Harvard University and Customizable Search Filters

 

Introduction

Education providers are often on the front lines of new ideas and groundbreaking concepts. At Harvard University, this has always been the case. In the Fall of 2013, Harvard University – Center for the Environment (HUCE) approached EnterMedia looking for a flexible, open source digital asset management (DAM) solution that could keep up with the growing demands of their students and faculty. Although the overall product was satisfying, the filtering feature did not meet the standard that Harvard desired in an ideal vendor.

Harvard drew much of its inspiration for its desired outcome from e-commerce sites. As more of the general population interacts with these product-based search models, the expectation of similar functionality increases. In order to provide comparable characteristics, the feature would need to be customizable on the back end, while proving flexible and responsive on the front end. EnterMedia was tasked with building the feature and thus proving their responsiveness and compliance with client requirements.

Over six weeks of information exchange and collaboration, EnterMedia evolved its existing search filters to meet the high bar set by Harvard. With the new feature in place, the product and team that supported it proved themselves capable of meet the unique needs of a progressive university. The HUCE DAM has been hosted in the EnterMediaDB cloud ever since. 

Background

EnterMedia has been competing in the open source digital asset management arena for over eight years. In years prior, EnterMedia operated as OpenEdit, a Content Management System product and service provider. The flexible nature of the source code produced a following of developers and customers around the world. The high standards OpenEdit were carried over by CEO Christopher Burkey as EnterMedia was developed.
Unbeknownst to HUCE, EnterMedia was already being used by Harvard Business School for several years as a student video portal. Many advances in the software had been made as a result of that relationship, including improvements on scalability through the clustering feature, which allows the digital asset management workload and processes to be shared across multiple servers, supporting thousands of users. When asked for references, EnterMedia was able to introduce the right hand to the left, which provided an excellent internal reference for both the software and developers.
In addition to searching for a suitable product to meet their digital asset management needs, HUCE was also in the market for a team that could enhance the existing product and features to keep up with the expanding expectations of an increasingly tech savvy faculty. The decision makers had invested considerable time exploring the search features of other websites and discussing the needs of the local staff. It was essential that the selected solution would meet present and future needs.

“Our long-term vision for using the DAM in the Harvard environment is that it will serve as the backbone for an online platform that allows faculty to share, search, and archive their collective teaching resources across schools and departments. Such a resource would provide faculty with efficient access to high-quality teaching materials that have been vetted by their colleagues. Initially, our focus will be on engaging faculty whose teaching and research is related to energy and environment, but we are in contact with those members of the University administration in charge of campus digital initiatives. They are watching our particular DAM initiative with the thought that our efforts may eventually serve as a model for other groups around the University.” – Eric Simms, Educational Programs Manager, Center for the Environment, Harvard University.

The Challenge

Harvard agreed to a hosting trial for testing and training purposes. During this arrangement, EnterMedia was tasked with expanding the existing capability of the filters feature; acceptance of this enhancement would determine the future of the account.
In version 8.11R1, the filters feature was an extension of the File Type field. The field had special properties, and it could be linked with specific assets upon ingest based on file extension. Some clients had used custom scripts to add logic for dividing assets with identical extensions into separate File Type values. According to Harvard, the feature would need to be associated with alternate lists, or even multiple lists in the asset table.
On the surface, the features on competing websites looked simple enough, but on the code side, there were many different strategies being applied. EnterMedia needed to decide on the best path forward for the feature. The decision would need to please a potential client and set the standard for the future of the feature.

The Solution

EnterMedia started work immediately. The first task was to allow the use of multiple lists in the filters widget on the front end. Additional properties were added to the advanced options for fields in the asset table so that almost any field could be added to the filters list by an administrator. The second goal was to make the lists responsive to the other search features. Logic was added that updated the available filters to appropriately reflect the results in any search performed by a user.
The momentum created by the construction of the first pieces of this initiative led to more ideas which were discussed and mapped out into additional enhancements. New code was written to provide a numerical value for each of the filter fields. Based on this logic, a user could see how many results would remain if a specific filter was activated. After the click, the remaining filtering options would be adjusted to accurately indicate remaining assets, and a new number would be visible on each filter that was still relevant within the narrowed scope of available media.

