3 Replies
Zara Ogden

Not saying it is the right way but I got a an external hard drive that i am in the process of moving all media to. I am attempting to sort it as logically as possible.

The other thing I like but don't have access to at work is Adobe Bridge. It has some great features to sorting, tracking and identifying items.

Steve Flowers

Hey Greg,

This is an excellent topic and something that we've struggled with in every agency and organization I've worked in. Here are my observations and how we've dealt with things in the past:

My first observation is... media has two lives. The first is the useful life (how it's applied) the other is the "reuseful life". These two distinct lives create opportunities and challenges. The opportunity is that one automatically produces the other. The challenge appears in granularity of usefulness. Bottom line, we've seen the need to maintain two different media management systems (one for versioned product and one for "reusables"). This in itself creates a challenge.

My second observation is... a technology for managing "stuff" is only as good as the discipline applied. Low discipline, bad habits, or simply priorities that make hygenic / efficiency practices less important than "getting work done" will cripple the very best processes and technologies. Add to this the convenience factor. Most DB systems require form based entry of metadata to enhance discovery and archival. There is a trade-off when you're in a production groove, it can be counterproductive to break out into administrivia that requires a chunk of bureaucracy. That stuff adds up. Might be worth it. Might not

My third observation... if simple works, use it. Some of the best systems I've used are simple folder organization. The simpler the better. A good folder organization aids findability and can be enhanced by the use of tools like Adobe Bridge and Picassa. Good habits and good folder structure can equal good asset management. These structures can be synchronized and shared across distributed groups using tools like Dropbox and Sugarsync (or SVN / GIT for folks with a hunger for complexity and power).

My last observation... requirements can vary by many factors. Digital Media Asset Management doesn't really have a universal definition. In most cases this defines a classification of software for management and distribution - mostly video assets. The size and distribution of the team is one of these factors. Very large teams distributed in multiple locations tend to create invisible silos. We've tried many things to break down these silos and one of the best I've seen is cultivation of community and simply making the end products available. If I see something I can use in an end-product and the network is in place to acquire that element, I can add the element to my own silo.

That said, there are a few systems I've seen that are pretty keen. These include HarvestRoad Hive, Adam Asset Studio, and Alienbrain. I haven't looked at these systems in awhile. The open source MediaMosa looks interesting but it's based on a form based entry.

A database system that neatly organizes media of all kinds and makes these assets easy to find is a holy grail. This is a feature typically represented in LCMS. These are typically cost prohibitive for smaller agencies and may not deliver the advertised value for larger agencies (YMMV).

Greg Davis

Zara: excellent idea. I now think an external hard drive is a must regardless of tool to be used. I am in a small company so its just for me.

Steve: Wow, your right this is a huge topic with a lot of considerations. I am a single contributor so I am going to look at your suggestions and applications much closer.

I have been using the "Folder" solution, but it's getting a little messy and needs to be reorganized. Plus, I have a lot of money tied up int these assets and want to secure my investments. I try to reuse everything.

Thanks all for your thoughts.