I just need a damn DAM
July 26, 2017 11:49 AM   Subscribe

Desperately seeking a digital asset management system for a small marketing department. Also, if you currently have a DAM or something like it, what does your workflow/taxonomy looks like? (Especially if you work at a college!)

We're looking for a DAM, or DAM-like thing, so our 11-ish person marketing team can share and search for our digital assets (photos from photo shoots, brochures, eblasts, social graphics, flyers, etc.) more easily. We use a shared drive right now and it is just the pits.

But there are a lot of options! And, frankly, we don't need anything fancy. The budget is tight right now, and what I'd REALLY like to avoid is over-paying for a DAM with all the bells and whistles where we only use like 10% of the features.

So before I ran the gauntlet that is signing up for sales demos, I wanted to see if any wise and learned MeFites out there knew of any solutions that might fit the bill. Here's what we'd be looking for:

-#1 PRIORITY: Extremely easy to use and navigate. We've got some tech-shy folks in my department.
-Not super expensive.
-Cloud-based storage.
-Tamper-resistant metadata/tags, because otherwise I will daily die of frustration when people start making up their own keywords all willy-nilly.
-Accepts purchase orders. Yes, seriously. No, I don't like it either.

Nice to haves:
-A surplus of storage space.
-Specifically geared for educational organizations, if such a thing exists.
-Social sharing/integration capabilities.
-Ability to make some fields required.

ALSO! I am EXTREMELY interested in hearing about how other groups have set up/use their DAMs, because I've never really used one, and theory is always different from practice. I am excited to make a controlled vocabulary for tagging purposes (why yes, I am in library school, why do you ask?), but I'd like to see some real life use-cases before I get started.

What does your workflow process look like? What does your folder structure look like? How do you add new content (folders by date, by subject, by type, etc.)? What types of tags do you use? Any pitfalls to avoid? Basically, I would like to avoid either over- or under-complicating things, especially since we may have multiple users adding content in.

Thank you!
posted by helloimjennsco to Technology (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Some additional info:

-We do have Dropbox, but mostly use it to share resources with external agencies. I am not sure the tagging tools are quite robust enough to give us the search capabilities we'd like, but maybe I'm missing something?

-Sharepoint was something I looked into, especially since we are already using it in a different capacity at my office, but it looks like it would require significant custom coding to get it to do what we'd need it to do. It's not off the table, but I'd love to hear about other options I may have missed.

Thanks again!!
posted by helloimjennsco at 11:55 AM on July 26, 2017

Best answer: I don't have answers to a lot of your specific questions, but SharePoint meets most or all of your basic requirements without programming.

You can use SharePoint document libraries to store your assets. You can easily add custom fields to the library, including a metadata field with a defined term set (managed metadata). You can add other fields as needed, including drop downs with custom values, etc.

You can create multiple views of the same document library, depending on metadata fields that include "and/or" criteria. For example, you can make a view that's thumbnails of people, that are photos, that you've labeled office or meeting. You could create another view of vectors that you've labeled icons.

You can include or exclude whichever fields you like in the various views. In addition to the custom views, you can also filter on the fly using field headers at the top of the file list. This works like Excel's Autofilter. This is all easy to do without programming.

What does your workflow process look like?

This I can't answer.

What does your folder structure look like?

We manage (hundreds, not thousands per library) assets with SharePoint, and we've forbidden the use of folders. Metadata is better because the same asset can appear in multiple places. Metadata and views (I believe) can cross subfolders in SharePoint.

How do you add new content (folders by date, by subject, by type, etc.)? What types of tags do you use? Any pitfalls to avoid? Basically, I would like to avoid either over- or under-complicating things, especially since we may have multiple users adding content in.

We use a flat file structure per business department and all organization is done with metadata. We try to keep tags to one term or concept per term. ("Campaigns" and "2017," not "2017 Campaigns.") We generally only use separate document libraries inside a Department only when permissions require it. (It's complicated to show document library views across document libraries instead of inside a single library).

Again, keep in mind that we're not managing tens or hundreds of thousands of assets. If you're doing that, maybe folders make more sense. Note that I don't work in a marketing department or use SharePoint libraries to manage digital assets. We use them for business collaboration.

A couple potential issues:
* SharePoint doesn't allow you to select and download multiple assets from the web view. You have to download them one-by-one. There is a SharePoint addon that does this, but I'm not sure how well it works. You can download multiple files through a Windows Explorer view, but that's all files at that level (or in that folder), and not the more limited view you've defined in the web interface.
* SharePoint's image handing isn't advanced, but I haven't used this a ton. I think you can get a thumbnail and larger view, but it doesn't do anything like increase or decrease your view of all images by clicking a plus or minus button.
* I'm pretty (but not 100%) sure you can limit managing the metadata term set to specific people, but you can't control whether or not staff can apply terms to an asset. In other words, (I think) you can limit the terms, but not how they're used.
* If you have 100 views that are all similar and you need to change them, I believe you have to change all of them. There's no hierarchy of views where one view is based on another.
posted by cnc at 12:43 PM on July 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I researched about 7 DAM management systems for my company and ultimately decided that PhotoShelter's Libris solution was by far the biggest bang for the buck. And it's SO easy to use.

I think it can do everything you're looking for, though I'm not sure about the purchase order part.

Maybe worth a 10 minute phone call with them? And, if interested, a free demo presentation?

Sorry, I can't go into much further detail, but I have to go to sleep. :)
posted by jimmymcvee at 9:37 PM on July 26, 2017

Best answer: Check out ResourceSpace. Several departments across our college use it, and it's fairly cheap, flexible, and definitely user-friendly. We have it hosted locally, but there are cloud storage options. I think you might be able to tweak some of its features to approximate a basic PO workflow. You can definitely control metadata/tagging.
posted by codhavereturned at 7:00 AM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: http://daminion.net is worth checking out, company has been around a long time.
posted by Sophont at 7:16 AM on July 27, 2017

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