Throughout the process, EnterMedia checked its progress with the Harvard team to make sure that the primary directives were kept in focus. As the deadline approached, constructive conversations provided feedback and the defining characteristics were locked in place. In the end, Harvard had access to filters that could pull from multiple lists and could be changed or expanded over time. On the user side, each search updated the suggested numbers and available options based on remaining results. EnterMedia also enhanced the feature to work in tandem with categories, renamed as courses.

“The willingness of EnterMedia to consider, and invest in, creative solutions for our specific project needs was a significant factor in our decision to choose them as our DAM vendor. We discovered that we needed to customize the existing search functions by creating advanced filter features, and our requests were well received and promptly addressed, with the expectation that the development of these features would also be useful to other EnterMedia clients. We were able to have multiple conversations with the EnterMedia support and development groups as our needs evolved, including a face-to-face meeting with a key developer that proved very useful in moving our project forward. Overall, we felt that EnterMedia would be more responsive than other vendors based on our initial interactions, and so far they have lived up to our expectations.” – Eric Simms, Educational Programs Manager, Center for the Environment, Harvard University.

Conclusion

After the new feature was unveiled, EnterMedia was selected as the official DAM provider for Harvard University Center for the Environment. The general product provided an intuitive look and feel, a flexible set of features, and a support staff that was eager to improve and support the software.

“Our evolving interests were ultimately defined by the following needs: 1) a platform that allowed a large number of potential users (i.e., upwards of several hundred), all of whom would be able to contribute content via limited administrative access, 2) a reasonable pricing structure that allowed for our user needs as defined in #1 above, 3) external hosting, 4) flexibility to customize the platform to meet some of our specific needs, and 5) an intuitive user-interface for uploading, searching, and previewing assets. At the end of our search we felt that EnterMedia offered the most promising solutions to many of our needs, and were very impressed with the level of personal attention and support we received throughout our extended vetting process.” – Eric Simms, Educational Programs Manager, Center for the Environment, Harvard University.
Working with Harvard and other university clients will continue to strengthen EnterMedia as a powerful ally for educational service providers. The ongoing collaboration process will ensure that features are always competitive with the market and relevant to the needs of students and faculty around the world. EnterMedia’s commitment to keeping the code open source will allow a broad spectrum of ideas and budgets to access the progress that is made in every new release.

Mindset and Customized EMShare Applications

 

Introduction

In the world of non-profit organizations, discovering the most economical ways to utilize competitive technologies is essential to long-term success. Open source solutions provide a flexible platform with the option of a community-based support model. This alternative to traditional proprietary models allows small businesses and NPOs access to the same tools and technology used by enterprise-level organizations for a fraction of the cost.
 
These considerations led Mindset to contact EnterMedia. The online demo allowed the team to become familiar with the capability of the product and the intricacies of the UI. The online Google Group helped them to gather feedback and support for questions that surfaces throughout the evaluation process. Personalized communication via ZenDesk enabled Mindset to find a sense of comfort with the responsiveness and thoroughness of the technical team. The combination of these factors, and a solid core product led Mindset to select EnterMedia as their official DAM provider.

Background

Mindset is a non-profit organization that was founded in South Africa in 2002. Their primary goal is to ‘to educate and improve health in South Africa.’ Mindset provides educational materials for children and young adults to help improve proficiency in mathematics, natural sciences, technology, and English. Another division helps treat HIV/ AIDS by reaching out to patients through clinics, health care providers, and in hospital waiting rooms. Mindset proves to be an engaging non-profit organization, with their assistance to help solve major issues and attempts to gain ground by empowering the population with knowledge and information.
 
