Using MD5 checksums (or hashes) to identify if a file is unique has become de-rigueur for most DAM solutions these days. There are many ad-hoc uses for them outside a more comprehensive system, however, and human managers of digital assets need to be aware of what tools and techniques are available should the need arise.
David Riecks writing on ControlledVocabulary.com offers this useful summary of how to use MD5 utilities (on both the mac and PC) to identify the checksums of your digital files. He also discusses some additional uses, in particular the ability to find out if a storage volume is potentially corrupt and also whether or not files have been tampered with:
“There are a few file transfer utilities, or synchronization software applications that may use some form of checksum or other operation to verify file transfers. However any results from that transfer is only useful for that single operation. The Checksums results (or hashes) created using t he tools mentioned below can be stored with the file for future reference, or for other purposes such as discovering exact duplicates. In this tutorial, you will learn how you can create MD5 Checksums using free utilities on the Mac OSX or Windows platform in order to verify file transfers.” [Read More]