Don Middlebrook


Don Middlebrook - Sr. Analyst – Digital Asset Management

Having worked for three major enterprise companies, Middlebrook knows the value of a solid digital asset management system is derived from sound taxonomy structures.

What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?

I have worked as a Digital Asset Management professional with three companies. The first one was with Baker Hughes an oil and gas company. And the second was with ContinentalAirlines/United Airlines. I started off as a contractor with Continental, then the two companies merged. Currently, I am Associate Product Development Manager with Hyatt Hotels.

At Baker Hughes I was a Web Content Specialist and maintained all of the assets from marketing materials to the source files and illustrations for those documents. The company used the system called MediaBin. I started off as an illustrator for the company coloring the engineering drawings of the tools the company produced. From there I placed each image on the intranet on individual pages in order for the marketing and engineering employees to have a single place to retrieve the assets.  This was the dawning of my DAM career.

With Continental/United they also Used MediaBin as their DAM tool. But my job there was much more extensive than with the previous company. Not only did I maintain marketing assets (web campaign assets) but also the photos and licenses for all the source photography. I set up and maintained the brand design teams SharePoint. And also managed the brand portal. This was the point of contact for the company for all branded assets such as logos, photography, brand statements and guidelines. I also helped with the setting up the taxonomy for the assets and created new metadata fields as the company assets and needs evolved. One way that it evolved was with the integration with the CMS from the web production team. We used MediaBin to store all assets and used the CMS to pull assets into templates that would then get pushed to the website.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

My description of digital asset management has evolved over the years because of the change in type of management I have done. I originally just told people that I maintain files in a database and added meta tags to the files so that they are searchable.  These days I go into more detail on what all I manage, such as photography and all of its derivatives. I explain that I also manage the licenses for the photography and describe how those licenses differ from agency to agency. And I explain about the brand portal and how managing those assets in one central website allows for easy access from internal employees and external agencies to the companies branded assets and content.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I was doing DAM before I even knew of the term. It was only until the company purchased MediaBin that I came to understand what DAM was and what it meant for a company to start managing assets. And from there it has just been a continuing learning process. For me DAM blogs have been my main source for information.

What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?

Being thoughtful about setting up proper taxonomies and metadata is important. It took me a while to understand that concept. Because I was the only person overseeing the digital assets I created taxonomies and metadata based on how easy it would be for me to find assets. I quickly found out that it wasn’t about how easy it was for me to locate assets, rather it was more about being thoughtful in how the end user would search for files…and customizing the data for their benefit.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

My biggest success with DAM is in continuing to grow my career by expanding outside of just maintaining files within one system but across many systems. With my last positions I oversaw the DAM along with the companies brand portal and I was reaching out to other groups to utilize the system for their work as well. The DAM was also integrated with the CMS for easy access to files that would be pushed to the web. In essence I was working towards creating a corporate solution for managing all files.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

Learning is what makes you a stronger in the field. I attend conferences, read blogs and network with others in the field to learn more about DAM. My main goal is to learn from what others are doing with their DAM in order to draw inspiration on how I will use a DAM.


This interview originally appeared on DAM Guru on Mon, 06 Oct 2014. For more DAM News interviews, see the interviews index page.

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