Merlin is for the birds…and sunsets, deer, sky, landscapes and people at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Pretty much whatever the skilled photographers of the NGPC capture with their cameras may be found in the Commission’s Merlin.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov) has been using Merlin’s hosted digital asset management solution for more than a year and a half. In that time, they have stored over 75,000 photos including raw camera files. The collection at the Commission includes not only contemporary photography, but is also an “analog” library of prints, contact sheets, negatives and slides from pre-digital photography times going back to the 1960s, more than 50 years. There are well over 1.5 million items in the analog collection, some of which will be digitized on demand.
Jackie Vogt is the Photo Librarian for the Commission, located in the state capital, Lincoln, and is responsible for both the analog and digital photo collections. Using Merlin tools she is able to review and enhance metadata provided by photographers. Searching their DAM is easy. Search by date, or metadata or featured items. Users find results in a second or two. Because Merlin is so easy and accessible, the commission was able to make their Merlin DAM available to the public.
Searching the analog library is slow. There is no electronic index. There are some physical indices, either typed or hand written. They often include a date and a short description of where to find the negatives for matching assignments. Negatives are often stored with contact sheets to make their viewing easier.
A link from the commission’s home page on the Internet takes users to a page on the NGPC web site that explains their digital photo library. It includes a screen shot of their Merlin login page along with simple instructions.
Similar instructions are repeated on the Featured Content page of Merlin, which greets Merlin guests when they login. Merlin’s Featured Content page guides users by presenting common searches as well as specific collections such as “Outdoor Discovery Programs,” or “Carp-O-Rama”. These are easily changed by the Merlin administrator.
Nearly 500 registered users, in addition to guest users, have access to Merlin. Some users have download rights; others have access to place an order. When a guest user places an order, Merlin automatically sends an email to the photo librarian who is then able to easily fulfill the order because Merlin has organized the requests into a shopping cart for fast delivery.
Merlin provides NGPC an easy-to-use DAM solution that is accessible to the public.
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