spread, the relationship between DAM ven-
dors and cultural heritage organisations
should become ever stronger.
Digital Asset Management will adapt
and change in accordance with future
developments in working practice and asset
storage schemes, and DAM will become
less of a buzzword and more of a funda-
mental need for many types of business.
There now follow some case studies
which demonstrate the ways in which
DAM planning has been carried out in
the cultural heritage sector, and a set of
scenarios which outline the potential for
DAM in a variety of types and sizes of
Case Study I The British Library
The British Library (BL), the national library of the United Kingdom, is recognised
as one of the world's great libraries. Its vision is `To help people advance knowledge to
enrich lives.'The Library's collections include about 150 million items and three million
items are added annually.The BL operates the world's largest document delivery service,
which supplies around four million items a year to customers around the world.
The Library currently has a backlog of voluntarily deposited items, ranging from CD-
ROMs to e-books and e-journals. Recognising the need to address this backlog, senior
management have been following the development and uses of Digital Asset
Management systems in comparable organisations.Work at the Public Records Office,
the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Dutch National Library), the BBC and the Library of
Congress has been watched closely. As the keeper of the British published national
archive, the BL has a special responsibility for preservation, and this has helped define its
The decision to use DAM (or, more accurately, Digital Object Management) technol-
ogy emerged as a result of a number of pilot projects carried out during the 1990s, as
well as from experience gained from the Digital Library System project which was car-
ried out in 2001-2 in collaboration with IBM.The Library's director of e-Strategy,
Richard Boulderstone, is taking the lead in developing this strategy.The Library has
acquired a new Integrated Library System, which will support the functions of acqui-
sition, cataloguing, and Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC).The system is expected
to be in place in early 2004.
The DOM Programme will build a system capable of handling digital entities, includ-
ing images and textual items, in a variety of formats and together with their metadata in
The DSpace user interface
The following material is based on a telephone interview with Richard Masters,Technical Architect in the
e-Architecture Team at the British Library, and also on information from the Library's website.
The interview was conducted on 13/01/2003.