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Mark Anderson1

Mark has been well-known member of the Portfolio community since the late ’90s and is based in the UK. Initially an ordinary user of Portfolio, he has leveraged that experience and since 2001 has been a consultant specializing in Extensis Portfolio solutions. He is also the author of the community resource, PortfolioFAQ.

What makes you so passionate about digital asset management?
There’s something very enjoyable about bringing order from chaos, and seeing the pleasure people get – let alone the efficiency – people get from being able to find their assets at last. Happily, DAM tasks are never quite the same each time around, so for someone who likes solving problems, it’s ideal as there’s always an issue to be resolved.

What is the most common digital asset management issue reported to you by your clients?
Gaining control over their assets; removing duplicates, avoiding work being re-done because of ‘lost’ original versions, cutting down the time to find the right file, giving controlled wider access to assets, reducing support effort needed. Be they large organisations or individuals, the core DAM problems at outset tend to be the same

What changes have you seen in the digital asset management market in the last five years?
Greater use of web interfaces avoiding the need for client deployment and training – ideal for those only using the asset base as a source; Extensis Portfolio NetPublish is popular in this context. Digital camera uptake and digital processing workflows have increased awareness and use of metadata. The new breed of digital processing apps (like Lightroom) have entered the DAM arena causing some confusion as to what they’re for but have proved not to be longterm DAM tools as some thought they might.

How do you think the digital asset management market will change in the next five years?
Improvement in metadata support – better defined standards, Unicode support (accents, other alphabets), redaction tools, etc., will help to start to deliver on the currently unfulfilled promise of metadata in multi-application workflows.

When and how did you first become involved with Extensis?
Circa ‘96. A small Windows-based start-up using Mac-based designers – not fun! The x-platform aspect of Portfolio and free browser that ran from a CD was a real lifesaver; at the time other solutions were either single OS only, had no browser(s) or did but charged for them. Being able to send CDs of assets, with additional metadata in an FDB, really boosted turnaround time on the production side of things. Asking lots of questions about the app as a user taught me a lot about the app, which I shared back with the community, originally in the old Extensis forums and then in 2001 via my FAQ. Around the same time people started asking me to help with Portfolio projects and I moved into consulting on Portfolio and DAM solutions.

When did you first use Portfolio?
In about 1996, I tried out v3 and ended up buying the just-launched version. I’ve since used Portfolio Server from v5 onwards, PortWeb v4 through v6, and NetPublish since it’s introduction alongside v7.

What is your favourite feature of the Portfolio software suite?
Originally the CD & browser aspects (see above). FolderSync’s evolution as server- based AutoSync is great, especially once you’ve got your system organised. Favourite new thing? As a consultant, v8.5.2’s ‘Save Catalog Type…’ is a real boost; I can do a lot of catalogue configuration and save out a new ‘catalog type’ to send to a client, I’ll never get to visit and know the catalogue they make from it will have the correct starting layout. If you customise a lot, you’ll know the time that could take before the feature was added.

In your opinion, what makes Portfolio stand out from the competition?
Ease of use/installation and scalability. New users are regularly surprised at how quickly a working Portfolio system can be up and running. This enables them to get started today instead of getting mired in endless planning. Installations can start with a little as one client and scale right through to a full SQL back end according to their needs and budget, without significant change being made to data catalogued thus far.

What services do you offer Portfolio customers?
Software installation/configuration. Portfolio workflow design and consultation. Pre and post DAM adoption audit. NetPublish configuration & template customisation. Scripiting & integration. Support. Training. [PC & Mac]

If you would like to find out more about the services offerred by Mark, please visit:Shoantel. You’ll also find Mark’s expertise at the free resource PortfolioFAQ, and in the Extensis User-to-User forums.

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Enter here for a chance to win a free all conference pass to Campus Technology 2008

We’re giving away one free all-conference pass to the Campus Technology 2008 (valued at $700) to one lucky winner. To enter, all that you’ve gotta do is submit your favorite campus mascot in the comments on this post.

Campus Technology 2008 provides the most up-to-date information on the new tools, technologies and services—and how they are working right now, on real campuses throughout the country. Leading innovators and experts in technology for higher education guide faculty, instructional designers, eLearning program managers, information technologists, and campus administrators into the new realm of teaching and learning in a Web 2.0 world.

