Henrik de Gyor: [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today, I’m speaking with Emily Klovitz. Emily, how are you?
Emily Klovitz: [0:12] I’m doing great. How are you?
Henrik: [0:13] Great. Emily, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Emily: [0:18] I’m involved in Digital Asset Management as both student and practitioner. I’m finishing my MLIS at the University of Oklahoma, and also working full time in the field. I currently am a digital asset manager for JCPenney at the home office. I’ve also worked on digital projects outside of a formal DAM environment, in archives and also a museum.
[0:48] Recently, I have become very involved in the DAM education and DAM community. Part of that is a desire to contribute to the field. Another part of that is just me segueing into the next phase of my life.
Henrik: [1:05] Emily, how does the national retail chain use Digital Asset Management?
Emily: [1:10] My company uses Digital Asset Management for a variety of reasons ‑‑ works in progress, distribution, and also brand management. In my specific area, we use Digital Asset Management for works in progress, and also on final, finished photography for marketing assets. The DAM is fairly new, only a couple of years old, and it’s really only been hard‑launched since last November .
[1:39] There’s a lot of building going on right now. Basically, it’s such a large organization, there’re actually multiple DAM environments. We are positioning ours as the enterprise DAM, but we still have a long road ahead of us. In terms of other DAM systems, there are that some that makes sense, in terms of what kind of content is kept and described, and also the perks of that specific system.
[2:07] Then, the different challenges of the type of content we’re talking about. As time has passed, the various DAM managers have crossed paths, and it’s been very rewarding to speak to these people, and find out what we have in common, and where we can help each other out.
[2:25] There have also been systems that didn’t really provide value for the organization and were duplications of content. I worked very hard to get rid of those systems. They’ve been shut down, and that’s because we have been lucky to have very strong senior leadership and buy‑in behind our DAM.
[2:43] What’s really interesting about my organization, or any large organization trying to wrangle their content, is just the sheer number of assets you’re actually talking about. Also, the number of DAM systems actually used by the organization, because many times it’s often multiple DAM systems.
Henrik: [3:02] What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?
Emily: [3:05] The biggest challenge to Digital Asset Management is change management. Everything else is a problem that can be solved logically. People are more tricky than that.
[3:16] The second biggest challenge is probably that DAM does not happen in a vacuum. There are more than likely other digital initiatives in your organization, and sometimes being able to see a bigger picture, even bigger than Digital Asset Management, can help an organization implement control over information chaos. This means information governance should be part of the Digital Asset Management strategy, or perhaps the DAM strategy is a facet of an overall digital strategy or information management strategy.
[3:53] It’s been very difficult for me to stay in my DAM bubble, so to speak, in the corporate world. As an information specialist, it is so glaringly obvious all the areas that could benefit from information governance. Yet there’s only one of you, and a DAM manager has many hats to wear. That’s what I feel are the biggest challenges to Digital Asset Management.
[4:20] Successes? I guess getting buy‑in feels really good. Growing your user adoption, that’s very rewarding. Any time you have even a slight increase in user adoption, that’s a big success, and you should take the time to celebrate it. Speaking of that, with your successes in Digital Asset Management, it’s OK to brag a little. It’s part of the advocating for your DAM, so usage reports and celebrating that kind of thing is good for DAM managers to do.
Henrik: [4:57] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Emily: [5:03] Read everything you can get your hands on and don’t get married to a system. There are many sources for education pertaining to Digital Asset Management. Many of them are community‑, vendor‑ or organization‑based, not necessarily subjected to the rigor of scholarly publication and peer review, which we talked about previously.
[5:26] It’s important to be skeptical, I think. Verify the facts for yourself. Inspect methodologies, and don’t get sucked into buying something because of someone putting the weight of authority behind it. I also think that you should trust your gut, because you can usually tell when information is info‑fluff, versus substantial information that adds to your understanding.
[5:54] The part about the DAM system, we’re usually the ones enacting the change and we’re not the ones who have to deal with it, because we’re starting the change. But you have to be cognizant of this may not be the best solution long term, and you can’t marry a system. It’s not about the technology. Digital Asset Management is so much more than that. You need to constantly be benchmarking your DAM, inspecting your practices, and getting better and better so you can grow as a digital asset manager.
Henrik de Gyor: [0:00] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Dan Piro.
