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use by others, or made more widely available to
specific communities or the public through online
access. Digital Asset Management involves the creation
of a digital archive to hold resources, the provision of
an infrastructure that will help to keep the entities
from becoming obsolete, and a range of discovery
and browsing tools to enable potential users to be
able to identify, locate and retrieve the digital entities
held by the DAMS
A DAMS can serve a range of functions including:
providing support for content acquisition of born
digital entities, and digitised materials such as text,
still images, audio and video, and its cataloguing,
management and storage can be enhanced through
the use of DAMS;
mechanisms to manage metadata associated with
digital entities;
a foundation for services to manage the delivery
of digital content;
the foundation for the storing, managing and
migrating of digital entities across time.They
provide the basic building blocks for long-term
digital preservation systems.
Generally, when we think of a DAMS we consider
it as managing the entire process from acquisition
(ingest) of a digital entity through its retrieval, delivery
and use to its long-term archiving. Commercial off-
the-shelf DAMS such as Artesia's Teams, Blue Order
(TechMath), Bulldog, eMotion, IBM Content Manager,
Informix Media 360, or Oracle's Content Management
System support these functions, although not all with
the same degree of sophistication. For example, some
DAMS are better able to handle time-based media
(e.g. audio and moving image material) than others.
Off-the-shelf packages, although often expensive,
represent a lower risk for most organisations than
writing software from scratch. In addition, they
benefit from having other users and a support net-
work. Most DAMS applications remain outside the
financial resources of all but the largest of the herita-
ge institutions. It is feasible to decompose the func-
tionalities that DAMS support and to develop bespo-
ke applications either completely from scratch or by
integrating software products.These approaches tend
to be higher risk.
DAMS provide facilities to manage digital assets from
creation to publication and archiving. Systems can auto-
matically take the data output by the digitising process
(or ingested from another system), assign the entity a
virtual space, and set management access, security and
management attributes based on the metadata that
the creator assigns to the entity; put simply, it can
store a digital entity and its metadata in a database.
8
DigiCULT
DAMS IN THE CULTURAL HERITAGE SECTOR:
D
AMS bring many advantages for heritage
institutions.
For example, they:
support the centralisation of discovery and access;
provide mechanisms to enable institutions to create
coherent services from disparate projects;
enable mechanisms for tracking the authenticity
and integrity of digital entities;
give organisations the ability to implement
effective and easily manageable authorisation,
security and tracking systems;
support the implementation of organisation-wide
mechanisms for managing intellectual property
rights;
can generate savings by reducing the duplication
of effort and resources;
produce time savings for the creators and users
through organisational structure and centralisation
of digital resources;
enable institutions to put in place asset browsing
and querying tools;
provide organisations with the tools to monitor
the types of entities they hold, how users discover
and select entities, and what types or specific
entities attract the most attention from users.
Introducing DAMS into the heritage sector is a
crucial step if we are to ensure that we are creating
renewable resources. One major area with which
heritage institutions require assistance is with the dif-
ficulties associated with tracking use and managing
rights. Any digital asset is only of value to an institu-
tion if the institution can manage the asset through-
out its entire life-cycle from creation through its
multiple uses. For this reason, discussions of DAMS
place great emphasis on the support they can offer in
the area of rights management including assertion,
protection and management. Protection comes in
various forms, from managing access to the digital
repository, to tracking users, controlling what versi-
ons of material users can access, and ensuring that
IPR metadata are linked to the entity when it is
delivered to the user. Of course, DAMS must be used
in conjunction with licensing arrangements, entity
and user authentication technologies, and digital asset
tracking services.The problem facing heritage insti-
tutions in this regard is that, once they provide access
to a digital asset, they have great difficulty monito-
ring its use and that it is only used by the licensee
and for the purposes licensed. Individually, few heri-
tage institutions have the financial or legal resources