Day 2: The Cultural Heritage Panel
The recent DAM Summit EU held in Berlin was a chance for Canto staff, their partners and customers to share information on all aspects of digital asset management – technical know-how, case studies, value-add plugins, and the Cumulus road map.
Part of this ‘show and tell‘ included a panel session on Day 2 on DAM for Cultural Heritage which postulated a number of questions pertinent to cultural heritage.
The panel was a mix of Cultural Heritage DAM users and Canto partners involved with the implementation of DAM systems. The questions were drawn from public responses to an online survey conducted in the lead-up to the Summit.
- Marianne Peereboom, Van Gogh Museum
- Michael Fink, Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau
- Birgit Scheps-Bretschneider, Staatliche Ethnographische Sammlungen Sachsen, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
- Jesper Arentoft, Attention Solutions
- Alexander Graeber, CDS Gromke e.K.
- Chaired by Ricky Patten, databasics
These were the questions that were put to the panel:
- What should the make up of the team involved be to ensure success of the DAMS project.
- Analysing usage and user behaviour of your DAMS.
- Importance of integrating DAMS and CMS (Collection Management System).
- The main reason for introducing DAMS in a cultural heritage organisation.
- Importance of contributors in your organisation and their impacts on the DAMS.
- Importance of delivering content to external portals, such as Trove, Europeana, Getty or social media channels.
- Should the DAMS be created for the institution to use or for an external audience.
- How can crowd-sourcing metadata be effective.
1. What should the make up of the team involved be to ensure the success of the DAMS project?
Alex responded: IT will not be the main part of the team but is often a stakeholder. As the DAM is an extension of collection management, this is the most important user group.
Next comes the marketing group who may have usage of DAM associated with general communications and retail operations.
Jesper commented that the project management team need to be empowered and have the correct level of executive sponsorship.
2. Analysing usage and user behaviour of your DAMS.
Ricky suggested the following in response: Although the standard reporting tools of a DAM might be quite configurable they usually do not meet the need of a cultural heritage organisation, particularly due to the range of custom fields that such an organisation has, and the specific needs of the report.
The suggestion is to have custom reports built to match the data that will be stored according to the needs of the organisation.
3. Importance of integrating DAMS and CMS (Collection Management System).
Jesper commented that DAM is purpose built for media and one of the additional benefits for DAM solutions is when you reuse content to other systems such as CMS. So DAMS and CMS integration is a high value proposition.
At same time the DAMS must have suitable metadata for retrieval. Jesper cited cases where content could be found in Google but not in their DAM!
Birgit commented that CMS is limited in it’s capability to manage media and it is good to keep a clear distinction between the two solutions, although integration maybe included, they perform quite different tasks in a cultural heritage organisation.
4. The main reason for introducing DAMS in a cultural heritage organisation.
Marianne responded that the need for DAM is a no brainer. Cultural heritage organisations have huge collections of content that people want to be able to visualize – may be scans of collection items through to photography of exhibitions.
It’s all about Can’t find it Can’t use it!
5. Importance of contributors in your organisation and their impacts on the DAMS.
Marianne responded: contributors and their roles have to be associated with correct governance. You have to have the contributors correctly skilled to be able to assign meaningful metadata to content correctly.
6. Importance of delivering content to external portals, such as Trove, Europeana, Getty or social media channels.
Michael responded: Is that a question? It is an absolute minimum to have such content available externally to aggregation services so that people can find what they are looking for and the overall cultural heritage is preserved. In the past, users would have to physically travel – now research can be performed remotely.
Michael commented that he is working with Google to provide some level of support for them. The museum has rights to what gets made accessible – although it is not generally a question of who has rights to access content … the main question is how are you going to accomplish this.
7. Should the DAMS be created for the institution to use or for and external audience?
Both Jesper and Birgit commented: The DAM must be simple to use if the content is going to be made externally.
Jesper cited an example of a site who transformed the ownership to public, thus was entirely focused on an external audience.
Ricky recounted experiences with MA16 ( Museums Australia Conference) where the question of ownership of cultural heritage was a key topic. The institutions are the trusted holders of heritage whereas the public are the rightful owners and should be given complete access.
8. How can crowd-sourcing metadata be effective.
Birgit responded and gave an example of a collection of historical photos from the Pacific Islands. They put this up as a crowd sourcing activity and found that they had contributors from around the world helping with correct management the content. Everybody has some knowledge.
The benefits of offering and sharing collections online for comments was very evident. From a small island in Pacific during the 1970s to a museum in Dresden Germany!
Jesper commented that they also engaged in such a project and first asked -can you trust the metadata. They expected noise when going public but that was not the case. They received a lot of very useful metadata added to the collection and never had any deleterious noise!
Audience question: Are there any standards used for metadata in cultural heritage?
Most replied that the use of Dublin Core or whatever your regional area uses as a local implementation of DC was generally accepted.
Ricky: I found the panel an interesting opportunity to catch up with many European approaches to digital asset management within a cultural heritage context. Interestingly I found the key issues that were discussed and approaches of the panelists to making DAM successful were very similar to those that we are currently engaged with in our region.
As a supplier of digital asset management solutions I see many similarities between different market segments. However the cultural heritage usage of DAM is different and this needs to be recognised by vendors. Many of the objectives of a cultural heritage organisation and how that then reflects in their usage of DAM has a very specific background. Balancing the role of the institution to be custodian of heritage items and also making general access available is a key strategy for success. A well implemented DAM solution provides the opportunity to achieve a well structured extension of collection management to include digital assets and at the same time enables access in a well controlled environment for digital surrogates.
I’d like to thank the panelist for their involvement in this discussion, for our faithful followers who engaged with the initial survey to provide input into the favoured topics, for our existing customers especially from cultural heritage institutions and of course Canto for organising the DAM Summit.
Written by Ricky Patten from notes taken during the session.
All photos copyright Paul Dionne.