[0:08] Dan, how are you?
Dan Piro: [0:09] I’m good, how are you?
Henrik: [0:10] Great. Dan, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Dan: [0:13] I work for Turner Broadcasting. I am the Digital Asset Manager for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies, on‑air, creative services department.
Henrik: [0:23] Dan, how does a broadcast company use Digital Asset Management?
Dan: [0:29] When a company as big as ours, we’re talking about 10 national cable networks, implemented Digital Asset Management tool, you’re really dealing with an unfathomable amount of media that’s coming in and out. DAM is really the heart of our ability to get to that media.
[0:49] We use this system to manage all the media that’s coming in, it’s going out. We’re sharing it between each other throughout the workday. We have one enterprise system that everybody in the company uses, but we all have our own instances.
[1:04] In my case, I actually manage three different instances, one for each network. My role supports these different networks based on their different business needs. We setup each one uniquely for those networks.
[1:18] For example, TNT. They deal with mostly seasonal programming. You’ll have episodic shows, they have 10, 12 episode runs. They run 10 weeks in a row. Done. That show is going to go away for six months or a year until it comes back.
[1:33] Part of what we do is use our Digital Asset Management tools to, once that season’s over, push all that content offline. Bring it back online when we’re getting ready to lauch the next season. It really increases efficiencies across the board.
[1:48] Shortly before I started there and was in the interview process, I think we had about 10 original shows on TNT. Just in about two years it’s grown to about 25. We’re dealing with different kind of shows now too. Now we’re doing unscripted shows and a lot of big blockbuster shows.
[2:07] We had ‘The Last Ship,’ with Michael Bay. There’s all these big‑time people that are coming in to put stuff on our network which is great. At the same time, for my role, it’s like “OK, so we’re going to have 60 terabytes of footage from that show, and 40 from that show. Where’s all these stuff going to go?”
[2:25] That’s really where I come in. Making sure that all these raw materials have a place to go when they come in. Have a place to go when we’re done with them. Creating retention policies to determine how long certain things need to be around. Things we don’t need to keep forever. Some stuff we do need to keep forever.
[2:41] We have to make a long term storage solution for certain media that has to be around forever, that we’re always going to go back to.
[2:49] In terms of how we use it? We use it to create a central repository of massive amounts of media files. The benefits of it are that it creates wide access, where several people can use the same media at the same time. You can search for it, you can retrieve it. You have instant accessibility. You can view proxies of files that are not online.
[3:18] Years ago, you’d have to go pull a tape off a shelf, pop it in, fast forward to the part you are looking for, “Oh! That’s not what I need,” pop it out, put it back on the shelf, get the next one. Now, you are just looking at a screen. You’re never leaving your desk. Everything is right there in front of you.
[3:33] Metadata is absolutely key to finding anything. If you put something in your deep storage without applying metadata, you’re never going to find it again. Whether it be as basic as possible, it’s from this show, it’s from this season and it’s this type of asset. Be it shoot footage, a daily, an episode.
[3:52] Even that light level of metadata is good. When you have the option to go in and really tag it with key words and whatnot, it becomes more useful. At this point, the system is still new and we’re still growing, and I think we’re going to get to more of that in the future.
[4:10] In the very early stages, we’re more worried about making sure our new stuff is getting into this system. Then grow the abilities of it once everybody’s onboard and comfortable with it.
[4:22] I think the final aspect of it would be that there’s a safe and secure storage method where nobody’s taking a tape home, it’s disappearing in the background, they accidentally recorded over it. Everything is in one place and people have access to it, but it’s not going away. I would say those are some of the most important ways of how we use Digital Asset Management.
Henrik: [4:45] What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?
Dan: [4:49] The biggest challenge has to be putting in a new system and getting people to change their habits. It’s hard to convince people that there’s a better way than what they are already doing that works.
[4:59] The important thing as a media manager is to understand your business, how it works, and the role that DAM plays in it. It’s easy to come in and say, “I’m the Digital Asset Manager. This isn’t the way that things are supposed to work, and this is what we are going to do now.”
[5:14] You can come in with that approach, but you are going get some resistance, and have trouble getting people to work with you. The best thing that you can do when getting into a new situation, is to really empower your clients, include them in the decision making.
