Responses from picturesafe
- Article ID:
Digital Asset Management
In the March/April 2010 issue of WAN-IFRA Magazine, we feature an article on Digital Asset Management (DAM) on pages 26-29. As there are numerous suppliers in this area and we have limited space in print, we could only publish a small portion of what each told us about their soltion. Here, we are publishing expanded interviews with the vendors for readers to get a fuller picutre of what each told us about their offering.
Responding for picturesafe is Heike Gramkow, Director Sales & Marketing.
WAN-IFRA: Why is digital asset management important for news publishers?
Heike Gramkow: Publishing news still means evaluating what is worth to be "in the news." Therefore pieces of information are gathered. The sources for story-starters are traditionally news agencies, TV, broadcasting and today of course the internet providing a large variety of new sources.
All those pieces which today are usually provided in digital representation, can be called assets. So it is more than usefulto bundle and stream all these pieces into one system.
For users (i.e. people working on publishing news) it is very efficient to have just one tool for reseaching their main sources.
The second main aspect is to foster the creation of efficient workflows. DPP has set up a great production system, covering all steps from the integration of information sources to specialized editor clients and further on to a seamless integration with the production system.
Finally a process for automated archiving is triggered. The solid foundation of such a system is a stable and fast enterprise class DAM providing open interfaces to connect all the workflow components and applications publisher usually work with.
Basically, a DAM like dio:content helps tailoring an integrated, efficient production system, connecting workflows and applications which hitherto often existed as isolated islands.
WAN-IFRA: How is DAM different from a database?
Gramkow: A database is an essential part of a DAM. Like with any other system, a "pure" database is perfect to store information of any kind and doing the math to shuffle it around. A DAM is something on top of a database: First aim is to provide a convenient view onto all the "drowned" pieces of data, helping to convert them into useful information. Editors usually do not want to learn a complex query language and work with command line tools, thus intuitive search interfaces need to be provided.
The presentation of information should be adaptable to a user’s needs – e.g. searching for articles: Do you prefer just to browse the headlines and read the whole article for interesting headlines? Do you prefer reading abstracts, automatically created by the DAM? Would you like to find matching articles, images or videos on a click? Or is it more suitable to browse information already clustered to topics and sorted by category? All this is DAM-logic helping to get a grip on the vast streams and archives of data – helping to turn them into useful information.
WAN-IFRA: What benefits do users get from DAM?
Gramkow: A DAM should be able to do a balancing act: there are different kinds of users. Some would like to work with very simple search patterns, like „show the latest images“ to find a strong image making up a story. Would prefer to search a specific article from the archive, and so need to apply far more complex search patterns.
Both groups strongly benefit when pointed to additional, matching information along the way, arranged in a useful and easy-to-use manner.
Futhermore, DAMs should provide a convenient way to interact with existing systems and applications. This means integrating into heterogeneous IT environments, so from the IT department’s point of view a browser based solution is desirable.
WAN-IFRA: What is the future role of DAM for the publishing industry?
Gramkow: Integration and conditioning.
- Integration and adaption of existing and oncoming sources of information.
- Integration of well established tools, like a print production system or a CMS for online publication. Routed information will be adapted automatically for different production channels based on a publisher’s production landscape.
- Integration of different publishing channels, like classic print, online formats and teaser formats, the information flowing into these channels now may be controlled and triggered at one single point.
WAN-IFRA: Once the contract has been signed, approximately how long does it take for a publishing client such as De Persgroep, to begin using dio:content?
Gramkow: To implement an integrated system of the given size a period of a couple of weeks to months should be considered. As in this case the DAM is a basic system closing gaps between existing systems nearly all workflows would have to be reviewed.
Adaptations to the DAM and to existing components are recommended to guarantee such a massive success like the DPP achieved it with their system. They did the right thing when going the whole way of integration – and not introducing a DAM as another system besides others.
WAN-IFRA: How much training is required for a publication's staff to start using dio:content?
Gramkow: Typically just one day for regular users like editors. It is part of the administrative preparation to provide simple and tailored environments and workflows for different kinds of users.
Furthermore it is recommended to invest into the training of some “power users” who later can act as tutors for their colleagues when rolling out the system to additional departments or publications.
WAN-IFRA: What developments in this area are you working on now?
Gramkow: At this moment, we are enhancing interfaces on every level. These are user interfaces for a better intuitive working or a better conditioning and presentation of information.
Standard Interfaces to new sources becoming relevant (like certain blogs or social platforms like twitter or facebook). To facilitate the integration of future installations we work on interfaces to standard production systems and CMS’s.
A glance down the road shows that Speech-to-Text is oncoming. This will provide a seamless integration of audio and video formats.
Interview conducted by Brian Veseling, senior editor for Publishing, Editorial and General Management and WAN-IFRA Magazine.