If you’re tasked with designing and implementing a DAM Image Library within your workplace, there are simple steps you can take during the early planning phase that will make the process a whole lot easier for you.
Over the years, we’ve worked with many different industry sectors and have found that regardless of the industry you’re in, there are essential business questions that need to be answered for effective image library deployment.
Here are some basic questions to start you on your journey:
- Do you know what your assets are?
- Do you know where your assets are?
- Do you know how many assets you have?
- Do you know who has access to your assets?
- Do you have rich, descriptive layers of metadata associated with your assets?
- Do you know how your assets have been and will be used?
Monash University Image Library Welcome screen
Above: The Monash University Image Library is a valuable resource for staff, students and other key stakeholders. The University took steps early in its development to ensure the image library is intuitive and easy to search.
DAM and Business Processes: 3 key areas
Once you can answer these questions, the next phase is to think about the needs of the different users who will work with the library once it’s been created. We generally split users into 3 key areas:
- Management process personnel – which includes governance and strategic management.
- Operational personnel – core business functions, in particular Purchasing, Manufacturing, Marketing and Sales.
- Support personnel – administration, external partners and technical support.
Understanding the needs of all three areas is fundamental to the success in setting up an Image Library. To assist with phase 2, the following questions need to be answered as part of your early planning:
- Who has governance of the project and what is their role? ie Image Manager, Web Manager, System Administrator
- Identify the key activities that impact on the business in relation to an image library, eg marketing including branding, sales, inventory, etc
- What are the steps designed to produce a product or service? How much is image re-use or conversion a factor in the output?
- Who are the key stakeholders? What are the user permissions required for access to the image library in terms of search & display, editing, re-use/conversion, archiving etc?
- Gather information such as a detailed inventory of current hardware, software and networking capabilities, a description of long-range plans and priorities for future purchases, and develop a plan for upgrading and/or replacing dated equipment and software.
A workflow specification is about capturing processes at a level of detail that is sufficient to enable their execution – identifying how your DAM would impact and improve on these processes is key to getting users’ acceptance and providing the expected benefits. We find these questions to be useful during this phase:
- What existing systems manage tasks such as automatic routing, automated or partially automated processing and integration between different functional software applications and hardware systems that contribute to the value-addition process underlying the workflow?
- Which applications, components and people must be involved in the processing of data to complete an instance of a process?
- What document types are required for different stages in the image lifecycle?
- Is a central asset repository required for archiving, backup & management purposes?
- What is the approval/consent process for asset management compliance?
Image classification can be undertaken in a number of ways according to workflow, usage and search requirements. DAM solutions have the capability of using a category classification structure such that images can be arranged according to pre-defined criteria eg Subject, Project, Department, Date, Filetype and so on. Keywords can be added, or extracted from the image for better identification.
This also requires some planning, with suggested questions to consider being as follows:
- What metadata needs to be extracted for identification? eg thumbnail, filename, type, size etc
- What standards have been identified for company legal compliance requirements and successful searching? eg IPTC
- What additional metadata is required to be added eg captions, dates, etc
- Is a formal taxonomy required to ensure correct grouping and classification?
- Is there a style guide for production of images that includes preferred file types, size, quality etc.
Ownership, intellectual property and copyright issues need to be identified at the outset when user permissions are set up.
It is important to identify image classification criteria during setup phase so that metadata is accurate and reflects the natural search behaviour of users. Assets can then be located and retrieved quickly and easily.
Summary of Key Questions
Taking this into consideration, the goal is to refine your thinking and give your initial planning some important focus. The questions most relevant for you will be driven by taking time to clarify your core objectives.
Which areas of DAM are most important to your company?
- collaboration and workflow
- search and retrieval
- metadata tagging
- content packaging and assembly
- archiving and storage
- asset creation and modification
- multichannel formatting
- digital rights management.
What key business challenges are you trying to solve with your DAM initiatives?
- repurpose content
- lower content creation costs
- cross-departmental collaboration
- generate revenue
- faster content updates
- improve content quality
- multichannel distribution
- better usability for consumers
- better advertising sales
- rights management.
In what stage are each of the following DAM projects?
- digitising all media assets
- identification of assets for multichannel delivery
- implementing a DRM (Digital Rights Management) system.
Special thanks go to Monash University for allowing us to use their image library resource as an example.
For more information please contact DataBasics on 1300 886 238 (+617 3733 1510) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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