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A couple of weeks ago we traveled to the nation’s capital for our latest Digital Asset Management forum. In this instance, our feature speaker was Karen Hignite, Records Management Manager at The National Wildlife Federation (NWF).  Karen is part of the IT group, supporting 18 departments, 11 regional centers and the National Advocacy Center.  Her role is to manage over 40,000 images currently available in Portfolio, upload assets, apply metadata, clear permissions and track usage, negotiate contracts and train internal staff.

They have three main catalogs in Portfolio:  one for rights managed imagery, another one for royalty-free, and a third one is a customized video library.  This last one is especially interesting, because it doesn’t hold the digital assets themselves, but the location of where the physical video is on a library shelf.  Some of the attendees at the forum where puzzled and asked why they utilized a DAM system like this.  Karen response was that The National Wildlife Federation has thousands of very long videos, and cannot possible afford the cost of digitizing and storing all those assets, but they needed a way to quickly search and easily find them.

Internal teams search the other two catalogs, rights managed and royalty-free, for various print and marketing projects, including the publication of magazines such as Ranger Rick, International Wildlife, Your Big Backyard and Wild Animal Baby.  As Karen describes, their first step in their workflow is to search for existing assets by going to the Portfolio Server digital asset management system.  If NWF does not own the appropriate image, they would purchase or request a donation, and once a legal contract has been signed, the image goes to Portfolio Server so that it can later be used and repurposed.

If you would like to find out more about how the National Wildlife Federation created this one-stop shop for digital assets, Karen will be sharing this presentation in our upcoming webcast on October 6th. Please join us.

In addition, please plan to attend our next DAM forum at the Seattle Art Museum, on October 14th.  We would love to have you join us for this event that features a case study by Luis Antezana at Methodologie, a communications strategy firm with clients such as The Coca-Cola Company, Microsoft and Seattle’s Children Hospital.  He’ll be talking about how to utilize DAM in creative and marketing environments, and how to distribute assets to internal and external teams.  Event is free, so register today!

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DAM Forum - Extensis Portfolio Server & MethodologieWe would like to invite you to join us for a Digital Asset Management (DAM) Forum a the Seattle Art Museum. This event will focus on strategies, solutions, best practices and effective technology usage in digital asset management.

Join other marketing and IT professionals to:

  • Find out how Methodologie, top Seattle communications strategy firm, saves time and money for clients like The Coca-Cola Company, Boeing, Potlatch, Microsoft Xbox and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
  • Learn DAM best practices for creative agencies and corporate marketing departments with a focus on digital asset distribution.
  • Participate in roundtable and workflow discussions while networking with your peers.

Event details:

  • October 14, 2009
  • 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
  • Cost: Attendance and lunch are FREE
  • Featured Presentation: Marketing and Advertising Case Study: How Methodologie Agency uses DAM to service Microsoft, Boeing and others

Click here to register for this event.

We hope that you’ll be able to join us!

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Your chance to win Suitcase Fusion 2 is just a retweet away! REtweet This!

We at Extensis think that Twitter is a helpful tool to stay in touch with our customers, friends and the press. We’re here to answer your questions about font management, digital asset management and more. We also publish things that we find interesting about typography, design and photography. Basically, anything that’s cool and new, we’re all over it.

As an appreciation of all of our followers, today we’re running a contest. To enter, all that you need to do is retweet this post with your Twitter account.

Full scoop:

  • One winner will be chosen at random from all of users who retweet this post about the contest.
  • Winner gets to choose from either Mac OS X or Windows versions of Suitcase Fusion 2.
  • No purchase necessary.
  • Winner will receive the product ans serial number electronically. No physical product.
  • Available to all Twitter users, except where prohibited by law.
  • One entry per twitter account.

Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. One winner will be chosen at random and notified via Twitter on Wed 9/23/09 (follow us so that we can DM you!)

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I just came from a very informative DAM forum, hosted graciously by Miami Dade College (MDC). This full-day event started out with a Case Study by the College, which is the largest institution of higher education in the United States. I wanted to share with you some of the notes I took while listening to their presentation, which focused on their digital asset management journey.

First, a little bit of history. Miami Dade College has been doing digital asset management for a couple of years now. The DAM initiative at MDC started from the workgroup level. Ricardo Delgado, Sr. Graphic Designer is considered to be the “Godfather of DAM” at MDC, but the CIO of the Inter-American campus also supported the efforts.

As you may experience yourself if you’re on this DAM journey, the path is not always smooth, and you may encounter some “renegades” along the way who refuse to see the value that managing your digital assets can bring to your organization. One thing that it’s apparent from the from Miami Dade College story, is that everyone throughout the organization is involved and plays a role in the successful implementation of DAM—it’s important to conduct it as a team effort.

Many questions came from the floor regarding how to involve the stakeholders and get those technology laggards to cooperate. “Training, training, training,” says Ricardo Delgado. Although Portfolio is very easy to use and the learning curve was minimal even for non-technical users, MDC has found that the personal interaction with users through was essential.

And this approach is paying off for the College. When they first implemented Portfolio, they had very few assets into the system, but with hard work, dedication and internal DAM evangelization, they number of assets into the system has grown exponential. Irene Munoz, Director of Marketing at MDC recalls: “Before we delivered the training, we had about 200,000 assets in Portfolio, and just a few months after the training, we have over 335,000 assets in the image bank alone.” This tells me that people understand the benefits, are using Portfolio and are getting it done.