Digital asset management (DAM) technology allows digital resources to be organized, shared, and used faster and easier than ever before. A flexible and highly functional, open source digital asset management is an essential piece in an efficient work flow model. In order to make a well-informed decision, Mindset spent over a year investigating the options and potential of competing software on the open source market. Choosing the right partner would be essential in the effectiveness of key pieces in the daily workflow of Mindset.

“Mindset Network initially invested in an internally developed and hosted KMS (Knowledge Management System) as we saw the need to manage our assets effectively. After 10 years, we outgrew this system given the amount of media we create. Our biggest challenge was the complexity around tagging and managing the workflow of our assets.”- Johan Els, COO and CTO of Mindset

The Challenge

Mindset had many goals and objectives in mind for their chosen solution. One of their primary ideas included accessing a tool that would allow Mindset administrators to publish videos on platforms such as YouTube. Mindset needed a tool where they could pull information to share videos with clients, create slideshows for interactive learning via interaction with flash files, and hold current construction positions for assets that were still being created. Some of these pieces would need to be backed by a strong API that would allow their team to manage the workflow in a smooth, efficient manner.
In order to ramp up the existing toolset to meet these needs, EnterMedia had to expand the Youtube extension to include metadata. This would allow data, such as the YouTube ID, to be written back to the digital asset management application. Additional attention to the way EnterMedia’s REST API could be used to help create and interact with token assets would also be necessary. Additionally, Mindset needed a support team that could back up the in-house development resources which would be essential to a collaborative process. This would allow Mindset to expand and improve areas of particular interest at their own pace.

“EnterMedia provides a robust, flexible, and easy-to-use system for organizing and managing digital assets of any kind, while also allowing for easy location and retrieval of assets. Integration with other systems and public websites is also easily possible with EnterMedia.” – Johan Els, COO and CTO of Mindset

The Solution

The out-of-the-box EMShare application, along with a few product enhancements, made EnterMedia an ideal solution for the daily workflow of Mindset. The support model would involve a combination of resources from the EnterMedia team and that of a local consulting company called eInsight (http://www.einsight.co.za/). Training and support for the installation would be provided to both Mindset and E-Insight team members to ensure that all parties would be involved in the ongoing collaboration that the model would require.

“With help from a local consultant, eInsight, EnterMedia evaluated and tested a number of Digital Asset Management Systems that exist in the market today. These included paid and open source solutions. eInsight evaluated a very complex, complete features list against all the products out there, and considered Mindset’s needs. EnterMedia came out as the best possible choice, for its flexibility, scalability, reliability, and total cost of ownership. EnterMedia’s solid features list and open API for additional development proved to be the best fit for our organization.” – Johan Els, COO and CTO of Mindset

EnterMedia dedicated time and resources to ensure that Mindset felt comfortable and confident in this collaboration. The first step within the collaborative world of open source digital asset management, is to help take an organization from the limitations of a closed proprietary model to a place of open minds and ever-increasing potential. Always inspired by the hard work and positive community impact of non-profit models, EnterMedia put their best efforts into meeting all of the needs and requirements that Mindset had provided early on in the process.
“EnterMedia met all our expectations with regard to the installation and configuration of the product. After-sales support is timely, consistently good, professional, and very helpful and has exceeded expectations.” – Johan Els, COO and CTO of Mindset

Conclusion

Mindset dedicated over an entire year to evaluate and consider the options being offered on the market. In the end, it was evident that EnterMedia maintains a competitive, cost-effective solution for non-profit organizations. After close evaluation, testing, and discussion, Mindset made the decision to proceed with EnterMedia as their official digital asset management solutions provider.
“Mindset Network has already created over 1,400 hours of educational video content with supporting PDF and interactive online programs. This library is only useful to the children when it can be stored and managed in meaningful ways. EnterMedia has provided this. We, at Mindset Network, would strongly recommend EnterMedia as a highly versatile and complete DAMS.” – Johan Els, COO and CTO of Mindset

SDSU Creates a Student-Centered Learning Media Portal

 

 

Introduction

Re-imagining innovative technologies is an ongoing opportunity within actively growing educational institutions. In early 2012, a dedicated team at South Dakota State University (SDSU), focused on implementing learning-based media and instructional design services, made the decision to invest their efforts towards creating a web portal that students and faculty members could use to interact with assets and curriculum. How would this new environment affect the day to day lives of future scholars and innovative educators? SDSU enlisted the services of EnterMedia to find out.

