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In this challenging economic climate, I bet that we’re all seeing a tightening of budgets. Instead of just throwing money or people at a problem, we all need tools that help us improve productivity, reduce costs and improve our quality of our work. If done right, a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system can really help meet these needs.

Improved User Productivity

A DAM system allows people in your workgroup to have immediate access to digital assets. The days where individuals spent two to three hours a week looking for files can be a thing of the past! It is hard to believe but five minutes here and there, really does add up to two/three hours a week. I should know since I was the world’s worst offender before I started working at Extensis!

One of our customers, Creative Media Development (CMD), prior to their Portfolio Server installation, found that tracking down just one archived asset for re-use, was an arduous task that often involved up to three employees and three hours of work. Now just one person at CMD uses Portfolio Server to locate images in a matter of minutes. To learn more take a look at CMD’s case study.

Time is Money

When done properly, a DAM system ensures that members of your team are aware of the full range of digital assets available. This encourage asset reuse and reduces the duplication of effort to recreate an asset. This is particularly the case with images, reducing the need for costly photography re-shoots, resulting in substantial cost savings.

Another way to reduce costs is to easily find and distribute assets to others. The World Bank was able to create eighteen different web portals in a very short amount of time, using Portfolio NetPublish. Each portal allowed a segment of their audience to quickly locate the files that they needed. If you want to hear more about the World Bank’s experience, take a look at this recorded webcast where Les Barker talks about his experience of implementing and using Extensis Portfolio for digital asset management.

Improved quality

Reusing instead of re-shooting your photographs naturally results in a more consistent brand image. When you reuse your assets, you’ll also see a reduction in the use of substandard non-approved assets.

The National Gallery of London reported improved product quality following the installation of Portfolio Server. Photographers felt more obliged to produce quality photography, as they knew others would be accessing the assets. Check out this webcast where Colin White, Head of the Photography Department of the National Gallery talks about their use of Portfolio.

If you haven’t already implemented a digital asset management system, I’d highly recommend that you download a free demo of Portfolio and check it out for yourself. I’m willing to bet that once you’ve checked it out you’ll be well on your way to working smarter, not harder. And in these hard times, everyone likes to see those kinds of results.

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Thinking about getting software to manage all of your digital media (pictures, video and audio)? Well, you’re in good company! According to a recent Gartner industry report, up to 22% of companies will be investigating digital asset management within the next year.

Check out the Gartner DAM report.

If you’d like to know more about using Extensis Portfolio Server to manage your assets, I’ll be giving an online demo of the product tomorrow. Click here to sign up for the webcast.

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National Gallery LondonOn Wednesday I had the great pleasure of hosting a webcast featuring Colin White, Head of Photography at The National Gallery of London.  We got a tremendous response from people who wanted to learn more about the digital asset management efforts at the Gallery, as well as about DAM best practices.

If you couldn’t join us, I encourage you to watch the on-demand recorded version. Colin started out sharing some of the Gallery’s objectives:  preserve, study and enhance their collection of Western European paintings from 1250 to 1900 (over 2,300 paintings in the collection).  Another objective was to display the collection to the widest possible public.

They needed a solution that would allow them to organize and distribute their digital content within the Gallery and externally.  The content would be used for Web sites, presentations, press/marketing materials, staff information, commercial purposes, social networking sites and podcasts.

The National Gallery chose Portfolio because they needed a digital asset management solution that would fit into their existing infrastructure (cross-platform organization with Linux, Mac and Windows servers and SQL database), was intuitive for end users, straightforward to install and administer, affordable and could get them up and running in days.

Content currently organized in Portfolio include: a photographic image library, a slide library and a document library.  The content is distributed via their intranet, accessible to staff members via a web browser.

National Gallery London Image Library

Lessons learned. In review, Colin shares with us that Portfolio allowed their departments to become more interconnected, and provided the following additional benefits:

  • Improved access to images and documents
  • Improved image quality
  • Improved dialogue between users
  • Wider range of content accessed
  • Improved cataloging
  • Replaced expensive support fee

Other assets that you might find useful in your DAM journey:

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What could be better than getting a great font manager or digital asset manager? Well, how about getting some great tunes from iTunes to go along with your new software?

This December when you purchase any of our desktop products from the Extensis website, you’ll get a free $10 iTunes gift card! (₤10 in the UK)

  • Suitcase Fusion 2
  • Suitcase for Windows
  • Portfolio 8.5

So, if you need to get a copy of the new Stephen Colbert Christmas Album, or if perhaps you like your Christmas with a little more Twisted Sister, you’ll be able to satisfy your urge with this $10 iTunes card.