Event: Campus Technology 2008
Date: July 28-31, 2008
Location: Westin Waterfront Hotel, Boston, MA

We’ll be choosing winners at random from all of the comments that we receive on this post.

We will also be giving away:

  • Copies of Portfolio 8.5 and Suitcase Fusion
  • Starbucks cards
  • Posters

So, be sure to leave a quick comment with your favorite campus mascot on this post for your chance to win!

Be sure to use your correct email so that we can contact you of your prize. Your email is not visible to other blog readers, and we promise not to sell or use your email for any other use than this contest.

We will close the contest at 8:00 a.m. PST this Thursday, July 24th and notify the winners immediately.

NOTE: Does not include airfare or hotel. This is just a pass to the conference.

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Extensis parners with Equilibrium to create digital asset management magic

Yesterday we announced a strategic partnership with Equilibrium. This is a great thing for the development of both Extensis and Equilibrium product lines.

If you’ve been playing with digital files for years, you’ve likely already used Equilibirium Debabelizer for image conversion and processing. Back in my days of working with media to create children’s edutainment (that’s a word, isn’t it) Debabelizer was an invaluable tool that we used to sample, create a common color palette and process images. I couldn’t have done my job without it.

The Power of Equilibirum Mediarich Server coming to Extensis PortfolioThese days, Equilibrium has added powerful media processing software to their product line. Equilibrium’s Mediarich Media Server technology offers powerful digital asset processing. This means that you can have any asset in any format when and where you want it. Have a video? Need it to work on your laptop, cell phone and iPod? No problem.

It’s this powerful technology that will help us create a revolution in digital asset management with Extensis Portfolio. The possibilities for the integration of our technologies are vast. While I’m not at liberty to comment about the specific details of integration, I am excited about how this partnership will affect Portfolio, Portfolio Server and Portfolio NetPublish.

Will all of this happen next week? Of course not. It takes time to properly integrate the two technologies. All that I can say is to expect good things. Stay tuned to Manage This and the Extensis website for future developments.

Extensis user forums

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Extensis Forums - user to user conversations about Extensis Products

Everyone gets themselves into a jam from time to time. Heck, I’m the guy that’s constantly trying to make my software do things that it just wasn’t initially designed to do. And thus, we all run into problems. Lucky for you, we provide free technical support for all of our registered users. Give us a call or shoot us an email and we’ll get back to you.

If you’re like me, and you occasionally push the limits of your software, or if you like to chat about Extensis software, take a moment to check out our user-to-user forums. We’ve set this place for you to talk about each of our products, including the brand-spanking new Universal Type Server.

We also monitor the forums, so if we see that a topic is coming up over and over, it may be something that we’ll consider adding or changing in new versions of the software. No guarantees, but we definitely do listen and care about the needs and feature requests from our users.

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Taxonomy, Folksonomy, Metadata, Schema, Digital Asset Management, DAMAs you probably know by now, this week we released our new font management server, Universal Type Server. In preparation for the launch of this product, I recently went on a press tour to the East Coast and Europe. While in London, I saw many “To Let” signs posted outside of buildings and homes. For us in the Western hemisphere, we see signs that read “For Rent”, so it got me thinking about the different terminology we often used for conveying the same information.

This becomes particularly important when working collaboratively with individuals, as is the case when using a Workgroup Digital Asset Management solution such as Portfolio. How do we make sure that the terminology we use to tag our assets (images, video, audio, PDFs, etc) appropriately describes the content in it, so that anybody searching for those assets can easily find what they’re looking for?

The biggest fears organizations face when looking at a DAM solution is that they don’t know how to get started, or they’re afraid they’re going to “get it wrong”. Successful DAM implementations start by understanding the way we currently do things. Once we understand how our existing processes work, we would then create the desired workflow – the specific set of tasks performed by various individuals to complete a procedure. A successful workflow will be built with the involvement of all stakeholders, so that users can understand the logic behind how we manage our assets. It needs to be practical and consistent, so that it is adopted throughout the organization.