[5:29] If your company has gotten to the point that they need this system, they’re probably already pretty successful. You need to understand that success and know the scope of the project that you’re putting in so that you can work with these people and kind of allow them to do things the way that they like to do them, but still improve processes regularly.
[5:51] When you can recognize the history behind why things are done the way they are done and let people be a part of making this new system with you, that’s really the best way to get buy‑in from you clients. I would say that’s probably my biggest success with the network I’m supporting right now is really just being able to say that it was a team effort even though I might be managing the project myself.
Henrik: [6:18] What about would you like to share to DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Dan: [6:23] Whether you are a DAM professional or not, if you’re a producer, or editor, really anybody that’s looking to be in the media business, networking is probably the most important thing that you can do.
[6:34] One thing that I like to tell people is, you have all the skills in the world but they won’t get you a job. You can keep our job with one, but if you don’t have a network of people to go to, you will never get a job to apply those skills.
[6:46] The most important thing you can do these days is talk to other people that do what you. Compare notes, talk shop, go to conferences. Hopefully, you’ll be with a company that’s supportive enough to send you to them, because they can be costly if not.
[7:01] Just really see what your peers are doing. By seeing what they do, you’re going to be able to do your job better. If you’re an aspiring Digital Asset Management professional, get on LinkedIn, join discussions, ask questions. Just find other people that do what you do.
[7:15] A lot of times if you’re just approaching somebody and saying, “Hey, help me with this job,” they might not be so receptive. If you talk to people and talk to them about what they do, and why they make certain decisions, I think they’re going to be real open to discussing things with you.
[7:32] Later down the line, when you need them for that favor, you’re going to be in pretty good position because they’re going to say, “I remember this guy and he was really cool to talk to about DAM.” Or producing, or editing. Whatever it may be.
[7:44] LinkedIn is most powerful tool to anybody in my industry right now. It boggles my mind when I talk to people around the office. That are just, “I’m not on there yet,” or “I’ll get to it one of these days.”
[8:01] Don’t wait. Get on there. It can’t hurt and you are going to connect with people you worked with ten years ago, and be like “Oh, look. That person works at NBC now.” Now you have a contact with NBC. Great!
[8:12] Another thing to do, if you’re really aspiring to get into DAM, find a way to incorporate it into your personal life.
[8:20] In my case, I am a music nut. I have to have the whole discography of every artist that I love. I have 50,000 media files and they all have artwork. They all have metadata. The year that the album came out, what artist, what album. The ratings in iTunes. 3 stars, 4 stars, 5 stars.
[8:46] I can make a playlist of Rolling Stones songs from the 70s, which in my opinion are their best years. Exclude live albums, only include songs that I’ve ranked as 4 stars and 5 stars.
[8:59] Where your friend might want to make a Rolling Stones playlist, and it’ll take him three hours to go through everything, and say, “I want these songs. Maybe that one. Maybe not. I’ll come back and decide on that later.” They can work on it for three hours. At the click of a button, I have my playlist and I’m already listening to it.
Dan: [9:15] Just finding any way. Be it your personal movie collection, whatever, find a way to incorporate it to your life. If you’re not already in the field, you’re going to go on interviews and explain it to people why you’re the best person for the job. If you don’t have that past experience, at least give them something that like that.
[9:33] You have Digital Asset Managers in everyday life every day, that don’t even realized that what they’re doing with iTunes is exactly what we do with these massive media corporations.
Henrik de Gyor: [0:00] This is Another DAM podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Chad Beer and Michael Hollitscher about NYC DAM, the New York Digital Asset Managers Meetup group. The world’s largest Meetup group about Digital Asset Management.
[0:18] Chad, you’re the founder of this Meetup. Tell us how it all started.
Chad Beer: [0:23] I was working as a DAM manager in 2009. I was looking to move onto the next challenge, the next job. I needed to deepen my education about DAM. I needed to network and to get to know more people in DAM. I had gone to conferences and wasn’t finding the connections I wanted to find.
[0:47] I wasn’t connecting with people who were talking real nuts and bolts about their jobs and how they do it. I got connected to Meetup through a friend in an unrelated industry. I had gone to some other types of software Meetups and was amazed that there were no DAM Meetups.
