Time For A Statement Of DAM Core Values?

Ian Matzen wrote an article with the title: Statement of Core Values on his Tame Your Assets blog about a month ago, but I have only just got the opportunity to read it properly and write a response.  The post is timely because there are a number of DAM standards initiatives in circulation currently:

The motivation for forming statement of such a value system involves altruism as well as self interest. Values make our profession stronger and lead to more jobs while holding us to a higher business standard. Furthermore, they help us manage technical change and provide the tools to define how best to manage the digital assets of tomorrow.  Like any standard, a formal statement of DAM core values will encourage practitioners to adopt an agreed-upon level of service that our users and employers will come to expect and value. Eventually their codification will help DAM business reach the next level of maturity.” [Read More]

Ian presents three examples:

  • Technology and service
  • The user
  • Quality

These are a good start.  I would take issue with the third one about quality:

We could state our commitment to curate collections and information sources of the highest possible quality.”

This is more because I have a project management background where the level of quality is something that you are supposed to specifically define and it might not necessarily be the highest if there is some other business priority which has to take priority over it to achieve another objective which is assessed to be more critical.  For example, if you have to catalogue one million assets in a four week timeframe, the quality of the metadata applied will have to be sacrificed in order to finish the job before the deadline expires.  That is really nit-picking over the semantics of what Ian is suggesting though and I suspect these are posed as examples of what topics such a statement might encompass rather than the definitive text itself.

There are two other current standards initiatives that I am aware of in DAM (at least those that have the support of authoritative non-commercial interests).  The first is the Ten Standards Badge the DAM Foundation have been working on.  The other is the OASIS CMIS4DAM interoperability standard, which is currently in pre-approval draft stage and looking for co-proposers.  While both are sorely needed and there are tentative steps to link them up, the focus is on DAM technology and software, especially CMIS4DAM.

As an industry, DAM would benefit from something like a universally acknowledged statement of core values of the type Ian describes which covers not only the tools, but also the best practices of what you do with them (i.e. include guidance for DAM users such as digital asset managers).  As everyone interested enough to still be reading this article will be well aware, your DAM strategy (or lack of it) sets the tone for the rest of the implementation, such that even if the software products used are not as effective as they should be, you usually get a better result than those that have splashed out on highly sophisticated applications but not properly considered how to apply them.  A statement of core values should be the first item on the list of issues to consider and we collectively need some examples that can be debated and then subsequently re-used by anyone who has to deliver a DAM implementation as an inspiration for preparing their own.

If anyone has some possible suggestions for prospective core DAM values (in addition to those already made by Ian)  please feel free to post them in the comments.

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