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Due to their perceived and often very real costs, DAMS are as yet found infrequently
in smaller cultural heritage organisations, but this is beginning to change.The Tate
Gallery
(London) is in the process of creating an asset database for its entire collection
of more than 50,000 art works incorporating its existing InSight production process and
image management system.This asset base will be made available to the general public at
no charge and has inbuilt potential for future developments towards commercial
exploitation and `seamless'Web publishing.
H o w D i g i t a l A s s e t M a n a g e m e n t Wo r k s
Introduction
DAM software is based around a central database or collection of linked databases, as is
Customer Relationship Management software
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. Management and long-term preserva-
tion of the large volume of material likely to be held in a DAMS depend upon a storage
management system capable of moving media entities between locations. An organisa-
tion's ability to harvest, reuse, and realise the value of its assets will only ever be as good
as its mechanisms for storing and retrieving assets. DAMS can generally handle a number
of different media types, such as creator-structured and XML documents, images, audio
and virtual reality objects, and there are a number of systems which concentrate on
media types for specific business areas.The broadcast media is a prominent example.
Version management, derivatives, archiving
An essential digital asset is likely to exist in a variety of different formats and versions.
Keeping track of the use and change histories of the original, `parent' asset and its deriva-
tives or `children' can be of paramount importance to an organisation's efficiency and
profitability.
Version management can be applied by authors or developers, including application
code, graphics, text and other file-based content. If several authors are involved in devel-
oping content together, the version control system `locks (makes `read-only') a file during
editing or between editing and reviewing, to ensure that no two authors modify the
same document at the same time'. A development of this enables multiple authors to edit
content simultaneously, followed by a managed merge process.This is comparable to
recent developments in Database Management System (DBMS) functionality, whereby
the DBMS regularly saves `rollback' points which can be recalled if simultaneous transac-
tions conflict or a system failure occurs.
The BBC
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is currently undertaking a major asset management project, designed to
optimise and align its current born-digital assets and its existing archives. Such a system
Digital Asset
Management Systems
45
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See section on Customer Relationship Management.
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http://www.bbc.co.uk