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Another DAM Podcast interview with Alice Cameron on Digital Asset Management

Alice Cameron discusses Digital Asset Management

Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor:  This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Alice Cameron. Alice, how are you?

Alice Cameron:  I am doing well, Henrik. How are you?

Henrik de Gyor:  Great. Alice, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Alice Cameron:  So I got involved with Digital Asset Management kind of haphazardly. I did my undergraduate degree in history and couldn’t quite decide what to do with that. I had always enjoyed library and archives, so decided to transfer that into a Masters in Library and Information Science [MLIS] at Dominican University, which is out in River Forest, Illinois. And from there, I actually had really good luck in my internship and ended up interning with WFMT radio to work with their Studs Terkel radio archive. So we worked in transcribing a lot of those interviews and it really opened my eyes to the world of what librarianship meant. And then I think unlike most grad students, was very luckily offered a position at McDonald’s global headquarters the day after I graduated with their DAM system. So something that I had never really known existed turned into my career. And from there, I began my work at Northwestern University.

Alice Cameron:  I currently run our Digital Asset Management system. I was brought on right before we signed with our vendor since we have over 36 marketing department alone and that’s outside of necessarily just regular schools and departments, each housing their own marketing content. It was very important that they had a centralized place where people were able to find what they needed and share what they needed, make sure it was stored properly. So it really went from the opposite that, that I am in, in global marketing, having this really incredible idea. And from there I implemented this system, I know run this system from day to day. There are a lot of different levels to have it. But my main approach and what encompasses all of it is kind of seeing the asset as a holistic life cycle and making sure that from creation to preservation we are handling the asset and the way that we should from beginning to end.

And now I’m also seeing, you know, we’re based that we can do that before the asset has even created. So, you know, when we’re scheduling photo shoots and things like that, making sure that for every step of the way, we’re doing all that we can to have it stored properly, to make sure that people are able to access what they need, to make sure that people cannot access what they’re supposed to and to use things in a way that are really going to help our brand, our help our university. So yeah, so a variety of different ways. I think as a DAM professionals see it.

Henrik de Gyor:  Alice, How does a premier research university use Digital Asset Management?

Alice Cameron:  So there are quite a few different ways. Really the most integral to us is, again, brand consistency. Making sure that, you know, since we do have so many different incredible institutions that we work with, having them all be able to access content immediately upon its creation and download it and use it in their marketing, in their presentations across the world. That’s really our main focus, for each of our schools, each of our departments and that encompasses all of our campuses. So since we are a universal university, we’re based in Qatar and we’re based in Evanston, in Chicago and also in San Francisco. So having a web platform where everybody can be on the same page, to make sure that our brand is being represented and the way that it should be is one of the best ways we can utilize the tool.

Henrik de Gyor:  What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Alice Cameron:  Just overall, again, I think that most people in the field can relate to it. There are again, just a lot of silos in organizations. It really needs to come from the top down. Throughout my career, I have seen it just kind of taper off though. So people are very excited about having a DAM and then the onboarding doesn’t go properly or people just kind of get stuck in workflows. It’s not necessarily anybody’s fault, but the way that DAMs are brought into any institution or organization. I think it’s really integral for that to be kind of a focus for anything to happen with it. You know you can buy a big expense system and if you don’t have anybody running it properly and you don’t have your employees or staff, they don’t have the ability to access things that they need to.

It’s not going to be used and it’s just kind of going to be another system that they have that they pay for that that doesn’t necessarily work for them. I think with that as well, having the professionals in the field, DAM is, in a lot of ways, it’s very old and it’s very new. So having people that have the right skill set is vital. I’ve been really, really fortunate to be able to partner with two different ALA-accredited library schools, graduate schools and to use their incredible students to help us with our system and to also kind of open up conversations with other organizations who need a DAM Professional. You know, there’s no real like here’s a website, go to here’s a here’s a degree that I can take. Things are popping up definitely, but there’s not kind of a, a strong group that is mandating or showing, you know, these are the necessary qualifications.

As I said earlier, kind of coming into this with a, with a library background, I didn’t know DAM existed, you know, I didn’t really realize what my degree would lead me to and when I look at it now, Oh wow, you know, this Masters in Library and Information Sciences [MLIS] is really a Masters in DAM for me. They’re all focusing now on, on metadata and taxonomy and all of these very integral things. And at the end of the day it’s so much about storing, preserving, getting access to information that’s really the highlight of librarianship, of being an archivist and also being a DAM professional. So I think just seeing kind of the crossover since so many people come into the field in different ways. A lot of photographers. Graphic designers. It really kind of fans all over the place. But I think the lack of having, you know, like kind of a central professional organization that can say, “Hey, look, here are the necessary qualifications for these people that you’ll want” can be definitely hard to overcome.