Background

Armed with forward thinking staff and ambitious ideas SDSU is a leader in the interactive learning movement. They have been honored as one of the top active learning programs, among the world’s top companies and universities. Their Active Learning Cloud platform was acknowledged and honored by EMG (Elearning! Media Group). Read about their success story here!

“I noticed the change in student expectations even this year compared to last — incoming SDSU students are using more and more mobile computing devices, from laptops to iPads to Slate tablets, sometimes to access web-based tools or applications that are no longer housed locally on their own computers or on some other university computer.” – Shouhong Zhang
South Dakota State University’s vision was to offer engaging learning tools and assets pertaining to studies and lectures through the internet. A flexible and adaptable platform would be necessary in order to meet SDSU’s expectations and requirements for a successful deployment. Previous experience with building DAM tools for Harvard Business School and other universities qualified EnterMedia as an ideal candidate.

“This is a new generation of students,” Zhang said. “For them, it’s all about being mobile.”

The Challenge

SDSU is a university focused on providing their students and faculty with the most supportive and interactive hybrid learning resources. They contacted EnterMedia with expectations of working together to strategically centralize and share their digital assets. SDSU sought learning tools that would enable students and faculty to access video lectures and other related classroom files. The creation of a custom environment based on the existing library feature set was prioritized. SDSU requested that the software permissions ensure students can only view assets associated with their enrolled courses, keeping the display of digital assets fully organized and specifically catered to each user.

“We did a very comprehensive comparison of the products in the market – commercial and open source ones. EnterMedia won us because of its user interface, cost, support, and customization. We ran several media servers (MS, Real, Apple, Flash) prior to adopting EnterMedia. The support and user interface of those applications were not satisfactory.” -Shouhong Zhang at South Dakota State University

The Solution

EnterMedia worked closely with SDSU to associate student usernames with course libraries to ensure a custom, unique experience for each individual. A public access area was also built, which provides general information for prospective students, and the general public. Through this portal, anyone can learn about the university’s updates. See for yourself; check it out here. This inspiring video demonstrates the value SDSU places on innovative learning tools to ensure current and future students are given every resource available to succeed.

 

SDSU Learning Portal

SDSU Learning Portal

 

Conclusion

SDSU remains ahead of the learning curve. Within a document that outlines their mission, “The Active Learning Cloud Plan Summary”states that South Dakota State University intends to address every obstacle that the current generation faces within education and the advancement of technology. From this research, the university was able to begin formulating a plan to clear any remaining hurdles that stand between their students and educational excellence.

According to EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, there are five obstacles within education for Gen Y… “1.Creating learning environments that promote active learning, critical thinking, collaborative learning, and knowledge creation. 2.Developing 21st century literacy (information, digital, and visual) among students and faculty. 3.Reaching and engaging today’s learner. 4.Encouraging faculty adoption and innovation in teaching and learning with IT. 5.Advancing innovation in teaching and learning with technology in an era of budget cuts.”
South Dakota State University recognized an area for improvement, envisioned a plan, and teamed up with EnterMedia to make these goals a reality. When it comes to open source digital asset management within a university, customization proves essential. EnterMedia was able to engineer the core features, secure permissions to assets to based on university credentials, and produce an active learning portal. This ensures both inclusion and privacy, based on the educational path of each student. This environment allows effective, personalized teaching and learning to occur by providing a way for each student to access a plethora of digital assets pertaining to their course of study.