Let’s also discuss some of the commonly used terms we utilize when organizing, managing and distributing digital assets. When talking about databases, your schema is the framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information. When talking about Portfolio, it is your structure, the list of fields (such as: date, author, name, subject, etc) that you would like your catalogs to contain. Organizations may have hundreds of criteria, but only a few may be required to be used. We recommend that you organize your fields in three buckets:

  1. Crucial information. Information you need to have about your assets. Make this a mandatory field for anyone cataloguing your digital files.
  2. Nice to have information. Data that you would prefer to have, but not essential in your workflow.
  3. Information that you could live without, but it does not hurt to capture.

Once your catalog structure has been determined, you can focus on the values that make up your criteria, the words we’re going to use to populate those fields. There are two ways to approach this:

  1. One of them is taxonomy, a technique of creating classifications, using a controlled vocabulary. It is hierarchical in nature, and represents information about your assets or metadata (data about your data).
  2. The second method is folksonomy. Unlike taxonomy, folksonomy uses a collaborative method to categorize your metadata, where freely chosen keywords are used instead of a controlled vocabulary. Many organizations prefer not to use folksonomy, as it creates inconsistencies in the classification of information (kitty versus cat; product SKU versus product part number).

So why bother with schema, taxonomy, folksonomy and metadata? Because the organizations that we represent possess large amounts of digital assets. Assets because they are much more than simple files. They’re important and costly and we need to centrally store, quickly search, and easily share them with others. We care about all these DAM buzzwords, because we need to have a strategy that helps us achieve our business goals. We need to be able to respond faster than our competitors, be more flexible with our solutions, and more successful than ever before. We need to be extremely organized and managed.

So go and explore the world of digital asset management.

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Adobe Creative Suite 3 Symposium Philadelphia sponsorsIn conjunction with Adobe Systems and CDW, Extensis will be participating in the the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Symposium next week. If you attend this event, you’ll get a preview of Extensis Portfolio and see how Project Sync provides a direct connection to your files from Adobe Creative Suite applications.

If you’re interested in attending, here’s the pertinent info:

  • Adobe Creative Suite 3 Symposium
  • Tuesday, June 3rd
  • 8:00 a.m – 4:30 p.m.
  • Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market Street

For more information and registration details please visit:

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Today we announced that three highly-acclaimed and well respected professional photographers all trust their image collections to Extensis Portfolio.

Steve McCurry is best known for his award-winning color photography who shoots in an intense documentary style that captures both the joy and heartbreak of the human condition. Steve has covered world events including the Iran-Iraq war, disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, the Gulf War and many others.

Steve McCurry’s evocative imagery from Pakistan

Mary Ellen Mark was voted the most influential woman photographer by American Photo Magazine. She is known for her images that fall between social photojournalism and portraiture.

“I often get requests from clients for my images,” says photographer Mary Ellen Mark. “Portfolio’s extensive archiving and retrieval capabilities enable my staff to find the right image in a timely and efficient manner and track its usage.”

Mary Ellen Mark’s evocative twin photo series

Scott Markewitz has been recognized as one of the world’s greatest adventure photographers. His work has appeared on over 350 US and international magazine covers. He is best known for his amazing ability to capture the impossible as it happens on skis.

Scott Markewitz has captured the most amazing feats on skis

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Extensis Portflio helps higher education organize imagesUniversities are perfect places for intellectual exploration and discovery. Of course the entire process can require (as well as produce) a large number of digital assets such as images, documents and so forth.

So, can you best manage all of these assets without getting buried and not able to find anything? A digital asset management (DAM) solution can help you wade through the sea of assets find the items you want, when you need them.

To help you get started, we’ve organized a roundtable discussion where you’ll hear how two organizations, The University of Pennsylvania and The College Board, implemented a digital asset management solution using Extensis Portfolio. Extensis Integration and Consulting Services Engineer, James Grace will also demonstrate the solution and be available to answer questions about how Extensis Portfolio can fit into your workflow.

This session is open to all who want to find out more about DAM, Extensis Portfolio, and how to effectively manage large numbers of images in a higher education setting.

So, here’s the pertinent info:

  • Date: Thursday, May 29th
  • Location: 333 Madison Avenue
    9th Floor, Conf. Rm. #920
    New York, New York
  • Time: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM EST. (Lunch provided.)