And it also makes it harder to explain to people what kind of, what we do when it’s often people are hired for a specific job and it ends up becoming something that DAM is the project, but then they are pulled into a lot of different directions and the DAM often loses its integrity and its usefulness. So I think it gets better explaining what the field requires of people is very important and I’d like to see that grow again. I’ve been able to do that, you know, with the students and connecting them with different groups. I know like Henry Stewart DAM, things like that are really great ways to kind of promote what will we do and show people how useful and you know, cost-effective it really is to have everything in one place. But yeah, I think that the struggle is really kind of the onboarding and also again, just showing people what it is that we do.

Henrik de Gyor:  And what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and become aspiring DAM professionals?

Alice Cameron:  I would definitely say not to plug librarianship too much, but a lot of these schools are transferring their program, the names like iSchool, you know, information school, because there is so much data out there and we need to figure out what to do with all of it. So my advice would be get a Masters in Library and Information Science and focus in on DAM. Then come and take a practicum or do an internship. I do think that that’s really useful. Also trying to find places to learn more from other professionals. So much of this is networking and talking to others in the field about what they do. I’m very lucky again to work at an incredible university that gives me the opportunity to talk to other professionals at other universities who are doing the same thing and we’re able to see what missteps are there. What can we do better? What areas are you working in that maybe we’re not utilizing that or not leveraging? So definitely for people who want to become DAM professionals, I would say just doing the research and finding out what I needed and also seeing things from, again, this kind of much higher level perspective of, you know, not getting stuck in editing metadata and things like that that are, that are very necessary and it’s so important, but seeing kind of the longterm goal of what we’re hoping to do with assets is vitally important.

Henrik de Gyor:  Thanks Alice

Alice Cameron:  You’re very welcome.

Henrik de Gyor:  For more on this, visit anotherdampodcast.com for another 200 episodes and transcripts of the interviews. 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 Deb Fanslow on Digital Asset Management

Listen to Deb Fanslow discuss Digital Asset Management

Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management (DAM). I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today, I was speaking with Deb Fanslow. Deb, how are you?

Deb Fanslow: Great. How are you?

Henrik de Gyor: Great. How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

Deb Fanslow:  I have a long career that got me where I am today. Currently, I’m in a role that seems to be following the trend in the industry. I’m working in Digital Asset Management, but also in a broader content management role which really looks at the end-to-end flow of content, more the digital supply chain type of analogy. What I focus on right now is a lot of not just getting content in the DAM and tagged, but content re-use of various types of assets not just your traditional marketing, but also a lot of communications. In my case, I work in the pharma industry so a lot of medical content which is really interesting to look out. I work with a lot of automation initiatives, workflow initiatives, looking a lot of metrics to see how content being reused, how we can optimize our system to increase that and increasingly a few of my more recent roles have been involved with modular content which are just starting to hear more about in the field. It seems to be inevitable when you’re talking about multichannel marketing campaigns that you really need to modularize your content instead of creating it from scratch and recreating it for 50 different channels. So it’s different types of content, different types of ecosystems, but it keeps me busy.

Deb Fanslow: My background actually I started as a graphic designer so I came into the field from the user standpoint I’d say as basically somebody who saw all the pain points working as a creative and got into being interested in managing the content and how we get it together. And I decided to move and to become a librarian and found my inner nerd and became a school library media specialist which I always tell people is one of the best training you can how to become a digital asset manager. Cause you’re dealing with people how they interface with your systems how they search their pain points. And it really gave me a good grounding and user experience. And for librarians, it’s really all about the user. So for me, that was wonderful. I worked my way through various industries because I actually wasn’t easy to get into DAM. I mean I worked in libraries, museums, archives, education field and really wanted to move over to the private sector. So I worked in e-commerce first a little bit. And now I pretty much have landed in Pharma which is great in New Jersey. But I I like to bring in that content that experience from other industries to really inform my current role.

Henrik de Gyor: What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Deb Fanslow: Well, how much time you have? You know, it’s interesting. I do keep tabs on the industry and what consultants are writing out there, what vendors are writing and practitioners and despite the volume of content on not just implementations but DAM programs. There’s still an awful lot to put in technology first. Instead of figuring out your workflows and your process and then choosing a tool to enhance that and on the other side been in situations where there is technology not fit for purpose that people are you trying to use a system that has some sort of repository and are trying to use that as a dam. And I would say on the people’s side staffing, staffing, staffing. I’ve been in situations as well where you know they expect this the child to do everything and they don’t have the people behind it not just to administrate the system which has become more of a focus lately.

