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The Value Of Digital Assets From A Collections Management Perspective

by Ralph Windsor on April 8, 2016

Ricky Patten, of Australian DAM resellers and consulting group,  DataBasics has written an in-depth article about digital assets and their relationship with museum Collections Management, with specific reference to the SPECTRUM specification established by Collections Trust.

In my experience, the reasoning behind an organisation implementing a DAMS is all about the very nature of the digital assets / content / media that is being managed and what that organisation is intending to achieve by managing these assets. In light of this, the nature of digital asset management and digital assets becomes much clearer as the media provides opportunities for the organisation to leverage the content embedded within the media and the DAMS must support this process. For most organisations, if there is a clear intent to provide public access to digital surrogates of their collection items, then the DAMS must have an active role in achieving this. In many cases the DAMS is not the solution but rather the supporting infrastructure that facilitates the solution.” [Read More]

This is an expertly written article and Ricky covers the subject in considerable depth, but it’s all useful stuff and is packed with insight.  He discusses a number of topics, most notable for me was the section on digital asset value as this is a topic that continuously comes up, in particular this quote:

For a collections organisation that is following an open access policy, the value is not necessarily just in the asset itself, but also in the added benefit of having the digital assets in common circulation, freely available for access.” [Read More]

One point not often widely acknowledged is that there is some read-across from non-commercial DAM use-cases (like museums etc) to other sectors, including marketing.  I usually advise my clients to try to study some of the available material about DAM and Collections Management because it’s usually got more hard information that you can apply for any DAM initiative.

In the last few years, the quality of the available learning resources for DAM outside the culture/heritage realm has generally been poor and excessively focussed on the basic details that many DAM users can figure out fairly quickly on their own (pearls of wisdom like ‘digital assets need metadata’ etc – I’m sure most readers know what I mean).  The reason for this is because it’s cheap for vendors and consultants to produce because anyone who can string a few sentences together can be put to work generating the copy.  The trouble with having volumes of low-value, dumbed-down content being pushed indiscriminately at anyone with a pulse is that it devalues the rest of the DAM market and gives end users tasked with some complex problem the impression that there isn’t anyone who knows how to help them solve the thornier issues that will come up with DAM initiatives.  As Ricky’s article should make it clear, there definitely are people who know what they are doing in our field and have the requisite expertise to assist you; part of our remit at DAM News is to make sure you know that they exist and who they are.

DataBasics have a webinar on 19th April about this subject for those who are interested: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2919264218290694404 .  Since they are based in Australia, the timing of the event looks like it might present a bit of a challenge for some (in the UK and Europe, at least) but I would guess there will be a recording of it.  I’ve exchanged a few conversations with Ricky in the past via LinkedIn etc and he’s very approachable and keen to help people out.

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