background image
moves to raise substantial income from the sale of images, documents and journal articles
in electronic form.
It is hoped that the significant pieces of the programme will be in place by late 2004
or early 2005, although as with any large-scale system implementation activity the British
Library will evaluate progress and the quality of deliverables throughout.
Case Study II The Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum is the UK's national museum of applied and deco-
rative arts, and is considered to be a world leader in this field.With over 750Gb of digital
assets, ranging from 600Gb of digital 2D images to QuickTime movies, CD's and
Websites, and with a further two million analogue images awaiting digitisation, the
Museum is now looking to manage its digital
revisions and maximise the potential of its
treasures via a dedicated Digital Asset
Management system.
The Museum's collection of digital content
is growing steadily, and staff have found that
the tools used for managing the assets, a com-
bination of UNIX command line scripts and
standard Windows applications which need
manual intervention, are no longer able to
meet their needs.
Recognition of the need for a DAMS came from the Photographic Studio, which has
been responsible for managing the image archive since 1856, and has great expertise in
analogue image management.With the advent of digital images, it quickly became appar-
ent that new tools were needed to meet new targets for the exposure of collections in a
virtual way.The increased demand for re-use of assets has quickly shown a need for auto-
mation. All content re-uses are currently routed through one museum section with the
complex loading routines becoming a bottle neck in what should be a simple service task.
While no comparable cultural institution in the UK has yet fully implemented a DAM
system, all of the national museums now have Department of Culture Media and Sport
(DCMS) agreed targets for the amount of their collections represented on their Websites.
Image-makers in the UK at conferences of the
Association for Historical and Fine Art
(AHFAP) have discussed the
topic at length.To museum Photographic
Manager James Stevenson it seems that most
image-makers in the UK allow their IT people
to take the lead in decision-making in this
area. At the V&A, while the IT department
will need to be technically involved, user
requirements will lead in the decision-making
Digital Asset
Management Systems
Digitisation at the V&A
he V
ctoria and Albert Museum
The following material is based on an email questionnaire completed in January 2003 by James Stevenson,
Photographic Manager at the museum. Additional information comes from the museum's website
Association For Historical And Fine Art Photography, UL:
Digitisation at the V&A
he V
ctoria and Albert Museum