[1:04] Out of frustration and out of wanting to get people to tell me about DAM, I thought, “I’m going to start a Meetup.” I saw Mike speak at a Henry Stewart conference. I liked his presentation. I liked how his thinking worked.
[1:18] I approached him after his talk and asked if I set up a Meetup about DAM, would he think that it’d be something that he would want to be involved in. He was very positive about the idea.
[1:27] That was the first piece of encouragement that I received that was outside of my own head. I just went online and started up the group.
[1:34] The first meeting we had was me, Mike, one other member, my boss and my boss’ boss. It was a tiny group. Mainly my bosses came because they wanted to see what the hell I was doing, using up a conference room in the evening, and also to wish me well.
[1:50] We started with a first meeting of five members. We talked about what the Meetup should be about. It was a very broad, kickoff Meetup.
[2:01] I love that Mike was there from the start, from before day one, really. Then, we just started winging it and setting up topics that we would find interesting. We were doing the presentations ourselves at first. It didn’t take long.
[2:15] As soon as we found somebody with some expertise and who was willing to talk, we started getting people who had shown up at the group to talk at the next one, and the next one, and the next one.
[2:23] It grew from there.
Michael Hollitscher: [2:26] It’s funny because thinking about it, there was space for us to fit into in the beginning. We joked that going to Digital Asset Management conferences were the one or two times a year that you didn’t feel totally alone.
[2:43] You could actually network with people, really interface and compare notes with the people who are doing this job, which five years ago was something more of an obscure trade to be involved in.
[2:59] Now I think it’s become something that’s becoming more and more ubiquitous every day in terms of how to manage digital content. We were able to fill a niche that a lot of people didn’t even know was needed.
[3:14] What Chad was talking about, in terms of how we just winged it, it was a Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland “Let’s put on a show” thing. We did it a little guerilla style, hosting it at places of work that we worked at.
[3:29] The people we were involved with, seemed like it was a perfectly fine thing to do. We slowly built up our membership, trying to think of interesting topics.
[3:39] In the end, the thing that’s driven us forward and gotten us to the point of our relative popularity now is that we really wanted to talk about the things that are necessary, that were really critical to us in our daily work days.
[3:58] We wanted to make sure that people who were showing up were fully engaged and really understood the key issues that we were dealing with at the time. It’s pretty amazing to think that it’s gone on for five years at this point, that so much has changed in the landscape from a point where DAM was, like I said, at that point, emerging from a backwater to a critical part of doing business every day.
Chad: [4:23] I had no global perspective when I started it, at all. I agree with Mike that we totally filled a niche that was not only ready to be filled, but there was an audience for it. We didn’t know this.
[4:35] I knew I was interested. I knew Mike was interested. I knew we had a common sensibility about metadata management. [laughs] So I knew we were aligned on a strategic level. That was it.
[4:46] We were very lucky, in a way. It was our timing and also our location. It’s possible for us to do this Meetup and have it as robust and ongoing as it is, because we’re in New York [City]. There’s a critical mass of not only people but professions that need DAM, so there’s a critical mass of DAM people in a small geographical area.
[5:09] We opened it up at what happened to be the right time in the practice’s maturity. If we had done it five years earlier, there wouldn’t have been enough people to talk about it or the issues wouldn’t have been codified enough to bring in an audience.
[5:25] I don’t think we would have known what the universal questions and problems were. There was a lot of luck and happenstance, timing and logistics, location.
Michael: [5:33] Yeah and really sticking with it. It came from the fact that Chad and I both wanted some answers, or at least to have a discussion amongst our peers to figure out “How are you doing it? How are you actually getting this work done?” or “What are the hacks you have to do, not only from a technological standpoint but from a human standpoint of getting this kind of work done?”
[6:01] I think that’s the big thing. The emergent thought that has come out of the Meetups ‑‑ and Henrik, I know you’re a big proponent of this, too ‑‑ we always focus on the technology, but the longer you do this, the technology is the least interesting part of it after a while.
[6:18] It’s really, “How do you engage the human beings who have to use this technology?”
[6:24] One of the real things that we’ve brought to the table in general DAM discussion in the world is that you really have to talk about the people. You have to talk about how you enable people. The uniqueness of your organization has to really work with your end‑users and your stakeholders.
Chad: [6:48] We did want to engage on those levels. In my mind at the time, the conferences weren’t very strong on those fronts.
