Digital Asset Management: Managing the Flow

David Breslauer on the luge. Photo by Doug Pizac

David Breslauer on the luge.

Last week, David Breslauer talked about some of the challenges found in taking photos at an event like the Olympics.

I deal with the issues at the other end of the pipe – managing the photos once they’ve been captured. As technology has advanced to make it easier, cheaper and faster to take and keep ever growing numbers of photos (no more kneeling on a bathroom floor praying for a steady modem line, at least most of the time), organizations are faced with the problem of managing and storing those files. If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, it won’t surprise you to hear that we think that your best plan for managing those files is a digital asset management system, right?

For news organizations, an event like the Olympics presents this same challenge, compressed into a two week long news cycle. A few years ago – probably for the 2006 Winter Olympics – our support group took calls from a few of our sites reporting that that were suddenly finding themselves running out of space. A few hours of troubleshooting later, we found that one of the wire services had increased their daily feed from about 6000 photos to over 10,000, just in covering the Olympics. Clearly there are a lot of pictures coming back.

Women's bobsled wins bronze. Photo by REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Women’s bobsled wins bronze.

When you are faced with wrangling that kind of volume, there are tools in digital asset management software that can help you make sense of the flood of data.

One of the best of those tools is the saved search. This lets you build a search once, save it out, and re-run it as often as you need to be able to find the data that you want. These searches can usually be as complex as you need, and can be re-run with a simple click or two of your mouse, you should be able to save as many searches as you need and be able to share them among other users as well. If a user pairs saved searches with the ability to auto update a search window, they can easily monitor new incoming data that matches their search criteria.

Another great feature for managing data is one that allows you to create projects or collections of objects. You can store objects in a project for later review or as a way to keep the best objects of a feed in one place. If the projects can be shared between users, they can also be a simple way for other team members to see which objects you’ve selected as the best candidates for use on your project.

One final tool that can be helpful is one that allows users to be notified when new objects matching their searches are imported into the system. This is often best for users who are looking for a virtual needle in a haystack – hoping to separate out a few small pieces of data out of the incoming flood and be notified when it arrives.

What are some of the tools you use to manage large amounts of incoming data?

Posted by Jennifer Cox
Photo by Doug Pizac
Photo by REUTERS/Tony Gentile

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