° What new opportunities do you intend that a
DAMS will enable your institution to create? How
will you measure whether or not it has enabled
your institution to achieve that objective?
° What functions of DAMS are particularly well
suited to the needs of your institution?
° How will you ensure institutional buy-in to
° Have you established the cost-benefit ratio?
° What procedures will you use to select, from the
various DAMS technologies on the market, the
one that best fits your institution's requirements?
How will you document this process?
° Different types of heritage institutions have
different types of digital assets, different profiles of
users and variable metadata requirements. Have
you established that the target DAMS is optimised
for the data types which your organisation handles,
that it supports adequate user profiling, and that
the metadata categories supported are adequate?
° What impact do you anticipate the introduction
of a DAMS will have on organisational thinking
about, and use of, digital content?
° If as a small or medium-sized heritage institution
you find many DAMS are outside the financial
range of your institution, what would the
implications be of collaborating with other
institutions to share a DAMS?
° What obstacles do you anticipate encountering
when you attempt to introduce DAMS technology,
and how will you overcome these?
° What metadata are required to support your
institution's application of DAMS technology?
How will the metadata be acquired and
° DAMS are based on a combination of technologies
and methods, including software applications and
policies and procedures. Have you identified those
elements that are software-based and those that are
policies and procedures?
° Have you established plans to develop, test,
disseminate and validate the application of these
policies and procedures?
° Will a DAMS allow you to recognise the economic,
educational or intellectual value of digital assets
that have hitherto been overlooked?
° Will a DAMS allow your institution to exploit the
economic value of its digital content?
° What risks to your institution's digital content are
posed by the use of DAMS?
° How will you integrate DAMS technology with
your existing systems (e.g. digitisation systems)?
° For most heritage institutions, protecting IPR is
not possible and the assumption that a DAMS can
help them to address this problem is erroneous.
What are the IPR implications of establishing a
DAMS for your institution?
° As most DAMS are constructed from proprietary
applications or code, they do necessarily provide
institutions with an infrastructure that enables the
long-term preservation of their digital assets. How
will your organisation address the problem of
These questions should enable you to profile your
institution's need for and likely benefit from DAMS
technology. A key starting point is requirements ana-
lysis. Before embarking on any development effort it
is essential that you define your requirements preci-
sely so that you can determine whether or not (or
how) the available technologies will meet your
to pursue those who misuse their digital assets.
The management of the large volume of material
likely to be held in a DAMS and its long-term pre-
servation depends upon a storage management
system capable of moving media entities between
online disk, near-line tape and offline tape, as requi-
red. But an organisation's ability to harvest, reuse and
realise the value of its assets will only ever be as good
as the mechanisms that it can put in place for storing
and retrieving assets from the media vault.The
DAMS must be able to handle a diversity of media
types (e.g. structured documents, still images, moving
images, audio, virtual reality objects, applications).
The current generation of DAMS is usually optimi-
sed for particular classes of digital entities and tends
to fare less well at handling other classes.
There appear to be many difficulties when imple-
menting the current generation of DAMS for use in
heritage sector institutions.These include their generic
nature, high cost, the complex technical infrastructure
that an institution must have if it is to run a DAMS,
their proprietary nature, and the difficulties of ensu-
ring organisational `buy-in' once a DAMS is introdu-
ced. Organisations need to assess both their need for
DAMS and the impact that it could have on the way
their organisation uses its information assets.
If you are thinking about introducing a DAMS, you might wish to ask the following questions before
embarking on the investment: