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Volume: 7 | Article ID: art00006
Unplugging the DAM: Making Digital Asset Management Business Process Based By Deconstructing It
  DOI :  10.2352/issn.2168-3204.2010.7.1.art00006  Published OnlineJanuary 2010

Instituting digital asset management (DAM) in cultural heritage institutions tends to be a major IT initiative. What is often overlooked is that DAM in isolation merely provides a resource intensive organizational tool for digital assets within the institution. The more important aspects of a DAM implementation are the workflow processes and procedures that are integrated into the application, the links the application makes internally and externally to other institutional systems, and ultimately how the implementation changes and enhances the institution's business processes surrounding the use of digital assets. When the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, decided to undertake a DAM implementation as part of their revamped digital imaging program, their final solution combined MediaBin, an enterprise-level DAM product from Autonomy, with data links to their collection management system, AdLib, and Microsoft SharePoint, a collaboration and business process portal toolkit, with an eye toward further integration in the future.I was commissioned as an outside consultant to help the Rijksmuseum Archive conceptualize their internal business workflows and processes involving digital assets; as they existed and how they might change and be enhanced. Working with the ICT Director, Rob Hendriks, we evaluated systems to layer the actual tasks of these workflows and processes on top of the chosen DAM software. The choice of the DAM application was influenced by its ability to connect to possible front ends, SharePoint being only one of the choices evaluated. The museum had prior experience working with SharePoint making its choice a logical decision. The integration that resulted has been in use for about two years, with additional functionality added in subsequent versions. It has allowed the museum to be more efficient and consider new opportunities. Training of users was fast-tracked; most users never see the MediaBin interface which can be confusing for non-imaging personnel. Users interact with a simplified SharePoint interface, trimmed down to basic functionality. SharePoint also serves as the enabler for request forms, project tracking, and order fulfillment.The model we will describe in our presentation is in many ways an evolution of DAM ahead of the actual maturation of DAM applications, especially for the cultural heritage sector. In the future, a traditional DAM application could be best of breed components rather than an integrated system; a file system or repository like Fedora, a metadata container or wrapper within a database, and a digital asset transformation engine like ImageMagick. Interfaces and workflows to suit the audience would be layered on top via products like SharePoint or open source wiki or CMS systems. The key differentiator for each institution would be the business processes and workflows that make the integration truly functional for the organization, and the flexibility to plug in other systems which feed data to, or need access from asset records. What we have accomplished in a still somewhat traditional manner could be pushed toward a more deconstructed, open and agile development environment.

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Howard Goldstein, Rob Hendriks, "Unplugging the DAM: Making Digital Asset Management Business Process Based By Deconstructing Itin Proc. IS&T Archiving 2010,  2010,  pp 28 - 32,

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