Another DAM solution, TEAMS 4.0 from Artesia Technol-ogies, Washington, D.C., enables users to convert archived content from one format to another, according to Brian Hedquist, manager of marketing and communications. Dynamic content linking preserves relationships between content elements. He adds, the combination of TEAMS' Web-based user interface, n-tiered architecture, automatic fail-over and dynamic load balancing makes it an enterprise-class solution. And TEAMS' embrace of the XML family of standards and its professional services capability provides the framework for turning legacy content into digital assets, Hedquist concludes. Meanwhile, MetaCommunications' Virtual Ticket provides solutions insertion order documentation, ad tracking, verification of production specifications and shipping/fulfillment data.
"When is an in-house DAM solution better than an outsourced solution, and vice versa?"
Jonathan Nathan, founder of JNMedia (acquired last year by Lightning Source, LaVergne, Tenn.), suggests publishers use a combination of both: "Outsourcing allows you to take advantage of the experience of others rather than having to reinvent the wheel every time you run up against something new. Ultimately some outsourced services may be integrated into your in-house system. But continually evolving technology often will require new outsourcing,"
MetaCommunications' Guthart favors in-house solutions. "Our product, Virtual Ticket, offers a Web interface to digital assets that allow users outside of the publisher, such as book printers, to search, view, and download digital assets as needed." In-house or outsourced, a good DAM solution should offer publishers substantial flexibility in file management. Most experts agree that today's digital technologies will continue to grow and change rapidly in the years ahead, and a good DAM solution offers an 'upgrade path' for today's and tomorrow's needs.
Experts also encourage publishers to carefully consider the size and complexity of future archives when choosing a DAM system. To revisit an old quip about personal computing: The volume of files stored on any hard drive is directly proportional to the capacity of the drive. While the cost of storage devices has dropped almost as dramatically as file sizes have increased in recent years, the fundamental tendency of both individuals and institutions to accumulate more and more data remains true.