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Future developments in DAM technology
As is the case with many other technologies, the future of Digital Asset Management
is heavily geared towards extensibility and XML compliance. New and developing prod-
ucts have the advantage of increasingly granular control, and facilitate the easy reuse of
content.The primary advantage of XML-based systems is that they allow the separation
of form and content, with the mark-up acting as a user-defined vessel for the content
itself. Adobe's XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) software allows metadata to be held
in the header sections of individual files, permitting simultaneous transfer of content and
custom-mapped metadata between discrete systems. In the manufacturer's words, XMP
`provides Adobe applications and workflow partners with a common XML framework
that standardizes the creation, processing, and interchange of document metadata across
publishing workflows.'
The inclusion of metadata within the file structure allows the
assets to retain their context even when accessed within a different application. XMP is
based on the W3C's open standard for metadata, the Resource Description Framework
, and is shared as an open-source license. Users and integrators are allowed free
access to the source code via the Software Development Kit.
Further developments in DAM are expected as a result of the new WebDAV standard,
which allows collaborative authoring and editing of content via remote Web servers.The
growth in object and object-relational databases will also have a marked effect on the
DAM world, as database companies become more familiar with helping to define partic-
ular, sometimes company-specific and proprietary asset types.
DA M Te c h n o l o g y a n d t h e H e r i t a g e S e c t o r
Brief background
Digital Asset Management and the cultural heritage sector are just beginning to devel-
op a working relationship, although DAM technology is currently in place in a broad
range of culture-focused organisations, from archives such as the National Archives of the
Netherlands to universities (Texas, Cornell, Stanford, and the Courtauld Institute of Art)
and the Vatican.
The reason why DAM is not currently found in more cultural organisations is partly
due to its newness as a concept, and partly to its relatively high expense and focus on
return on investment (ROI). ROI is a factor with which heritage organisations have been
traditionally less interested, given their special funding status, but are becoming more so all
the time. DAM vendors often specifically target sectors such as publishing, e-business and
broadcasting. It is forecast that as the costs of small-scale, off-the-shelf DAMS drop, and
open-source DAM solutions such as MIT's DSpace
become more popular and wide-
Digital Asset
Management Systems