Frequently Asked Questions Section 54

Key requirements - DAM System; Media Management Software; Picture Library Management Software; Digital content management

In general, the main purpose of the DAM system is to make it easy to work with digital assets. Some users will work very often with digital assets and need to perform advanced tasks. Other users may just occasionally need to view some assets. Therefore, it is important the DAM system has an easy user interface which is suitable for the occasional and advanced user. Also the DAM system will provide asset information for external users, mainly via the website. The main requirements for browsing through digital assets, searching and viewing are stated in this section.

Browsing

The DAM system should offer user an easy way of browsing and viewing assets and asset properties. For instance, browsing through collections, sub-collections and other folders by a tree-hierarchy, setting a filter or alternatively, querying by a simple search entry (like Google). Useful features for presenting browse and search results on screen are:

  • Presenting object and asset-properties at one glance. Dense presentation of asset properties is important because there is a lot of meta-data.
  • Switch between pre configured screen layouts, for instance optimised for viewing large selection lists or search results, overview of object-folders. Thumbnails of assets should always be visible. Vary the amount of asset properties visible, choose font size, select presentation form (list, thumbnails, detailed list, tiles etc.). Thus varying between detailed view of specific assets to overviews showing a lot of assets at one glance.
  • Quickly resizing thumbnail size.
  • When browsing, the DAM system should follow object hierarchy For instance: when one object is selected, all thumbnails of child objects are immediately shown.
  • When viewing child-objects, properties of the parent object should be visible. For instance:
    • properties like 'title' and 'artist' will only be available at parent object level.
    • Long lists (e.g. search results) should be presented in a scroll list.
  • General:
    • When viewing, assets and asset properties must be protected against unintended modifications.
    • When viewing, several users should be able to access the same asset at the same time.
    • The thumbnail of the preferable image quality should always be shown.

Searching

The DAM system should allow for easy and advanced search functions. Simple search means search by keywords to match any asset property (like Google). Advanced search means query by criteria at field level, query by example or fuzzy search (correlations), and tags. Users may search for assets by various entries like collection, object ID, artist, theme, year of creation, exhibition etc. For searching, the following is important for the museum users:

  • Child objects inherit properties from parent objects and should also show up in query results.
  • The DAM system should allow to set filters either to select or exclude assets by asset properties like category, asset type, file type, collection, theme, etc.
  • The DAM system should enable configurable pre-defined queries.
  • Logical search operands must be available to combine search criteria via boolean operators,allow wildcards, truncate (from both ends of field content), include or exclude case sensitivity etc.
  • Search definitions and results should be stored for future use at user level. After that it must be possible to save selections, to export the selection list to other users and other systems and vice versa and to make modifications upon these selections by merging selections,delete marked fields from existing selections and add records.
  • It is required that existing selections can be refreshed/updated and that search criteria can be saved.
  • Bundle related assets in a container or folder. For instance: all images, audio stops, multimedia files, documents regarding a specific collection object should be presented in one folder. Other containers may be an exhibition, a theme, a publication, an event, a research or conservation project. A user should be able to define theme and selection.
  • For text documents (Word, PDFs) full text search should be supported.
  • For time based media, specific fragments specific fragments should be searchable.

Web based user interface

The internal users should have access to the system from any location. Therefore, a web-based application is preferable over a thick client. The interface should support web standards. No installation should be required in clients' pc's.

The iBase digital asset management system fulfils almost all of these requirements as standard, and the remainder with minor customisation.