This week I had a chance to talk with another nonprofit digital asset management customer; Susan Warner-Lambert from Save the Children. Susan is Manager of Photography in the Public Affairs and Communications department at Save the Children USA.
Save the Children is the leading independent organization creating lasting change in the lives of children in need. Their vision is a world in which every child is ensured the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Save the Children is in the midst of their Newborn & Child Survival campaign. Currently 8.8 million children under the age of 5 die each year. 41 percent of these deaths are newborns in the first month of life. Save the Children is working to mobilize citizen action in the U.S. to help local health workers help save more children worldwide.
Rande Simpson: Hi Susan, how long has Save the Children been using a Merlin digital asset management system?
Susan Warner-Lambert: We’ve been using Merlin since the summer of 1996.
Rande Simpson: Is your digital asset management system hosted or managed by internal IT staffs?
Susan Warner-Lambert: I originally managed an internal Merlin digital asset management system in 1996 running back-up tapes – a one woman shop, then our IT staff took it over, thank goodness. We went to the hosted digital asset management system in early 2010. We have since trained a few more people who uploaded right from the field into Merlin, but essentially we still are a one-woman shop!
Rande Simpson: What type of data do you store in Merlin?
Susan Warner-Lambert: About 90 percent of our digital assets are photos, the other assets are PDFs, video and other files.
Rande Simpson: How many users access your hosted digital asset management system?
Susan Warner-Lambert: We currently have 438 users from around the 4 corners of the world, including Norway, Korea, Italy, UK, Haiti and the US
Rande Simpson: Is Merlin used internally or do you allow access outside of the Save the Children organization?
Susan Warner-Lambert: We let outside vendors and partners, who are working with us, access the digital assets within Merlin.
Rande Simpson: As far as users outside of the Save the Children organization goes, do you allow donors to see the media in the system?
Susan Warner-Lambert: We don’t give access to donors. We only give external access to specific people: vendors, graphic designers for the annual report and our Save the Children members in other countries who are specifically granted access. Those granted access have the capability of downloading our material.
Rande Simpson: How do you use your Merlin?
Susan Warner-Lambert: Save the Children uses Merlin as our central photo library.
Rande Simpson: How has the Merlin digital asset management system helped your organization?
Susan Warner-Lambert: When I began at Save the Children, I worked in the darkroom and printed about 5 copies each of our photos. Those photos would be housed in drawers for Save the Children staff to pull for their communication materials. The Merlin digital asset management system has helped me get out of the darkroom. Merlin has also enabled us have a historical digital archive of our work. Our building burnt down in 1975, so most of our photos prior to that time are gone forever. It has also helped not to have different silos of digital assets, stored here and there. We now have one central location, that is globally assessable for all to find what they need.
Rande Simpson: Have there been any interesting projects that your Merlin digital asset management system was used on that you wish to share?
Susan Warner-Lambert: Merlin was vital to Save the Children’s response in Haiti – providing help in our communication efforts.
Posted by Rande Simpson
Photo by Save the Children