To register, please fill out the Images in Higher Education Registration Form or call Megan Banman at 503-290-0339.

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Systems Engineer, Maxwell Mabe recently created a couple of videos that show how Portfolio Project Sync can effectively fit into a creative workflow using Adobe CS3 applications.

This first video shows how to use Portfolio Project Sync with Adobe Bridge to connect to your assets stored in Portfolio served catalogs.

The second video shows how to access and use assets in Adobe InDesign, Bridge as well as Portfolio NetPublish.

For more information about Portfolio, be sure to check out the Extensis website. If you’d like to see what our current customers are thinking, as well as ask them questions about how they tackle digital asset management (DAM) and using Portfolio Project Sync, be sure to check out the Extensis Forums.

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Converting from Canto Cumulus to Extensis PortfolioIt seems that we’re getting more and more inquires lately about converting to Portfolio Server™ from Canto® Cumulus®. There are of course many reasons why you might choose to switch to a digital asset management solution using Extensis Portfolio (award winning interface, excellent technical support, MySQL® 5 support, among many others) but I’m not here to pitch you with a hard sell. To see if Portfolio meets your requirements, and if you’d like to upgrade from Canto, check out all of the info over on the Portfolio pages of our website.

To whom I’m speaking here are those of you who are using Cumulus and are entirely ready to make a change. So, you’re ready, right. Yet, you’re probably the most concerned about how you’ll get data out of Cumulus and into Extensis™ Portfolio. After all, you did all that work entering metadata, why would you want to lose it?

The good news is, when converting you basically have three options. Which option you choose depends upon how your assets are stored, and how much work that you want to perform in-house.

Option #1 – Have Extensis perform the conversion for you

If you have a large quantity of assets that aren’t available online, or aren’t interested in the conversion process, it is possible for the Extensis Integration and Consulting Services (ICS) team to perform the conversion for you. Of course, this option is not without cost, but depending upon your knowledge and needs it may be the best choice.


  • Willingness to help us understand your workflow to ensure an effective and useful conversion.


During the conversion process the Extensis ICS team uses a variety of specially developed processes to convert Cumulus catalogs into Portfolio catalogs. They can even convert Cumulus catalogs into powerful SQL-based Portfolio Server catalogs.

For more information on the upgrading process, you can contact any of our corporate sales reps, or check out our ICS options at the Extensis website.

Option #2 – Do it yourself with online assets

If you have all of your assets stored online, and don’t mind doing some basic metadata importing and exporting you might be able to do all of the work yourself.


  • All files stored in an online, accessible location.
  • Good knowledge of required metadata.
  • Confidence with metadata export and import.

Basic overview of procedure:

  1. Install and configure Portfolio.
  2. Create a catalog.
  3. Using the online location of your files, catalog all of your files with Portfolio. If you are using Portfolio Server, this can be done automatically with AutoSync.
  4. Export all necessary metadata from Canto Cumulus.
  5. Import the metadata into Portfolio.
  6. Recreate any categories as required.

Option #3 – Do it yourself with offline assets

So, what happens if you have a quantity of offline assets (on CD, DVD, external drive, etc.) yet still want to do the conversion yourself? You can perform the conversion and recreate all of your preview files with a bit of help from those around your office. Distributing the task of re-inserting all of the discs in your catalog among many people can minimize each person’s effort and speed up the process exponentially. This option requires Portfolio Server.


  • Offline files on CD, DVD or other media each with a unique disc name.
  • Good knowledge of required metadata.
  • Confidence with metadata export and import.
  • Trustworthy coworkers or friends to which you’ll use in this distributed method of cataloging assets.

Basic overview of procedure:

  1. Install and configure Portfolio Server.
  2. Create a catalog.
  3. Catalog any online files with Portfolio.
  4. Distribute your offline media (CD, DVD, etc.) to your helpers.
  5. Have your helpers catalog their stack of media.
  6. Export all necessary metadata from Canto Cumulus.
  7. Import the metadata into Portfolio.
  8. Recreate any categories as required.

If all of this sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t worry. We’ve performed many Canto to Portfolio conversions and are confident in our technology. If for whatever reason you would rather not perform the conversion yourself, please feel free to call our corporate sales department. They can talk through your specific needs and how our ICS team may be able to help you.

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