“When working with their support and development team, we see they are willing to help, competent, professional, and open-minded. We’re their happy customer! We’ve used it for 3 years now. Our users are very pleased with the service and interface.” -Shouhong Zhang at South Dakota State University
Connect Students and Faculty with Digital Resources
“Our faculty and students are very happy with our own YouTube! It’s so easy to use it and is completely browser based like YouTube. It empowers users to manage their digital assets for classes in the cloud. EnterMedia’s support team is prompt to take care of issues and listen to our needs. Just tell them what you need, they will give you the solution!” -Dr. Shouhong Zhang, Manager Instructional Design Services, South Dakota State University

Northwestern Switzerland Academy of Music Leaves Canto Cumulus DAM for EnterMedia

Introduction

Sometimes a solution that has worked for years will no longer serve the needs of the users or meet the ongoing budget requirements of an organization. In these situations, it may be necessary to pursue new products or service providers. In late 2014, The Academy of Music within The University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland found themselves in precisely this position.

FHNW is a cluster of different universities known as the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Northwestern Switzerland. The FHNW Academy of Music is one of these schools (herein “The Academy”). Although many of these universities have used DAM software for years, the Academy sought a smoother, more modern solution for their creative needs. The chosen solution would require transition services for all users, data and media currently stored in the Canto Cumulus digital asset management system. The software would need to demonstrate a more intuitive user interface, workflow capabilities and flexible platform for future changes. After a successful migration, The Academy collaborated with EnterMedia on this case study as part of a larger effort to ease the process of changing DAM software and service providers, as the details are not always clearly defined.

Background

Moving from one system to another is always an interesting experience from the DAM user’s perspective. The specific arrangement of features, the visual consistency of a UI and the identification with a brand name can be difficult to let go. Yet, in a modern world, where technology is changing and expanding at a rapid rate, it is common to explore the possibilities of more than just one system.

FNHW purchased Cumulus from Canto many years prior to The Academy’s introduction to EnterMedia Software. Cumulus was in use by multiple departments of the University, but The Academy sought a smoother, more modern solution for their creative needs. Certain technical requirements and support needs were not being satisfied. Due to this, and other challenges with the Canto Cumulus UI and support structure, The Academy decided to make the switch from their subscription-based solution to EnterMedia’s EMShare.

Unbeknownst to FHNW, EnterMedia was originally developed as an alternative to Cumulus. Although both solutions claim the open source title; EnterMedia offers more flexibility, a closer connection with support and consulting personnel, and a more economical pricing model. EnterMedia also has experience in moving all essential components from an old environment to the new one.

“We have replaced several Canto Cumulus systems with EnterMedia for a lower overall cost. With improved performance and a more flexible open source platform, it’s a no-brainer to dump Cumulus and import your catalogs to EnterMedia.”

Christopher Burkey, Lead Developer/CEO of EnterMedia

Challenges with Canto Cumulus and Selecting a Replacement

The Academy faced several specific challenges with Canto Cumulus. First, media support on the platform was not efficient, nor cost-effective due to subscription-based extensions. Second, their version of the client software was not platform independent. Third, the video/media conversions occur on the Canto Cumulus cloud and The Academy needed the media’s data on their own servers, due to the common challenge of copyright issues. Restrictive data limitations, cost efficiency and user friendliness were some of the pain points.

“In our personal opinion, Canto Cumulus has a catastrophic look-and-feel, resembling dinosaur software from the 80’s.”

Holger Stenschke – Research Coordination, The University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland.

The Academy considered three other DAM options: Typo3, Cantemo and Resourcespace. Each had their pros and cons, but video handling, pricing, closed-source code and additional programming requirements all weighed heavily into the final decision. The ideal solution needed to balance cost efficiency, powerful feature sets and a support team who would live up to their promises.

“Our local Canto Cumulus reseller and support was very unreliable and we were not able to meet our requirements in time.”
Holger Stenschke – Research Coordination, The University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland.

The transition from Canto Cumulus would need to take place quickly, to avoid any production down time between the use of the two systems. All data and assets would need to transfer, convert and populate the appropriate areas. The administrators required specific, timely training and support sessions to properly manage and maintain all of their assets in their new media database.

