This post is part one of our series with digital asset management expert Peter Krogh. In part two, we’ll share Everything You Need to Know About Metadata for Your Visual Media Library. Plus, download our free Metadata Policy Sample Document and unlock a video walking you through the process of building a policy for your organization.
Up and Running with DAM
Piles of hard drives. Photos buried in email threads. Large video files exiled to a desktop in the corner. A box of old CDs, DVDs and even prints. Does any of this sound all too familiar?
Increasingly, organizations across industries are using visuals to communicate, and along with this shift comes the need to manage your visual assets. Because of the constant flood of new visual content, just the idea of getting organized is intimidating.
Enter Peter Krogh, photographer and digital asset manager extraordinaire. Peter is the product architect for Libris, and when he’s not here at PhotoShelter, he’s off helping organizations tackle the problem of their corporate visual media libraries. He knows how to turn this “problem” into a system that can work for your team and even make your job easier.
And now, he’s sharing his expertise with you, right here on the Libris blog.
Drinking from the Firehose
Trying to get your organization’s visual media library under control can feel like drinking from a firehose. You have a wave of things coming at you all at once, and just the idea of working on this project can knock you over.
You’re dealing with a massive number of:
- Media objects
- File types
- Content sources
- Storage locations
- People who need visual media
- Purposes for visual content
If this list makes you want to call it a day and go work on something else, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s Peter’s take on how to deal with the firehose.
The key here is small wins. Breaking up this project into small pieces and showing value along the way will help you and your stakeholders find success with your new media library.
Tip #1: Don’t Panic
The best way to deal with the firehose is not to panic. If you can break up the project into small, manageable pieces, you will be more likely to find success. It’s important to keep the long-term benefits of an organized media library in the back of your mind, but for now, take things day to day.
Tip #2: Don’t Throw Away Your Old Sneakers
Whether you are centralizing all of your assets in one system, moving from a local network to the cloud, and/or upgrading from a photo sharing site to a digital asset management platform, it’s important to take care with the implementation process. Even if your old system frustrates you, keep it in place until your new system is up and running. Getting organized is an investment that will pay off in dividends. Don’t feel pressured to rush the process, and “don’t throw away your old sneakers” before your new system is ready.
For example, when Visit Greenland moved its visual media library to Libris after using a combination of Flickr and Dropbox, they didn’t launch the new system to their stakeholders until they knew it was well-organized and set up to succeed.
Tip #3: Don’t Do Everything at Once
When people get started with organizing their visual media library, they often concentrate on the problem that’s in front of them: an extensive media archive (that can be as old as the organization itself). This archive might be disorganized, filled with duplicate files, and curated by a number of people. It’s hard to see past this enormous challenge. Instead, shift the focus. Don’t take on this mountain just yet. It’s the hardest part, and starting with the hardest part is never a good idea. Look forward. Start with the new material your organization is producing today. Then, layer in the old material once you know your library is organized in a way that works for your team.
Tip #4: Show Value as Early as Possible
If you start with the most valuable material to your organization, you will be able to show value with your new media library early on in the process. How do you identify what this material should be? Try out this checklist:
- Easy to find
- High quality
- On brand
- Clear usage rights
- Clear model releases
- Many potential uses
- Frequently requested by stakeholders
- Useful immediately
One of the big challenges that people often run into at this stage of the process is that chances are your most popular photos and videos will be duplicated throughout the library. You might have two of the same file, slightly different copies, or different file sizes. It can be daunting to sort through the different versions to find the best one. As you set out to build your new media library, find one good version, but don’t spend your time sorting through all 350 different versions. Make one good version accessible as soon as possible. Then, go back and sort through the copies when you have more time. Once you’ve started a collection, you can always add on to it.
Showing value early on sets you and your team up for success. If you can show why the system is useful right away, you will win over your stakeholders and make your own job easier.
Tip #5: Build a Small ‘Brain Trust’ Team
People are often resistant to change, even when the status quo isn’t working. It’s easier to convince your stakeholders that a new system is better if you already have a team of believers on your side. That’s why you need a small ‘brain trust’ team.
This tip goes back to what we learned about drinking from the firehose. You must break this process down into smaller pieces. Gathering a small group of people as testers, using only a small portion of the most valuable material, and rolling out accessibility step by step will allow you to be successful, without spending a year on a project only to find it’s not intuitive to your stakeholders.
As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
A robust visual media library has the power to revolutionize your organization’s communications. In this visual age, where people expect to see photos of everything from new babies to new products immediately, organizations must be able to respond to the demand for visual content.
As the person tasked with setting up an organization’s visual media library, you are taking on a project that will affect the entire team. Not only do designers and marketing teams need access to photos and videos, but so do sales teams, human resources professionals and executives. The need for visual assets is becoming as ubiquitous as the need for a word processor. And while that makes your job extremely important and exciting, it comes with a huge challenge.
This visual media library needs to work for your entire stakeholder group. In the rest of this series, we’ll show you how to create a metadata policy, how to structure your library, and how to roll out the new system to your team, so you can rise to the challenge and build a system that works for everyone.