NOTE: this applies to online purchases only from 12/8 through 12/24/2008. See the Extensis website for full details.

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Last week I attended a very informative event in Washinton DC — the Museum Computer Network Conference.  The slogan for the conference was very appropriate:  “LET’S DO I.T. RIGHT!”.  The event provided a program focused on information technology for museums.  I had the pleasure of meeting many professionals in the field, including various Portfolio customers.

One topic that has been sparking a lot of interest in this area is Digital Asset Management.  There were several workshops, sessions and case studies, all related to how museums around the globe are dealing with their monstrous and growing amounts digital assets.  Another important topic to address is why organizations want to manage their digital assets — and there were several discussions about that as well.

The first official day of the conference started out with the popular case study showcase.  This year’s focus was around innovation.  As you can see from the image below, the room was packed, as Matt Shanley, Photography Department Technical Coordinator and Digital Asset Manager, presented on “Digital Asset Management at the American Museum of Natural History”.  Matt has been using Portfolio Server for a number of years now, and shared some success stories, as well as DAM best practices.

Other presenters in this case study showcase include:  Art Institute of Chicago (also using Portfolio) on Rapid Imaging, Museum of Modern Art on as their digital information kiosks, Denver Art Museum on interactive displays, Indianapolis Museum of Art on dashboards as a way of creating transparency, and Jewish Women’s Archive on open source DAM.

After their five-minute case study presentation, each presenter hosted a roundtable, which allowed participants to ask specific questions about their topic.  In Matt Shanley’s table, questions ranged from DAM photographic workflow, integration with collection management systems, best approach to organizing digital assets, creating a naming convention and folder structure strategy, among others.

Next month, we’ll be hosting a webcast on how the National Gallery of London is managing their digital assets with Portfolio.  Details will be posted on our webcast page, as soon as we finalize them, so stay tuned.

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At this years ‘Images in Heritage & Culture’ event we were joined by about 40 or so customers at The Imperial War Museum in London, for a one day seminar on the use and application of digital asset management (DAM) systems.

The Imperial War Museum was an excellent venue for the seminar not only because they also are a customer but because of the amazing content they have there with both an extensive image and sound library.

This year’s guest speakers were Colin White, Head of Photography from The National Gallery in London, Dave Kilbey from TASI and finally Keith Bloor, Museum Manager from Stoke-on-Trent Museums.

Today the majority of cultural organizations possess masses of content. These files can exist in different file types and on different volumes and network shares. The content itself can be as part of an already established photographic image collection (managed with folders and sub folders) or as random files scattered in different locations.

Content also exists in analogue collections of pre-digital content in the form of a legacy slide collections (35mm film, 5” x 4” negatives, transparencies, glass slides, prints and drawings Etc.) These are typically items that need to be digitized ‘on demand’ or at some future point where the metadata (the information relating to the content) is stored in some other database, text record or on ‘Rolodex’ system. One often un-noticed feature to Portfolio is that it’s able to create digital placeholders for analogue files that have yet to be scanned. In this way it’s possible to import information, keywords, descriptions Etc for items that aren’t yet digital. The beauty then is that digital and non-digital files can be found in the same search and so digitization projects can benefit from proper direction.

With all of this content the value of it and the associated metadata may not be fully realized or appreciated. Sometimes the metadata about the files themselves can be hugely important. Here at Extensis we’ve worked with heritage and cultural organizations who had very low resolution digital files that didn’t have much value but the associated metadata was irreplaceable.

Both Keith Bloor and Colin White went on to describe their own organizations transition from analogue to digital and shared a few tips and tricks with those in the audience. Both the The Potteries Museum and The National Gallery have been digital for a number of years and so the speaker’s presentations were of huge interest and value, not only to those people attending from organizations just starting off in their digitization projects, but also for those customers who had been digital for a similar length of time. The point here is that whilst no too organizations typically share identical workflows or same set of reference. There often remains sufficient similarities of workflow process (best practice) that can be shared.

Next year we’ll be holding the event in Cambridge, UK. For those interested in attending not only this event but others too you can find the events listed at

Create Chaos 2008 handouts

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Thanks to all of you who visited the Extensis booth and saw our numerous presentations at Create Chaos 2008 in Orlando two weeks ago. In case there were any sessions that you missed, the organizers have put up a number of the session hand-outs on the event site here.

