How do we capture knowledge?
In his TED talk, president and lead application developer of EnterMedia, Christopher Burkey describes the global need for the fair use of technology and regional databases of knowledge that belong to everyone.
Burkey describes the historical evolution of knowledge, from oral to physical knowledge, and our current shift to digital knowledge. Because our history and culture as a society is now stored primarily as digital knowledge, he notes there is a great importance for maintaining public control over that data rather than storing it in a profit driven corporate cloud. Corporate clouds and social media subject our data to terms and conditions, apply restrictions to how we use our own content, and even license it back to us. As we grow our knowledge pools, it is of growing importance to be conscious of who is the caretaker of that data.
Whether the motive is to use that knowledge for profit or the good of society is also important to consider, especially if we hope to allow future generations to access knowledge that are free of restriction or censorship via corporate or political policies.
Regionalism is also a necessary focus, especially as we strive to maintain our both global and regional heritage. Varying database solutions with individual controls allow for communities to have appropriate management over how they store their data and not lose the individualism of culturally based data, therefore maintaining diversity.
In closing, we are asked to challenge ourselves to consider how we as a society are building effective knowledge centers for ourselves, our communities, and our work.
Use an Open Source Media Database
EnterMedia 9.0 was recently released to meet the need of a world wide user base. Key features include:
- Easy Deployment RPM repository and installer on CentOS, RedHat or Ubuntu based servers
- Multi Language Assets The United Nations is using EnterMediaDB to publish in nine different languages worldwide.
- User Collections Greater compatibility with design applications including InDesign and Photoshop. Increased ability to sync changes and upload complex files or folders of files, as well as ability to edit this media straight in the database.
- Low Cost Hosting EnterMediaDB.net features low cost disk storage and scalability that can be moved to in-house at any time
Key deployments involve many large educational institutions including Harvard, Yale, University of Michigan, SDSU, Mohawk College and Weatherford College.
Non-profits are also deploying knowledge dabatabases, including Radio Canada, Mindset, Oceano, and Museumsdorf Cloppenburg
Complying with metadata best practices can keep the DAM UI clean and relevant to the needs of users. Here is a shortlist that every admin should know:
1.) Require fields – Required fields cannot be left blank when a user is adding new information or modifying existing metadata. The web upload page is a great place to add multiple required fields. This will ensure that no media can be uploaded without basic information.
2.) Use controlled vocabulary – Single select lists and multi select lists can be used to keep users from misspelling terms or labeling media in obscure ways. This will keep terminology consistent and predictable throughout the application. Permissions can be specific user profiles that allow them to add list values on the front end of the application.
3.) Promote key fields – Key fields, like tags, should be accessible in multiple areas throughout the application. Making them available in the Advanced Search area or Filters, will make it easy for users to search based on these fields. Placing them in the table view makes it easy for users to identify that search results meet their specific criteria. Lastly, make sure the fields are featured in General, File Properties, or some other custom metadata view.
4.) Keep it Simple – Sometimes less is more. By focusing the UI and related workflows on core content, administrators can create a more intuitive environment. Advanced fields, department specific fields, or other exceptions, can be placed in permission based data views so they don’t interfere with the process of other users. Users can be given permissions to add additional search terms, table result fields, and data views as their workflow requires.
5.) Take advantage of granularity – Specific fields allow users to be intentional with results. Having designated fields for locations, dates, stakeholders, history, rights usage, etc.. can be very useful up front and over time. Relying too heavily on a field like tags can become chaotic. Useful Information can get lost in the clutter of unrelated terms.
6.) Automate information – Sometimes metadata, such as product number, is written into a filename or a folder name. EnterMedia can be customized with scripts that can be taught to extract or assume information based on other context clues. As long as there are consistent variables to build from, automation can be used to save a lot of time and effort when labeling assets.
7.) Dedicated data views – Most DAM systems will support dedicated data view. Some categorical examples are:physical properties, rights management, and business information. Dividing metadata into these types of areas makes it easy for users to find desired data. Admins should be able to add and customize data views as requirements change.
A more detailed article about metadata best practices is available in our knowledgebase.
DPCI is one of EnterMedia’s oldest and most trusted partners. They developed EMBridge to connect the EnterMedia DAM to the Drupal CMS and vice versa. Customers like The University of Michigan – Flint Campus are a great example of how value added resellers, like DPCI, can walk a client through the challenges of transition from one solution to another.
“When UM-Flint came to DPCI, the University Relations department was using a proprietary digital asset management (DAM) system to store and manage tens of thousands of media files. UM-Flint staff was dissatisfied with the functionality and implementation of the DAM system as well as the software’s annual cost. UM-Flint also wanted to revamp its metadata schema to better categorize image files so that they were easier to find and reuse. In addition, the University website, built on top of Drupal CMS, had no connection to this DAM to access images for publishing on the website.”
The full case study is available on the DPCI site: http://www.dpci.com/case-studies/digital-asset-management/university-michigan-flint-campus
UM-Flint has now been using EnterMedia for over a year. They maintain a support agreement with us EnterMedia and have significantly reduced their overhead costs. EnterMedia continues to focus on the higher education and non-profit markets as a low cost alternative to proprietary solutions. More information is available at LearningMediaDB.com.