“The technical challenges of moving from one DAM to another were navigated through a series of custom scripts, exporting / importing tasks, and data massaging. Transition is always a custom process, but experience makes a big difference in terms of timeline, budget and project communication.”

– Ian Miller, Senior Architect, NetEvolved/ EnterMedia, Inc.

The Solution

The primary requirements were a platform independent client, flexible media support (such as unlimited file conversions, custom transcoding profiles, e.g. ffmpeg/ AVConv), local storage, a simple and customizable UI, Dublin core metadata support and configurable user permissions. EnterMedia’s EMShare was able to meet all of these requirements, and more, out of the box. With straightforward support agreements and pricing, experience with migrating other clients from Canto Cumulus, solid documentation and a modern GUI in the browser-based client, EnterMedia was awarded the contract.

“Our most important requirement was flawless media handling and playback. EnterMedia offers this. No software add-on is necessary. Everything is included. They had fair pricing and offered great support options with excellent documentation. EM Software is basically ready-to-go.”

– Holger Stenschke – Research Coordination, The University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland.

Conclusion

The Academy confirms that they are “indeed very happy with the end result…all our requirements were met”. Even in the midst of a major movement to the cloud, some organizations still require a local media server. The adoption of an open-source, easily operated DAM solution can improve the experience of those managing and interacting with the media. There is more to a solution than a big name or a legacy product. Fair pricing, detailed documentation and clear, flexible support options are essential considerations when choosing a DAM vendor..

“The EM platform proved itself to be a reliable tool in our daily work.” – Holger Stenschke – Research Coordination, The University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland.

Media Giant PR Newswire uses EnterMedia to Support Media Studio

 

Introduction

PR Newswire is a multimedia platform provider with clients all around the world. Their products focus on helping marketing teams, corporate communicators and public affairs officers to fully utilize available content to engage with target audiences. PRN was paramount in the establishment of the commercial news distribution industry in the 1950’s. Currently, PRN provides end-to-end solutions for media production, organization, optimization and targeting for traditional web, modern mobile and social media outlets. PRN boasts the world’s largest multi-cultural, multi-channel content distribution network.

 

Background

PR Newswire has a software package called Media Studio. They utilize EnterMedia as the backend, using the REST API to perform different tasks such as getting asset metadata or transcoding. They use several EnterMedia servers for quality control, user acceptance verification, and integration testing for their own features.

More about Media Studio: http://promotions.prnewswire.com/MediaStudio.html

 

 

Keeping up with the extensive demands of PRN and their thousands of clients requires a 24/7 support agreement, a complex arrangement of servers and testing strategies, and cutting edge technology. EnterMedia engages with PRN multiple times each week to make sure that all of their ongoing needs are prioritized.

“PR Newswire is a great example of a well known, global media company that needed a fast, reliable, customizable DAM solution to process large amounts of assets. I’m pleased to say that EnterMedia has been able to satisfy their needs.” – Christopher Burkey, CEO, EnterMedia

 

 

Technical Challenges

 

1. Building a Fast and Reliable Backend

PR Newswire has a large volume of clients that rely on their Media Studio product. This results in an ever increasing number of search queries, transcodes, and metadata edits. The backend server must keep pace with the requests and demands of each client in order to provide a continuously positive experience. This requires an enormous amount of resources.

The transcoding of images, video, audio, and document files in a quick and efficient manner is paramount to the success of the project. In order to address this issue, EnterMedia invested resources in extending the REST API, and the improvement of a node based clustering solution. These technologies would allow more accurate management of system events, and unprecedented scaling capabilities within a single environment.

2. Converting CMYK Images

Another challenge was reliably converting CMYK images to the sRGB colorspace. This was one of the most persistent challenges of the project. EnterMedia has always converted images to the sRGB colorspace because it is has earned the reputation of being the standard default colorspace for the internet (http://www.w3.org/Graphics/Color/sRGB.html).

