Telegraaf Media Groep (TMG), based in Amsterdam, publishes a variety of newspapers and websites including De Telegraaf, the largest Dutch newspaper. TMG has been using Merlin as their Digital Asset Management system for nearly 10 years.
I had the pleasure of visiting them recently with my colleague Jennifer Cox, MerlinOne’s Customer Service Team Manager.
Like many of our newspaper customers, picture selection for the flagship paper, and their other properties (Metro, a free publication; HDC, which consists of 14 regional papers or their respective Internet sites) starts in Merlin. Eight different photo editors responsible for pictorial content use Merlin to review content that is collected into their hosted Merlin DAM from many sources, staff and freelance photographers, and wire services such as ANP, Bloomberg, EPA, AFP and USA Today Sports.
Staff content is kept forever. Other content is kept according to the contract with the agency, typically 21 days, unless it has been published, in which case photos are archived along with published stories, PDF pages and graphics. Currently TMG has over 15 million items stored in their Merlin.
Users have set up saved queries to make it even easier to find content. Searches such as “AP Fotos Vandaag” (Today’s AP Photos) assist editors by providing almost instant access to desired content using photo metadata.
Selected photos are sent to CCi and Escenic, their web publishing system, with a simple drag and drop operation. After publication, CCi updates the photos with information about how they were published, and Merlin uses that information to link published photos with the pages and stories they were published with. So in addition to using Merlin as their daily Picture Desk, Merlin is also their photo, story, graphic and PDF page archive. In addition to storing printed content, Merlin is also used to archive video published on the various web sites.
Jan Mandemaker is the manager of the Merlin system at TMG. He has been with TMG since 1999 and has spent the last 32 years in the publishing industry. Mandemaker says “Photos are my life.” He says the ideal DAM system should “make it simple for the users. That is the power of the system (Merlin). And the support is great.”
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