those are valuable communications that we want to maintain
them for a long time. How do they move into the more archival and stewardship
arena of digital media?
[4:21] In the future phase, we’re looking at bringing more of the research community
and the teaching and learning community into the environment.
Henrik: [4:29] Why does the university use Digital Asset Management?
Louis: [4:31] The university is focusing on using Digital Asset Management to
meet its core mission. In the areas that I touched on, the research, teaching,
and learning, dissemination and publication. Those are core to what the institution
does. [4:46] The ability to have a mechanism that makes us more fluid. That
makes us be able to connect pieces of content together in order to enhance
[5:01] To enhance dissemination. To enhance the learning experience becomes
fundamental to our work. We look at this technology to facilitate that.
[5:11] In addition, what we’re finding is that it’s a complex production environment
because of our many disciplines. By being able to put a shared and
common approach to media management in place, we’re actually able to develop
some basic efficiencies.
[5:28] We’re able to aggregate our storage positioning. We’re able to aggregate
our content. We’re able to do training that moves from one discipline
to the next.
[5:39] As staff moves, they bring the skills necessary to do the same kind of work
applied to a different discipline. These become fundamental to the everyday
working on the institution.
Henrik: [5:48] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Louis: [5:53] It’s a great field. It’s really exciting to work in media management.
You get to span all kinds of creative works that are going on. You bring value
to the institution or the organization that you’re working for. That’s fascinating.
[6:13] I would suggest that you not expect to live in a comfort zone, at all. These
are very complex issues for complex environments. They have complex legalities
and practice issues to them.
[6:29] They are all at the center of various types of organizational change.
Change in the way that we do things. Where there’s change, there’s a certain
amount of pain.
[6:40] We work with people whose roles are threatened and other people who
we can’t move fast enough for. There’s a bit of volatility in the field. You should
want that kind of excitement in your life.
[6:54] The bottom line on this is that it’s really an area where we’re building,
where we’re constructing and we’re discovering new ways of doing work. A lot
of that work is very compelling and has tremendous opportunities associated
with it. It’s very exciting.
Henrik: [7:15] Thank you, Louis.
Louis: [7:16] You’re welcome. My pleasure.
Henrik: [7:17] For more on Digital Asset Management log on to
AnotherDAMblog.comAnother DAM Podcast is now available on Audioboom,
iTunes and the Tech Podcast Network. Thanks again.

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