Deb Fanslow: But you really really need somebody in that QC (quality control) role because your data is everything. And I believe there was a recent Henry Stewart conference where somebody mentioned something that really stuck to me and it was you can integrate your systems all you want but if that data is not good that you’re sending along then there’s no point. So my feeling is process and the actual information architecture that’s something that you can always work on and progressively improve. But if you don’t have the people and the right tool then you’re in trouble. So I’d say for challenges that’s been my personal experience. On the bright side, some of the successes I’ve seen again are looking at the industry and I think that the vendors and the organizations finally realizing that DAM is not just a repository. It’s part of your supply chain and it needs to be integrated.

Deb Fanslow: And one of the things that I really like is yes at least in the private sector print departments but it really gained steam in marketing which is great because they had to the heavy pockets. But I’m just starting to hear a peeps about DAM become an centralized service which is where I think it’s going to be most successful and strong organizations where that has been the case I have seen more success not just in managing the content but the rights around it and then working with cross-functional teams to really manage the end to end content management flow, not just rich media.

Henrik de Gyor:  Deb, you started the DAM directory. Tell us more about this resource.

Deb Fanslow: I actually had to look up some stats. I didn’t realize myself that I started it way back in 2014 which sounds like a long time ago. I have seven guides published right now and what people don’t see is there’s 14 more in the back end that I’ve been working on for some time that might debut this year or next. It does take a long time to put context around the links but essentially what the DAM directory is it’s basically a compilation of the massive amounts of resources I collected through when I was getting my MLIS degree which is a Master’s in library and information science. So when I get overwhelmed I like to curate only what I need and get rid of the rest and put it somewhere that I can access. So it started out really as a professional resource for myself and figured you know what I need something in the cloud that makes sense to me is easy to find things and I can use it at any job because I’m a big fan of offloading information so I don’t have to try to memorize all. And. It occurred to me that social bookmarking sites were not going to cut it. I’m a librarian so I do like hierarchy. So I was a fan more of this directory site as I had seen it used for reference guides and academic libraries and I decided to approach the vendor and ask them if I could use it for a project that would help them advertise their platform. And wouldn’t you know the DAM directory was born. So we average about 550 views a month for all the guides combined.

Deb Fanslow: And even just looking at last year we had over 7,000 views total so I’d say it’s been a success. And one of the things I tried to do with that is to get others in the industry involved because A) I don’t know everything B) there’s just so much information out there and everyone has different strengths. The problem is we all have day jobs as well. So so far it’s pretty much just me. But one of the really interesting things like Yeah it’s out there you can go look and it’s you know you do keep it up to date the best that I can. But people can go in there and really get a sense of the industry and how it’s changing like I see blogs come and go as the conferences come and go different books are being published. I mean it’s really a great place to get a page the pulse of the industry as well.

Deb Fanslow: From my memory which I’ve already established is not that great. We have a basic guide on what I call corporate DAM which is really the private sector which I struggled with for a while because I mean DAM is DAM across all industries. But there really are different conferences and different books and different frameworks that people within different industries develop. So this one receives the most traffic. I’ve got others just specifically on topics like metadata. I have one coming up on taxonomy. I’ve got one on DAM vendors which is very popular and DAM education which is very overwhelming that one is still constantly throwing things in there. And I believe there is one coming. It’s not there already on basic tools and processes that you might use in adjunct with your DAM system for data crunching and all sorts of things. But there’s a variety of stuff on there and I do take requests if there’s something that people are interested in they want to send me some resources then I’m always open for that. You can reach that at damdirectory.libguides.com

Henrik de Gyor: Deb, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Deb Fanslow: You know what. This is a great question and I’m actually very passionate about helping people find what they want to do in their life and mentoring people and just bringing awareness and advocacy for the field because it really presents a great opportunity for folks who have creative backgrounds or marketing backgrounds to leverage that experience in Digital Asset Management where it is critical for you to understand how content is created and how it’s marketed, how it moves through various workflows and even how it’s distributed. So. I’ve typically found people who are most successful in DAM have multiple backgrounds. I mean yes you can go to library school or you know you can be a graphic designer, photographer, but you typically need to combine you know I.T. skills with content skills and people skills. So for me I mean there’s so many different ways to get into that field speaking out to folks who want to enter.

