Guru Talk: Laurel Calsoni – Digital Archivist
Working in digital asset management for a variety of companies over the past 10 years, Calsoni knows the value of keeping tabs on the industry and staying up on trends through several leading DAM news providers.
What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?
I have always worked in the advertising and graphic arts industry in some capacity.
Long before I had ever heard the term DAM or Digital Asset Management I worked at an ad agency, Harrison Wilson, as an Art Buyer/Digital Archivist. That was the first time I had “Digital Archivist” in my title. At that time all assets were organized on a server and in a physical archive. As a hands-on digital archivist I applied the trade within the boundaries of a taxonomy and schema on a server. I loved it. Portfolio made a presentation to us on the concept of using a DAM. Unfortunately, the dotcom bust happened, the agency closed and Portfolio was never instituted.
I really got to know DAM and digital archiving through an Assistant Photo Archivist position I held at Chevron. I was part of a large team, each person offering a different set of skills, to build a huge new company-wide DAM system. The strategy of building this DAM was well planned, well organized, and took 2 years to implement. The tasks at this position were very hands-on, such as the digitizing of incredible photography and, to this day, some of my favorites.
For 5 years I held the position of Digital Archivist at Landor, working with servers, a tangible repository, a DAM and historical assets. I had tools and varied assets to work with from design files to photography to historical.
Most recently I was a Digital Asset Manager for MRM McCann. And, for the record, I will mention that for years I archived for a landscape architect who still did blueprints outside of CAD.
How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?
Self-taught. I learned on the job. It was a natural segue from the old school methods of organizing and tracking information, data and assets: databases and spreadsheets.
If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?
Working with DAM’s cousin, the eCommerce platform in some capacity.
What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?
My problem with DAM stems from DAM staffing – lack of or just lopsided. It seems that companies are willing to license and install the DAM software but stop short of having a proper DAM team in place for the initiative. There are requests for managers to lead a DAM effort but not to implement. My question is, who then is doing all of the work? As a hands-on digital archivist, my love is the content and I want to stay as close to the assets as possible.
What is your vision for DAM? What will it look like in 5 years?
I don’t know where DAM will be in 5 years, the industry is evolving so quickly. However, I do know that wherever DAM goes I want to be there – surrounded by oodles of digital assets. Cataloging, metadata, tagging, organizing, tracking, ingesting them into a DAM. This would be a super modern state-of-the-art DAM, of course, with API-palooza. Throw in a tangible assets archive and/or repository and I will be in heaven.
This interview originally appeared on DAM Guru on Mon, 17 Nov 2014. For more DAM News interviews, see the interviews index page.Share this Article: