Best of Both Worlds – Digital Archiving for museums with Digital Asset Management
“Today digital technology is pervasive. It is mandatory that museums, libraries, and archives join with educational institutions in embracing it.” G. Wayne Clough, author of the book ‘Best of Both Worlds’
Digitalization is wrapping its arms rapidly around many industries. Consumers are getting easy access to media through connected devices, making sharing and consuming it, faster than ever. Cultural organizations see this change coming, trying to expand their brand online to reach new audiences, locally and abroad. Museums and other cultural institutions will have to embrace this change and all opportunities and challenges that accompany it.
Digitization in the museum industry does create the best of both worlds: the democratization of assets in cultural heritage creates a great learning tool for the public. It gives museums the possibility to create a more immersive experience for the audience. Not everything is suited for the booklet at the beginning of the exposition and not all can be said in a guided audio tour. Research becomes easier due to the wide variety of different digital assets available to the public.
Today vast amounts of audio and video files, but also photographs and pictures of paintings are flooding the systems of a museum and other cultural institutions, ready for digitalization, but can quickly become too much to handle for small teams.
Efforts have been made by institutions, such as the Association of Independent Museums, to standardize the archiving processes, who try to help museum staff and volunteers to properly archive their collections. This requires more than a guide, this asks for a system that can easily handle many files for multiple users. Through Digital Asset Management software, vast amounts of digital assets become manageable through one go-to solution.
While there are collection management systems, they do not provide the information needed for digital usage. Systems such as those give information about the artist, dimensions, materials, and condition etc. But they do not provide additional information protecting these files, such as its format, file size, copyright information and usage rights.
Digital Asset Management makes sure these areas are covered so all is in place for safe online publication. It creates an infrastructure for internal use that prevents incorrect publications, scattered digital assets across multiple hard drives making easy access near to impossible. Searching for digital assets becomes way easier due to quick shifting through meta data and consequently cutting storage costs due to one central data library.
DAM creates one hub which oversees all publications from different departments, who can now manage their own digital assets, while still working in one solution. The ease of publication puts museums once again in the public realm, attracting new and more engaged audiences.
Before you get started, read our tips on how you set up Digital Asset Management successfully.
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