What to consider when shopping for a digital achive system
Special to BookTech by Danny O. Snow
Today's publishers need effective solutions for securely and efficiently storing the digital assets. Of course, there are many important factors to consider when selecting a digital asset management (DAM) system: cost, ease of use, security, scalability, available features and online capabilities. In addition, a DAM solution's ability to enhance cross-media publishing; provide both in-house and vendor access to the digital assets; and interpreting legacy files can play an important role in a publisher's success. Finally, a publisher must weigh in-house asset management against the out-sourcing alternative.
"When considering a DAM solution, the three most important factors to consider are scalability, flexibility and vendor support," says David Rocha, sales manager for publishing solutions at IBM's Digital Media Center, Hartford, Conn. Scalability is critical, he says, because collections grow rapidly. In a very short period of time, user growth can exceed projections. Flexibility is also critical, he notes, because the kind of data saved today and the way it's used may not be the same in a year. "Your system needs to be media-neutral, not tailored to any one workflow but able to adapt to any workflow."
In addition, vendors must provide comprehensive 24x7 support and have an internal infrastructure that supports continued R&D, Rocha adds. "Too many vendors build only to narrow customer requirements, and then lack the ability or resources to look ahead to develop features that will be needed in the future."
IBM's Networked Interactive Content Access (NICA) 4.0 solution is a digital media archiving/ management tool that enables publishers to digitize, store and retrieve text, graphics or images, Rocha reports. Iowa City, Iowa-based MetaCommunications produces other DAM solutions for the graphic arts industry: Virtual Ticket is electronic job ticketing and DAM software; Job Manager is an electronic job tracking, costing and billing system.