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Understanding Why DAMs Are More Like Libraries Than You Realise

by Ralph Windsor on December 9, 2016

Denzil Ford of DAM vendorMediaValet has contributed a feature article to DAM News entitled: Why Do We Call DAM A “Library” For Digital Assets?  The piece speculates that the description of DAMs as being like ‘libraries’ is more accurate than many might realise and, as such, understanding the true nature of the comparison is key to grasping the potential of DAM:

I’ve pondered on this a while, and here’s what I think: a DAM absolutely is a central collection, but when we talk about it being a “library,” this messaging actually calls to the ways in which a DAM is similar to a physical library, as in a building that holds books. In these highly-valued public locations, societies gather. They learn. They create, raise the next generation, and make change. Just like a library isn’t just about storage, a DAM isn’t just about collecting digital files – at least not exclusively. It’s about organizing, governing, connecting, sharing and building. Like a library, a DAM holds a lot of stuff from yesterday, but in practice it is really all about tomorrow. ” [Read More]

I have read a few items advocating dropping the term ‘library’ in relation to DAM based on an incomplete understanding of what they really are.  This is not a view I agree with, but I might have held it also until I gained a better appreciation of libraries as knowledge exchanges, rather than some of the more out-of-date and superficial characteristics that most people associate with the term (shelves of books etc).  In addition to Denzil’s article, Deb Fanslow’s feature series: Who Needs a DAM Librarian? Part I: Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are is worth reading as well (for anyone who has not already).  The subject is approached from quite a different perspective, but the implications in relation to understanding Digital Asset Management and getting the most out of it are similar.

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