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Why Upgrade to Cumulus 10?

Why Upgrade to Cumulus 10?

It’s not just operating systems that evolve – your digital asset management investment needs to do more than just keep up with the changes in technology. By taking advantage of new features and improvements is user interface design and functionality with new releases, you can extend your focus to engaging more directly with your team and your customers through faster, smoother interfaces, quick sharing via social media and easy mobile device accessibility.

For those who have not upgraded to the latest version of Cumulus, there are a number of compelling reasons why it will be worth it – Portals, controlled vocabularies, a new Mobile App, and the new InDesign Client –  to name but a few.

Portals – the next level display and distribution interface

Cumulus Sites was Canto’s first step in developing a public-facing interface that provided clean displays and easy distribution capabilities for digital assets. With the increasing use of iphones and ipads inside and outside the workplace and the need for an interface that is responsive on any device, Portals is Canto’s answer for easy and efficient website scaling on all platforms using Bootstrap and HTML5.  Portals employs Search Engine Optimisation which means your digital assets becomes quickly findable across the web through the regular web search engines. Large hi-res and multipage previews are available and you can create collections and send large files fast either by email or a link for secure, seamless transfer.

Portals allows for much broader customisation so your logo and branding can be much stronger to match your other public-facing interfaces such as your website. Portals eventually will replace Sites but you can have both interfaces installed and choose between them. Portals only runs on Cumulus 10 but Sites can also run on a Cumulus 10 server. Read more…

Improved Mobile App

The new Cumulus Mobile App has been re-written to provide much more functionality than the older Mobile Client. It mirrors the new look and feel of Portals and is totally responsive to your iOS device. Although it now comes bundled with Cumulus, those of you looking to upgrade will still need to purchase the license to use the Mobile App – but the many benefits are obvious.

Mobile App provides the same functionality as the full Cumulus Client… so you can search, comment, collaborate, markup, review, approve, upload and download content anytime, anywhere! Read more

Do you need a Controlled Vocabulary?

One of the many reasons people start out down the DAM track is to stop the proliferation of images and the inability to find  the required image or asset quickly – with subsequent duplication as a result. A controlled vocabulary goes a long way to assist with the correct identification of assets so they are findable and therefore reusable.

With Cumulus 10 comes the ability to import or setup your own vocabulary or taxonomy of terms that restricts the choice of indexing terms to only those keywords in a specified list and improves metadata input for later asset retrieval. This results in faster searches and searching in a more organised way.

Cumulus 10 introduces a new field “Vocabulary” and a special catalog called $Vocabularies. Once the Vocabulary field type is enabled, Cumulus will only allow the use of those search terms included in your predefined vocabulary list. For each vocabulary field in a Cumulus catalog, the administrator can specify the vocabulary (or the vocabularies) that can feed this field. Importing existing controlled vocabulary schemes into the $Vocabularies catalog works as simple as importing categories. Read more in Canto’s blog

InDesign Client – the best DAM InDesign integration

If there was ever a reason to upgrade, then the new Cumulus InDesign Client has to be top of the list for creatives and designers. This brand new Cumulus 10.1 release offers similar and more functionality than the original InDesign Companion that was released over 5 years ago. The recent Cumulus option, Adobe Drive Adapter, allows creatives to work with all Adobe’s products that use Bridge such as Illustrator and Photoshop as well as InDesign, but InDesign Client provides two-way communication between your Cumulus and InDesign – to reduce errors, simplify workflow and keep content fresh.

Some of the features includes a Categories panel that shows the Category tree of all open catalogs, a Records panel to select specific assets, an Information panel that shows all metadata of the record selected, and a Preview panel. Revert back to older versions of an asset as needed at any time, and all files used are uploaded and tracked automatically as related assets eliminating the need to hunt for, or relink, assets when another person opens the InDesign file. This ability to reference the used assets is significant as you can see at a glance exactly where they have been used. Read more

And there’s more!

There are other features and improvements that come with Cumulus 10 that help to make an upgrade worthwhile – from Custom Asset Relationships through to Category handling via drag n drop.

Asset Relationships refer to the links between related files and versions of files, eg PDFs from Word docs, consent forms with images, graphics used in Office or InDesign docs – these can be identified in Cumulus either as ‘contained’ or ‘referenced’ assets – similarly, ‘variants’ and ‘alternates’ identify assets that are created as variations or alternatives to the original. With Cumulus 10 you can now create your own custom relationships based on the type of asset or any other criteria that suits your business.

Category handling via drag and drop is simply the ability to update a category tree automatically or provide a dialogue box to determine the outcome when dragging & dropping records making it an easy job to add assets to your catalogue.

Last but not least, Cumulus Web Client now offers Print Templates for printing a selection of assets as contact sheets. The selection of assets can result from a search, a collection, or be individually selected. Select or deselect multiple files in a row by using the Shift / Click selection option.