[6:55] They’ve gotten a lot better. They’ve come down from preaching lofty best practices that aren’t really applicable to the day‑to‑day, and come down from vendor demos and things like that to more emphasis on use cases and more nitty‑gritty news you can use.
[7:10] That was not available much when we started this out, so we needed to talk to Mike’s point, not just about the human level of the work that we do and the hacks people do, but also nuts and bolts about how you get from point A to point B, how other professionals have done that.
[7:28] Also, not only did we want to facilitate presentations, we wanted to facilitate community and some interactions, some easy networking. The word “community” is really overused, but that’s what we were going for.
[7:43] Conferences only go so far with that, because they come at a pretty hefty cost. It costs a lot to go to a conference. We knew there were a bunch of people from small companies or independent contractors and certainly students or recent grads who were never going to go to conferences, that we’d never meet and interact with.
[8:03] The Meetup was a way to bring all those people together to missed people who also go to conferences. We felt that we were able to open doors up to a whole area of the DAM industry that couldn’t really get into the conferences, because they didn’t have the funding.
[8:18] That’s been a really valuable piece of it. Also, Mike brings up a really good point. This sticking with it was really critical. We’ve been doing it for five years.
[8:29] Mike and I have both been through job changes, and at some point or multiple points, we both hit a wall, where the demands of job or home life have been a lot to take on, and didn’t have the bandwidth to keep coming up with Meetup ideas.
[8:44] We were really glad that we had each other to bounce ideas off of and hand the baton back and forth to.
[8:49] This is where you come in, Henrik. When you joined us two years ago now, you added not only more bandwidth, but a new perspective, new contacts, a new perspective on the industry that not only helped us to keep going but helped enrich the content that we bring to the presentations every month.
[9:12] Can I ask you a question? Could you tell us about what it was like for you when you joined the Meetup, or how you decided you wanted to join the Meetup?
Henrik: [9:19] I also had a job transition. I had a lot of time to spend in New York, thankfully. I’m a Virginia resident, so I commute to New York [City]…
Henrik: [9:32] …on a regular basis. I was thrilled to be engaged with a very thriving, literally, a community of Digital Asset Management professionals like yourselves and all the members. I only wanted to see that grow.
[9:45] As a content producer for my blog and podcasts, I know that content is king and if you produce good content, especially in person, people will come, especially if there’s networking involved before and after. We do that with the Meetups too.
[9:59] I wanted to hone that, focus on things that we hadn’t focused on and look at all the different topics that are out there. There’s plenty and there’s only more to come.
[10:09] You started this on July 20th, 2009, and we’re coming up to a milestone. We’ll be announcing our fifth anniversary at a very special place.
[10:19] I was really excited to come up with topics as often as I could, and the speakers whenever I could with your help, to get the community engaged and different parts of the community as far as who’s using it and how they’re using it, not just the technology.
[10:35] Obviously, the people, that comes first, then also the processes and information that are involved to one degree or another.
Chad: [10:45] Probably the best thing I ever did after starting the Meetup was not trying to do it alone. I was never under the illusion that I could do it alone, or that that would be a good idea. This whole thing has been a real lesson to me in the value of collaboration. The more heads at the helm, the better.
[11:04] It helps, of course, that we are all like‑minded to a great degree. We all knew that about each other before we got involved. The Meetup is as strong as it is and still going because of everybody being involved ‑‑ not just us, all the members, too ‑‑ who also feed us some great ideas.
[11:21] Looking ahead, I would love it if there was more community involvement in at least getting ideas flowing and identifying people who could speak. I would love it to be a real soapbox for a lot of people in the DAM community.
Henrik: [11:34] Getting more people engaged, whether it’s the organizers of the events, such as us, or the people who are hosting these events, because we’re always looking for great locations that can host 50 plus people. That’s typically how many we have on a regular basis.
[11:49] At the time of this recording, we have 680 members plus. We’ve doubled it from over a year ago, which is pretty amazing.
Chad: [11:57] Speaking of locations, that brings up another economic issue. It’s the cost of locations. We’ve been challenged to find good locations because we have managed to keep our Meetup group vendor‑neutral.
[12:12] When we’ve been fortunate enough to get some sponsorship, mainly to fund video and the post video recording of some of the Meetups, the sponsors have been very hands‑off, just asking that we promote them with logos and credit, etc.
