- Adaptive metadata
- Centralised Control Vocabulary
- Updated dashboard with social media features
- Live collections
- More versatile asset subscription notifications
- Updated search interfaces
- Enhanced API
We are spared the ‘boss-quote’ (as we have begun to refer to them here at DAM News) and the overview is spin-free and just tells you what it does that is new. A few vendors are beginning to catch on to this superior method of communicating with their end users now (which is definitely welcome).
This from the ‘adaptive metadata’ feature which caught my attention:
“Without proper and complete metadata, a digital asset management system is nothing more than just another place to lose your files. DAM software has traditionally forced users to think in terms of a single metadata schema that’s applied to all digital assets in the system, but Picturepark 8.4 does away with this limitation by enabling you to apply (and safely remove) metadata layers at any time, to individual assets or groups of assets.” [Read More]
From what I can tell, this allows administrators to define different fields based on asset scenarios. One of the more common ones might be asset type, so as the product info says: “no more video duration metadata for your Word documents”. The slicing and dicing of the schema seems to go further than that, so it’s also possible to customise what is accessible by user role/group and asset status (or ‘content lifecycle’ as they describe it – possibly more accurately). I have seen these features on some DAM systems – mostly higher-end proprietary apps, but a couple of open source ones too. For preservation CMS (Collection Management Systems) they are usually an essential feature as the items being catalogued usually have their own separate description sub-taxonomy which has to be connected to the rest of the artefact or asset record.
A point worth checking for anyone interested in this feature is the User Interface and how easy it is to operate for that task especially. On some of the other products I have used, these multi-schema metadata models can get fairly complicated and remembering exactly what was specified for each scenario becomes a problem. Software developers usually find the interfaces for these features to be hard work, so that part can get skimped on by some and they also frequently don’t get tested as extensively as they should either.
A general point I would recommend for evaluations of any DAM system (not just this one) is to check the usability of the more sophisticated features as these can reveal what the candidate app behaves like when used for the more tricky tasks of the type that you will almost certainly find yourself having to get involved in at some stage. The more commonly used parts like search, catalogue etc are, of course, essential, but it is possible to get a bit blasé about the capabilities of a given system and extrapolate all kinds of illusions about what it is capable of (a problem which afflicts vendor sales personnel as much as their prospective customers I have noticed too!).
Setting aside that potential caveat, this upgrade looks reasonably extensive and it’s good to see that Picturepark don’t go in for point release inflation where the numbers get notched up without very much changing.