Summary and References

To sum up, Cumulus 10 offers existing users a way to move forward with their existing digital asset management system and take advantage of the changes in technology and new ways of working.

Some useful references are:
Blog entries: Custom Asset Relationships
What are Cumulus Portals?
Cumulus and InDesign Client
How to Create Your Own Controlled Vocabulary
Metadata, Controlled Vocab and your DAM

Cumulus X Features – datasheet.

DAM for Government: Digital Asset Management for the Public Sector

DAM for Government: Digital Asset Management for the Public Sector

When your CMS or Picasa just won’t do

Public sector IT service delivery is complex and good governance practices are enabling for agencies trying to comply with policies and strategies. The management, secure access and distribution of digital media is increasingly important throughout the public sector, and at all levels.

Some of the media-specific requirements that a digital asset management solution handles are:
• asset version control
• generating derivatives and variants for re-use and re-purposing
• adding and controlling metadata
• approvals and permissions for use
• on-the-fly editing and collaborative content production
• media sharing controls
• expiry and archival mechanisms.

Every government agency, utility and educational organisation needs to understand the media management challenges of having a single source of truth for all content, and asset life cycle planning. Building a digital repository or image library for internal, public and/or cross-agency use requires the consideration of a range of issues prior to the implementation of such a system. Digital assets in all of their forms are vital to a future-proof content marketing strategy and for the sharing of services across agencies.

IT Infrastructure

Platforms• Are you looking at cloud hosting or Software as a Service (SaaS) to speed your delivery without  internal IT and management costs?
• Are you concerned about privacy and data security and prefer an on-premise solution?
• Do you need to provide mobile access for services delivery?

Agencies need a DAM solution that is fit for purpose – in the cloud vs on-premise; lightweight or enterprise-scale – with the related risks and benefits clearly known. Without a structured approach to managing digital data, agencies are exposed to risks and staff performance is hampered. Implementing a sound digital asset management strategy enables agencies better able to take control, improve responsiveness, allow for effective delivery of services and provide better and more transparent record-keeping.

Integration with existing systems and applications

Digital asset management is not just about software. It’s more about developing a process and workflow that enables people to work from within existing applications – for example, InDesign and Microsoft Office for designers, marketers, publishers and web content managers.

It is also about the ability for agencies to leverage their existing investment in content management, collection management, records management systems and ERP / service applications. Then there is the ability to authorise and manage users via LDAP authentication and other protocols.

Digital asset life cycle management

asset_lifecycleManaging the life cycle of a digital asset is as important as managing that of a physical asset, or any other item of value in government.  Michael Moon, GISTICS CEO,  in his article Activity lifecycle of digital assets,  details all the many and often repeated steps required for asset creation, use, management, distribution, re-use and archiving.  “DAM means digital workflows” he writes, and asks: “What makes a digital file an asset? A simple question with a deceptively simple answer –  findability and re-usability.”

So how do we make it findable and reusable? The cataloging and indexing of a digital asset is a major component of the life cycle as it through this process that the asset becomes discoverable through the search and retrieve process. A good digital asset management system will retrieve as much information as possible embedded in the file itself when it is cataloged to minimise the manual adding of metadata.

Asset discovery via metadata – using controlled vocabularies versus keywording or tagging

Image and document classification can be undertaken in a number of ways according to workflow, usage and search requirements. Applying a controlled vocabulary or formal classification scheme help to achieve the standardisation of search terms and minimise errors in cataloging – but the ability for users to add their own keywords and tags can improve usage and identify unique aspects of an asset.

Some of the questions that need to be asked are:
• What metadata needs to be extracted for identification? eg thumbnail, filename, type, size etc
• What standards have been identified for legal compliance requirements and successful searching? eg IPTC, AGLS
• What additional metadata is required to be added eg captions, dates, etc
• Is a formal taxonomy or controlled vocabulary required to ensure correct grouping and classification?
• Is there a style guide for production of documents and images that includes preferred file types, size, quality etc.
• Is public keywording or informal tagging a viable option?

Ownership, intellectual property and copyright issues need to be identified at the outset when user permissions are set up. Consent forms need to be linked to the relevant media and clearly identified.


There are obviously a number of key issues to explore when planning a digital asset management initiative – it requires thoughtful analysis of requirements and workflows to determine the correct strategy prior to moving forward.

Written by Linda Rouse, Information Manager DataBasics. Updated for 2016.

Resources and References:

• Journal of Digital Asset Management – Activity Lifecycle of Digital Assets (pdf)
• DataBasics blog: Metadata, Controlled Vocabulary and your DAM
• DataBasics YouTube video on the use of Canto Cumulus for Government Agencies and Councils.