[12:27] Keeping some financial independence from any outside influence has been a limiting factor in that we have no budget for a lot of places that we could otherwise afford, but it’s also maintained a degree of integrity for our Meetup, and allowed us to steer our own ship.
[12:43] We can have whatever speakers we want, and we don’t have to worry about any conflict‑of‑interest from an economic perspective. I think that’s been huge.
Henrik: [12:52] I agree.
Chad: [12:53] I can’t believe it’s already five years.
Michael: [12:55] We were so young once.
Henrik: [12:58] I agree. [laughs]
Chad: [13:01] We’ve all gone through job changes since getting involved in the Meetup. It’s funny. The Meetup evolves. We’re evolving as DAM professionals, and the industry’s evolving out from under and all around us at the same time.
Michael: [13:12] It seemed like it was easier to do the first two years. I was in grad school. I was working a full time job, and also we were doing generally a Meetup a month at that point. I look back now, and I don’t know how I managed that.
Chad: [13:30] Same here.
Michael: [13:31] It’s a greater challenge now. I’m challenged more in my work now. There’s more topics that we could cover. There’s probably more things to think about, but it’s not just about DAM anymore. It is about the whole content lifecycle. That’s maybe the more exciting stuff.
[13:54] Maybe where topics will evolve is more towards where DAM is an aspect of what we’re talking about. It’s really about the creative process. It’s about the process on the Web, about content determination, content access and analytics, all these sort of things where it’s like DAM is sitting at the bottom and feeding out.
[14:15] It’s really a question of how it ties into a lot of much larger issues. That’s what I’m interested in talking about. It’s just a question of how we put it all together.
Henrik: [14:26] There’s going to be tons of that, as far as conversations and Meetups in the near future about that.
Michael: [14:31] That’s what we have to figure out. [laughs] For those of you listening in, that’s something that us three have to sit down and figure out. What are we going to talk about?
[14:42] As Chad mentioned, that also comes from our user group too and some of the great people that we have who are de facto advisors at this point, or thought leaders who help influence our thinking, as well.
Chad: [14:58] Not only has our work‑life situations become more complex, but the industry has gotten more complex. Our questions are more complex. When we started out, our questions about DAM were very simple.
[15:10] Now we’re thinking on a more complex level, fed by the work challenges that we’ve seen, but also the Meetups that we’ve seen other people present.
[15:23] I feel like the game’s gotten more complex. Reiterating Mike’s point, it’s no longer enough to just have one simple talk about metadata schemes, as one person did. That will be valuable, but man, there are so many more pressing issues now about file acceleration and system integrations. It’s a much more complicated world now. That makes the Meetups a little harder to plan, because you want to meet that raised bar.
Henrik: [15:51] We raise the bar ourselves within the group by being one of the groups that video record all our panel discussions. We got sponsorship for that as we mentioned earlier, and they’re available on YouTube for free. Just search on YouTube for NYC DAM, and you’ll find them.
[16:07] NYC DAM is based in Manhattan. We meet in Manhattan, specifically. You can find the Meetup on http://meetup.com/NYCdigitalassetmanagers. We invite you to join if you have interest in Digital Asset Management.
Chad: [16:22] Come and give us ideas. Share ideas, and share questions with us, because that’s where the next presentations come from.
Michael: [16:28] Also, thanks for all your support. Because if nobody shows up, we can’t do it.
Henrik: [16:33] It’s all about the numbers.
Chad: [16:34] Exactly. That’s the community. It’s not us. We just provide a soapbox, but if nobody’s there to listen to whoever’s on it, then there’s no point.
How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
You were recently awarded a fellowship on Digital Asset Management. Tell us more about this.
What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?
What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Henrik de Gyor: [0:01] This is Another DAM podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with JA Pryse. JA, how are you?
JA Pryse: [0:10] I’m good. Thank you for having me on, Henrik.
Henrik: [0:13] JA, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
JA: [0:17] I was hired by the Oklahoma Historical Society in 2010 to process the [00:23] Carmen Gee collection, which is a very large collection. By process I mean the manuscripts, audio, video, and photographs. The project contained over 91 linear feet of manuscripts, close to 350,000 images, 207 mixed audios, and a number of video and some recordings. My job was to digitize and process the collection.