There were a wide variety of CMYK images that would need to be correctly processed through the backend conversion system. Some images had no metadata indicating that the image was in the CMYK colorspace. Some images were missing a CMYK embedded profile that defines the mapping of that particular colorspace. Some images had an inaccurately embedded profile. As a result, many of the images that were uploaded to EnterMedia suffered from color distortion when transcoded.

 Case Study - image_cmyk_issue

 

Technical Solutions

 

The primary requirements were a platform independent client, flexible media support (such as unlimited file conversions, custom transcoding profiles, e.g. ffmpeg/ AVConv), local storage, a simple and customizable UI, Dublin core metadata support and configurable user permissions. EnterMedia’s EMShare was able to meet all of these requirements, and more, out of the box. With straightforward support agreements and pricing, experience with migrating other clients from Canto Cumulus, solid documentation and a modern GUI in the browser-based client, EnterMedia was awarded the contract.

1. Building a Fast and Reliable Backend

One issue which caused slowness in converting all of the profiles for an asset was that each of the profiles were being transcoded up-front. PRN regularly uses about a dozen distinct transcode profiles which were used to describe various printable and web-based versions of an image. This issue was solved by exposing a REST API function for transcoding a profile on-the-fly called “convertasset”. This empowered local administrators to make a simple call that would transcode a particular profile on an as-needed basis.

“EnterMedia is a robust and powerful digital asset management system. For our environment we needed a cost-effective system to handle transcoding needs that occur 24/7. This is a very challenging part of the process and EM handles it very well.”

– Morgan Tiley, Senior Developer, PR Newswire

2. Converting CMYK Images

Reliably converting CMYK Images with missing or incorrect information required a creative and multi-faceted approach. The issues were solved in a series of steps. It was decided that  CMYK-colorspace images would be handled separately from general input images. Research was done to determine the proper way to use ImageMagick for converting each of the CMYK images with their specific limitations.

Previously, the ImageMagick convert parameter “colorspace” was used to convert all of the images to sRGB. Specifying “-colorspace sRGB” internally maps the input image colorspace to sRGB as best it can, however, this function doesn’t always produce fully satisfactory results. This is what caused the color scheme of the conversion to vary from the original.

The solution to this was to strip the current color profile information from the input image and embed an sRGB profile on the output image instead of using the -colorspace parameter. The system was also modified to use a tiny profile, tinysRGB.icc, for embedding. This profile is very small in size (524  Bytes), so output images are never bloated. This strategy ended up resolving most of the CMYK conversion issues.

However, there were still issues with invalid input images. For instance, some CMYK images did not contain a CMYK embedded profile (an example of this was denoted as “the Manilow case”, because of the content of the test image). There were also several instances where a CMYK image had an invalid CMYK embedded profile.

In total, these were the invalid cases:

Color Space | Color Profile

—————————

CMYK            | none

CMYK            | non-CMYK

non-CMYK    | CMYK

To resolve these cases, a pre-processor was implemented that would correct the images.

This was the resulting pseudocode from the implementation:

// CMYK Image Pre-processing

if (input_image is JPG, GIF, TIF, or EPS) {

if (input_image is “CMYK”) {

if(input_image doesn’t have embedded CMYK profile) {

Embed a CMYK profile on input_image

}

}

}

// CMYK Image Conversion Process

if(input_image is CMYK) {

convert by embedding sRGB profile on output

} else {

convert using “-colorspace sRGB”

}

 

Conclusion

Even high profile media organizations with a global client base can rely on open source solution as the basis for their own tools and applications. The increasing demand for high quality media, unique internal product requirements, and the expanding volume of overall content requires a robust, flexible and scalable product. The continued partnership between PR Newswire and EnterMedia is proof that enterprise clients can rely on the software, support and personnel at EnterMedia.

“We’ve worked very very closely with them on new features and issue resolution with great success.”

– Morgan Tiley, Senior Developer, PR Newswire