Miami Dade College shared with the forum attendees their criteria for selecting a DAM system. For them, it was important that the DAM vendor had experience dealing with clients of their scale, provided expert technical support, fit into their existing technology, was scalable and flexible to grow at the College’s pace and allowed them to access and distribute a wide range of assets. MDC evaluated several DAM solutions (even some that are not in business any more) and Portfolio came up as the clear winner over other products.

Rene Ramos, the Archives Director at the College, had the daunting task of centralizing and cataloging over 50 years of the college’s history—a huge repository of documents, photographs and videos. For him, the ability to quickly find assets is one of the key functionalities. “Portfolio made us look like heroes”, he commented.

Some other tips that Miami Dade College shared with the attendees:

  • Partnership with end users and IT is crucial
  • Show successes early on
  • Get a solution that’s easy to use to minimize the learning curve
  • Look into the vendor’s viability when evaluating a solution
  • Choose a DAM system that fits into your existing IT infrastructure
  • Take the time to come up with standards for naming conventions, image resolution, file size, etc.
  • Create a “cheat sheet” for these standards, and distribute to your end users
From left to right:  Ricardo Delgado, Cindy Valladares, Rene Ramos

From left to right: Ricardo Delgado, Cindy Valladares, Rene Ramos

The full-day event also included a presentation on Digital Asset Management Best Practices, roundtable discussions focusing on (1) asset organization and (2) implementing DAM across multiple departments, and the ever-popular hands-on workflow session by Extensis’ System Engineer.

If you couldn’t join us for this event, maybe you would like to attend the upcoming Digital Asset Management Forum in Washington, DC on September 9. This event will focus on Managing and Distributing Large Image Collections and featuring a Case Study by the National Wildlife Federation. And we’re also coming to Seattle in October, so stay tuned.

If you’re interested in sharing your digital asset management story, please drop me a note at cvalladares(at)

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New Media Dictionary Volume 2In April we’ll be hosting a Digital Asset Management for Creative Services Forum at the offices of one of our Portfolio customers, Ignited Minds.  While looking at their creative work (really cool stuff), I came across this New Media Dictionary, Vol 2.

You don’t necessarily have to be involved in social/new media to enjoy the witty definitions on this dictionary.  My favorite one is:  Information stagnation — The phenomenon of access to news sources expanding dramatically while the percentage of well-informed Americans remains relatively unchanged.

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In February, we held a Digital Asset Management Forum at Harvard University.  The event focused on strategies and solutions for the needs of higher education organizations, and featured a case study by Yale University.  Pam Patterson, Senior Instructional Technologist for the Instructional Technology Group in Academic Media and Technology shared with us their digital asset management journey, from the challenges faced before managing their assets to the benefits reaped after implementing Portfolio as their chosen DAM solution.

To me, one of the most interesting aspects of her presentation is how they utilize Portfolio NetPublish to distribute images, audio, video and PDF files to students for course review.  Pam’s team has been instrumental in collaborating with professors, visual library and student interns, to provide web-based resources, such as digital catalogs, in order to enhance students’ learning experience .  If you’re interested in learning more and view some screenshots of their online digital catalogs, you can download the recorded webcast.

DAM in Higher Education Extensis Forum

As part of the forum, I gave a presentation regarding digital asset management best practices, which provided me an opportunity to share lessons learned and strategies utilized by our customers.  We also held round table discussions to allow participants to network and discuss topics of common interest among peers.  Topics included asset organization, and metadata and taxonomy for effective DAM.  Discussion was lively and fruitful.

We closed the day with a Portfolio workflow session, lead by Ed Smith, one of our Systems Engineers.  He demonstrated the use of metadata, keywords, taxonomy, as well as search, archive and distribution capabilities within Portfolio.  Ed belongs to the Integration and Consulting Team at Extensis, and has  vast experience dealing with customer implementations and workflow consulting.  His presentation was very well received by all participants.

At the forum we had representatives from MIT, Cambridge College, Suffolk University, University of New Hampshire, Dartmouth College, Yale University, Harvard University, to name a few.

Our next event will be in El Segundo, California, and we’ll be focusing on digital asset management for the creative services industry.  So if you’re in the advertising and marketing fields, stay tuned for more information.

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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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Max Kerning is down at Macworld Expo for the day. He took a short tour of the Expo Hall show floor with me to check things out.

The Canon booth had an wonderful array of cameras and items, and a very kind, informative and welcoming staff to boot!

Max was impressed with the items that he saw in the Apple booth, but were promptly shooed from the booth, so we didn’t get to see much.

Here we are checking out another part of the Expo Hall.

Overall, Max and I are really enjoying our time at Macworld Expo 2009. More stuff to come!

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Well, you might not have gotten here in time to get one of our Macworld Expo free passes. Even if that’s the case, we’re still able to hook you up with a discounted rate to get into the Expo Hall.

Click here to register for Macworld and get into the hall for $25. That’s $20 off the original price of $45, so it’s not too shabby.

Oh, and if you’re there on Wednesday afternoon, be sure to drop by our little cocktail party.

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Going to Macworld 2009 this week? We’re having a small party for all of our customers, resellers and fans, and would love to have you attend.

The party is at the Moscone South Hall on Wednesday afternoon, so you won’t have to walk far to get your party hat on. To keep it exclusive to just our fans, I’ll give you the full details when you direct message (DM) me on Twitter or shoot me an email using our blog’s contact form.

If you’re a newbie to Twitter (you should check it out, really!), all that you need to do is:

  1. Create a Twitter account
  2. Follow Extensis – I’ll follow you back
  3. Shoot me a direct message.

Hope to see you at the shindig!

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