Frank Milson


Frank Milson - Digital Asset Manager

Frank understands that one of the hurdles in digital asset management is the speed in which a new asset can be created. Streamlining the ingest process helps to reduce costs and improve efficiencies within a company.

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

One thing that I noticed about working in DAM for some time, is that I was working in DAM long before anyone knew to call it Digital Asset Management. I spent over a decade in corporate sales for CompUSA, selling the first laptops, servers, and computer equipment to Houston businesses.

One of the earliest concerns of many of my clients was how to scan, and otherwise digitize their paper processes. I was well familiar with the need for high speed scanning, high resolution imagery, and secure storage, as well as databases that made all of those assets rapidly accessible. All of this was immediately familiar to me when I came to Houston Community College (HCC) to do a job that basically, no one else wanted to do. After all – it was “just filing”!

HCC had already been using ImageNow for student documentation, and they were looking to expand that to the documentation they had been using for decades to process and track their physical inventories. My job became the process of ingesting the physical documents into a database, creating metadata for those documents (what we called “tags”), and process the physical documents for destruction. Ultimately, I was able to become the primary source for researching and delivering the electronic copies of those documents whenever they were needed, as well as using the database as a method of tracking physical inventories.

I was then offered an opportunity to work with Chevron in their Image Library project. A huge corporation such as Chevron has a ongoing need for business imagery, and they were used to accessing it directly from stock photography sources. The Chevron Image Library was created, using Telescope, to store stock images, manage licenses, and create a central database of imagery accessible to all employees. I worked as a liaison to their Information Design And Communications (IDC) in house agency, ingesting finished projects, sourcing permissions, linking images to their online originals, and creating first-level metadata.

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

The most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand is that the ultimate goal is to make the results accessible to the daily business user. A scanned document is just an image, and is useless to business purposes unless it can be applied to practical purposes, just like a file in a folder is just a piece of paper until it is found and used.

The creation of metadata is as important to the access of the document as an accurate scan. It is important to understand how your users will access the data, and thus the digital asset that the data represents.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

My ongoing greatest challenge with DAM is the speed, or the lack thereof, inherent in the translation process. It takes much longer to ingest and notate every single document, image, video, or audio clip than it is comfortable to discuss for budgetary purposes. Once it’s done, of course, it’s there forever, and can be accessed instantly, so the results are certainly there, and are tangible. For long periods of time, it doesn’t look like anything in particular is happening. DAM is definitely a background process.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

My biggest success in regards to DAM was when I was able to use our database to help the police track and identify a large number of stolen items. Before the process, all of those documents would have to have been physically pulled from files collated, annotated, and returned to storage. I was able to create a digital file from all the documents, and deliver to investigators within a day.


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This interview originally appeared on DAM Guru on Mon, 02 Mar 2015. For more DAM News interviews, see the interviews index page.

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