SearchDataManagement.co.uk has an interview with Mike Gunton, Executive Director of The BBC’s Natural History Unit where he describes the rationale behind the corporation’s Digital Media Initiative (DMI) which is at the core of its Digital Asset Management strategy. Unsurprisingly, the natural history unit’s metadata and archival requirements are ‘at the extreme end’ (i.e. demanding) and have lead the way in terms of cataloguing sophistication. Mike describes how The BBC employs different metadata and classification strategies to archive footage based on the type of material it is and how likely it is to be retrieved and for what purpose:
“The data management needs across the corporation are varied, said Gunton, making a system that meets everyone’s needs a challenge to find. “Metadata design is at an extreme with Natural History.” The BBC in Bristol, where the Unit has had its home since 1957, has petabytes of data with a huge archive value, whereas the BBC in London will shoot footage that will never need to be seen again. “And so, a deep and complex metadata approach will only be applied to certain projects. So, maybe not a studio insert for the One Show, but news footage shot in Libya three months ago might need to be retrieved at some future point.‘” [Read More]
The perspective is an interesting one and there are a number of useful pointers for Digital Asset Managers. Most notable for me was the recognition that metadata strategy needs to be segmented according to the type of asset and a value judgement made about how much effort should be invested into the cataloguing of it. One wonders how many times that judgement is subsequently proven to be accurate and the consequences for asset users as a result. As the scale of DAM systems increases, I expect this to increasingly be an important consideration in DAM design (at the metadata level more than the underlying system) and potentially the cause of some future conflicts within organisations as some assets are deemed more ‘worthy’ than others of time being spent on storage of them.
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