In case you missed one of the Extensis-sponsored sessions, here are the handouts that were included in our sessions.

Once again, thanks for visiting our booth, and we look forward to seeing you at a future event.

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As promised last week, you can now view the webcast Les Barker from the World Bank and I did a couple of weeks ago.  The topic was Digital Asset Management in Print and Publishing, and during the webcast, we had a Case Study from the World Bank and a DAM Best Practices presentation.

You can view it by going to

Here’s also a nice picture of the event we held at The World Bank headquarters last Thursday.  Thank you all who attended and made the forum so successful.

Extensis DAM Forum

Extensis DAM Forum

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Yesterday was a great day.  I was conducting a forum on DAM for Printing and Publishing in Washington DC.  The event was held at The World Bank, and we had a great response from a group of enthusiastic professionals mostly in the printing and publishing industry.

The purpose of the event was to discuss digital asset management strategies and solutions.  We also promoted the idea of creating a DAM user group in the DC area, where people familiar with DAM would network and share best practices in a more frequent basis. The agenda included a Case Study from the World Bank, roundtable discussions, a DAM Best Practices presentation, and DAM Workflow discussion.

I had the pleasure of working with our host, Les Barker, Senior Information Officer for the World Bank, and he was phenomenal.  His presentation covered how The World Bank discovered their need for a DAM solution, what their pain points were, their research phase, their implementation of Extensis’ Portfolio Server, and their future goals.  Attendees enjoyed his expertise and knowledge, and got an opportunity to ask him many questions.

After The World Bank Case Study, we broke out in roundtable discussions, where IT and creative professionals from small and large organizations discussed topics such as:  (1) Integrating DAM with your current workflow, (2) Implementing DAM across multiple departments, (3) Finding the right DAM solution.  We gathered each table’s main take-aways and shared them with the entire group, which allowed everyone in the room to learn from others. Many of the key findings were also covered in the DAM Best Practices presentation that I gave, which follows some of the information we outline in the Digital Asset Management Best Practices Guide.

To conclude our day we had our very own, James Grace, show the Portfolio Server solution in action.  James is a Senior Systems Engineer here at Extensis and he’s just adored by all of the customers he has worked with.  Being out in the field helping customers with their DAM implementations, he had some really great real-world examples to share with attendees.  Among the things he showed was how to distribute digital assets to a variety of audiences via a web browser, using Portfolio NetPublish.  He also demonstrated how to take advantage of XMP panels to enter metadata that is specific to your needs.  It’s all about the metadata!

If you would like to learn more about Portfolio Server, we also have an upcoming live webcast on October 7 at 11 am Pacific — click here to register.

Thank you, Les, for hosting us at your offices.  And thank you to Marisela, Pete and James for your help in organizing this informative event.

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Last time I talked about how you can set up Portfolio’s QuickFind to help you quickly search out what you need. This time we’ll look at saving full Search criteria that you need to use again and again, and use that to automatically populate galleries for you.

Portfolio gives you the ability to make Saved Finds and Smart Galleries are very helpful for keeping track of projects, clients or special subject matter.

Saved Finds can help you keep your most requently needed assets handy.

The first step is to create the search criteria that you need to use. For my example, I used a search that finds on the client name, and approval status.  More efficient searches are ones that search for criteria that ‘matches’ rather than ‘contains’ or ‘does not contain’. Then I added the status of Approved to get just the assets that are Approved For Use. Once you have the search that works for you, then save that search; pull down the Saved Finds menu item, and save your search as a Smart Gallery.

You can go back and adjust the criteria that populates the Smart Gallery, or even create saved searches that do not populate galleries, but are ready for use.

By using a saved search, you can populate a Smart Gallery

These saved searches and Smart Galleries are saved in the catalog so anybody using the catalog can benefit from this

Portfolio 8.5 can save your search criterias

Smart Galleries can even be used to drive content in a NetPublish site. Once you have assets that meet your desires, you can have that Smart Gallery be the gallery that drives your published content.

Just one more tip on how you can make Portfolio do the searching and finding automatically for you, rather than you having to do lots of extra clicks.

That’s today’s lesson, I hope you found it useful.

Motorcycle update – Today was fairly nippy on the ride in, I should have worn my flanel jeans, or at least my wind pants. This afternoon is looking good, think I’ll have to nip out for a little ride. In two weeks we’re looking at getting a group of fellow Extensis 2-wheel enthusiasts and heading down to the local Ural / Royal Enfield motorcycle dealer.  Maybe I’ll have to start saving my pennies for something new next spring.

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