Museum Management Case Study

Digital asset management (DAM) can be approached in a number of ways, from complete Business Enterprise Systems built from the ground up to stand-alone commercial, off-the-shelf products or a number of ‘best of breed’ solutions that can integrate with existing systems. During the review, a Software Solutions Sub-Group had been established to develop a set of functional requirements for a DAMS based on the Museum's needs.

Based on these requirements, existing systems at the museum and resource availability, the group decided that integration was the best option, and after a number of supplier demonstrations, the lookat.me™ DAM and integrated workflow solution provided by Media Equation Pty. Ltd. was selected.

The list of functional requirements for the integrated DAM solution was quite extensive, with key requirements including:
  • User-friendly with a web-based interface for access;

  • Controlled access to images based on user privileges;

  • Include image and rights management and use history;

  • A safe storage and retrieval system for the preservation of assets;

  • Workflow integration with data-harvesting and embedding of metadata;

  • A lightbox function providing a collaborative workspace to aid creative processes;

  • E-commerce functionality;

  • Integration with the Museum's existing collection management system (KE EMu).

A DAMS Implementation Steering Group was established and the project's ownership assigned to the Strategic Collection Management department, which also manages the implementation of other collection management systems. The first priority was to appoint a dedicated project manager, a need identified earlier by the Software Solutions Sub-Group, as the project would require extensive stakeholder negotiation, resource procurement and liaison and coordination between internal and external stakeholders. Apart from normal project management duties, the project manager needed to have an understanding of metadata requirements, migration and mapping of data, and various associated standards. This position has proved crucial to the overall success of the project.

The DAMS, known as MV IMAGES, has been developed by Media Equation from their standard lookat.me™ product, and includes additional fields identified by the Museum. Because of the number of fields, which conform to various standards, tabs were added to the interface to divide the types of data collected (see Figure 2). These tabs make navigating information and displaying the data easier. They can also be used to limit the type of data and information users have access to.

From a user perspective, MV IMAGES enables the organization of digital assets in logical or popular groupings via categories and mini-collections, which will allow various staff groups and the public to have easy access to certain images. These groupings can be restricted via permissions on the mini-collections or individual assets within the collection. The entire DAMS can be searched using a simple or advanced search feature, with the results returned limited by the permission level set on the individual assets. Using this feature will enable external assets, perhaps acquired under strict license conditions, to be managed within the system.

Users of MV IMAGES have the ability to make their own asset groupings using the lightbox feature. This will allow project teams or individuals to share assets via email, and aid collaborative and creative processes. The system also supports e-commerce via a shopping basket. This feature enables usage information to be collected, and checks can then be made to ensure that the use is permitted according to the associated rights. In addition, the system allows the user to predetermine the image size, which is automatically generated for download once the order is approved.

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