[0:47] That was my first introduction into Asset Management.
Henrik de Gyor: [0:51] You were recently awarded a fellowship on Digital Asset Management. Tell us more about this.
JA: [0:57] Oklahoma is pretty new on the digitizing field, and we’re relatively new as far as policy and procedures go. Of course, we have a huge collection especially with the five million image Gateway to Oklahoma history newspaper project, and the OPUBCO collection that we do have.
[1:14] My proposal was surrounding long‑term Digital Asset Management. I felt the Smithsonian Institute Archives, the way that they run their program and the way that they manage their assets, is something that I definitely want to model and bring back to the Oklahoma Historical Society.
[1:32] The proposal I wrote was concerning that, and the research that I will do for two weeks while I am residing there.
Henrik: [1:39] Is this in Washington DC?
JA: [1:40] Yes, April 5th through the 19th this year .
Henrik: [1:44] Sounds very exciting.
JA: [1:45] It is. I’m looking forward to it, I’ve never been to Washington DC. My mission is to develop a management plan and best practice strategies for all of our assets that we have here.
Henrik: [1:55] Fantastic. What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?
JA: [2:00] For the Oklahoma Historical Society and for myself and my department, there is pretty much one person handling each media format. And of course, we always go through budget cuts and we’re the first one to be cut in the state since we are a state agency.
[2:18] There’s only one of me, and the ethics grant has a total of one scanner ‑‑ which is a part‑time scanner ‑‑ one part‑time indexer, one volunteer indexer and I. Also, I like to say I moonlight as an audio engineer, an archivist, but have taken a lot of classes and lot of educational steps to get into the audio engineering field and audio archiving in the oral history collection.
[2:45] Whenever we do acquire new audio collections such as the Clara Luper collection, where it was an audio tape…every one of Clara Luper’s…who’s an African‑American archivist in the region. She had a radio show. We acquired that collection. It had 19 linear feet of audio tapes and cassettes. We’re going to digitize those.
[3:07] The biggest challenge is not having more than one me to handle the newspaper project as well as the audio digitization projects that we have.
Henrik: [3:17] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
JA: [3:22] I spoke to a class this morning that was doing a tour of the archives that we have here at the Oklahoma Historical Society. I was asked the same question. What I spoke to them about is becoming more familiar with all digital formats as much as possible, taking as many classes as you can.
[3:40] I mentioned earlier taking classes in audio engineering, taking online classes in video and film production, and getting familiarized with library processes. All different kinds of scanning and digitization as well as the preservation of that material that we are digitizing.
[3:57] Whenever I speak to students or aspiring archivists, I always want to say, “Keep studying. Keep studying everything that you can. Build your knowledge base.” The more that we know about the material that we’re digitizing, the more beneficial we’re going to be with managing that material. Whenever we speak with community colleges or the different universities, I always like to say, “Concentrate on the efficiency as well. Quantity, quality, and efficiency.”
[4:28] I think that we become more efficient as digital assent managers as we educate ourselves more along the different processes, which is one of the reasons why I’m looking forward to going to the Smithsonian for that fellowship. It’s primarily to learn how we can manage our material better.
Henrik: [4:47] There’s still a lot of analog material out there to be digitized.
JA: [4:52] Absolutely. Now that it’s become the time…the archivists before us that have worked here with the Oklahoma Historical Society for 37 years or for 40 years. That material that they have taken care of is expiring. They’ve all retired now and left it to us, which is just the natural progression/evolution of all the material.
[5:11] We’ll do our part, and then in 30 or 40 years, somebody will come in and do their part. Things keep expiring. The new advances that we see every day, I believe…If we fall behind, we fall behind.
Henrik: [5:25] I’ve heard once it is digitized, it may be transferred into a different format eventually because to your point, before it gets expired.
JA: [5:33] Absolutely. One of the other things I was speaking to students this morning is the importance of having a master copy, an access copy, or clones of the master copy for different uses. Online use, copy use, press release use, all different sorts of uses, but securing that master copy just in case anything ever happens to the original format such as fire, flooding, or in our parts, tornadoes. But definitely to have that master copy.
Henrik: [6:05] Thanks, JA.
JA: [6:06] Thank you for having me, and I enjoy your podcast quite a bit.