Deb Fanslow:  My advice is always for people who contact me is something similar to a consultant told me five years ago is to start by managing your own collection and get experience anywhere you can. I would say if you have the means volunteer, find a mentor, attend meetups. One of the resources that isn’t quite as broadly promoted is a Google Group called DAM Peeps and it’s actually listed in the directory. But if you look it up on Google, it’s a site that is tailored for DAM administrators and consultants. Sorry vendors, we do limit it to non-commercial members but it’s I’m actually really proud of that because it’s a place where even solo administrators especially can go out and say “Hey, is anyone dealing with this or how do we deal with this? Do you have any advice on this topic?” and it’s become a very active group. Right now we have a little over 30 members, but I’m hoping that others can join because a lot of information professionals and DAM administrators they work alone and people might not always understand what they do and there’s not always a source of wisdom for all the little intricacies of the job. So I take my last year of advice for the people looking to get an is to tailor, tailor, tailor your past experience or the type of job you’re looking for. So research the job listings out there. Don’t just blindly submit your resume that you’ve been using for the last 10 years in a different industry that is not going to work. So for the folks who are in the industry, just don’t stop learning. I mean really there is so much to learn. You really just can’t afford to sit around and do the same thing you are doing today and tomorrow.

Henrik de Gyor: Great. Well thanks, Deb. For more on this, visit AnotherDAMpodcast.com. If you have any comments or questions, please send them to anotherdamblog@gmail.com. Thanks again.

 


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Another DAM Podcast interview with Stacey McKeever on Digital Asset Management

Transcript:

Henrik de Gyor: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today, I’m speaking with Stacey McKeever.

Stacey, how are you?

Stacey McKeever: I’m fine, Henrik. How are you?

Henrik de Gyor: Good. Stacey, how are you involved with digital asset management?

Stacey McKeever: To just give you some background, I have a masters in library and information science, so I’m an actual librarian, and the way I’m involved with digital asset management. Currently, I am the Manager of Digital Asset Management at Team One. I worked in some sort of digital asset management for 20 years, and I fell backwards into it from library school.

I found out I was a latent techie, and I like that side of library-ship, information, professional situations, whatever you want to call it. It’s been a natural progression from librarian into doing things like cataloging, indexing, and just making sure that people can find assets. Also, my undergrad was in social psychology, so it really ties in together.

Henrik de Gyor: Great. Stacey, how does an advertising agency use digital asset management?

Stacey McKeever: It depends on the agency. My particular agency, we use it as a delivery system for our art creatives, as well as a repository, so that people can review and take a look at assets and repurpose the collateral that we created in previous years. It’s also used in some parts of an archive, so we can go back and pull up previous assets from many years ago in order to be able to reuse them for anniversary pieces or other types of case studies, things of that nature.

Henrik de Gyor: Great. What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with digital asset management?

Stacey McKeever: The biggest challenge I see with digital asset management, in some ways its moving from its infancy into adolescence, and people still seem to think of digital asset management in the same way that they can manage their iTunes or, I think I’ve just dated myself, or Spotify or their files on their desktop or anything like that, that anybody can do it.

Really, digital asset management, part of it is a mindset because the way I see it is I have to be able to understand my user and be able to think like they think, and so there’s that point where it’s seen as it can be tacked on to the very end, as opposed to really thinking about it as the robust portion of the company that can support the workers much better, as well as, in some cases, possibly be a monetary stream that can be used to help go to their bottom line.

Some of the biggest successes I’ve seen is that it’s starting to grow and that people are starting to understand that, “Oh, wait, the assets that we have are really important, and we can use them and they can be re-purposed, and we can put them out and hold onto to them, more or less, ad infinitum.”

Another big challenge I see, I keep going back and forth, is that in some ways because we’ve been Googlized, everyone thinks that digital asset management is as simple as putting just a couple of words into a system and it’ll pull up exactly what you want, and that’s not the case. The big challenge with digital asset management is for people to understand that there is work involved when you have a digital asset system or when you are doing digital asset management. There is that human portion of it. It’s not just all technology.

Henrik de Gyor: Good points. What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

Stacey McKeever: Some advice that I would like to give is that you need to have in some ways pretty thick skin. People will underestimate what you can do and what type of benefit you can bring to the situation. I like to say that as part of my training as a librarian, I have a very high tolerance pain level for searching, and so that’s one of the skills that you’re able to develop. This ability to be able to search as well as being able to conceptualize what the DAM needs and what your user base needs.

As for aspiring DAM professionals, whatever you have in your background, bring it into your DAM life. It’s part of your toolkit. It will keep you in good stead, and it’ll come up in very strange and odd ways, so don’t forget what you know, just bring it into what you’re doing to enhance what you know.

Henrik de Gyor: Great. Thanks, Stacey.

Stacey McKeever: You’re welcome. Thank you.

Henrik de Gyor: For more on this, visit anotherdamblog.com. For 190 other podcast episodes, visit 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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