A DAM admin’s wishlist for 2015

Three DAM system administrators talk about their wishes for digital asset management functionality.

Marching into 2015, we talked with a few DAM admins about what they want from a digital asset management system and why. What are their desired features and functionality? What do they need to do with their assets and content?

DAM providers, take heed! Here’s what these admins are looking for…

MaryAnn Williams

Mary Ann Williams is a Library Technology Manager and professional writer who also blogs regularly about sewing. She currently helps manage the digital assets for Westbank Community Library in Austin, Texas. As a power user of DAM for four years, Mary Ann has several wishes on her list.

“My number one requirement is that my data is backed up and archived because I rely on the DAM system as a digital archive of my assets.

In the case of my sewing blog, I had a near disaster experience in 2014 where my site host suffered a serious virus/problem and came very close to losing all of my site data. The site was down for many days, and it was a huge wake-up call for me! I thought, how could I have let my own website become so vulnerable? And I’m a librarian/archivist! I know better. (I also changed site hosts after my site was recovered).

While my site was down, I thought about how I would either recover from total data loss or ensure a better archival version of my site (not IT style archival back-ups). I realized that I was touching on an age-old archivist question: How do you REALLY archive a website?

While I have my own backups of the assets on my site, it’s not easy to store like items together. It makes sense to use a DAM system because I have chosen to archive my site based on its content. So if I ever suffered a catastrophic event like a complete loss of my website, I would be able to effectively rebuild my site independent of any WordPress template or host. Additionally, I can keep a historical record of my site as it goes through graphical changes and re-branding.

Beyond that, these are the other things I want from a DAM system:

  • The ability to group assets together by topic, blog post, and other factors I track based on site metrics.
  • Robust and flexible metadata tagging – searching is powerful!
  • To store a variety of file types, including raw photo files, processed photo files, and all types of document files. In the sewing world, printable PDF patterns are sometimes more common than printed tissue paper patterns. Managing these patterns in a DAM system allows me to keep them organized and have peace of mind that I won’t lose my download (usually only available for a period of 30 days after purchase).
  • The ability to post directly to social media is a big bonus. The fewer steps the better!
  • Sharing my image assets with third parties is made easier with a DAM system. I work with site sponsors and collaborate with other bloggers and it’s a lot easier to control my assets if they come from the DAM system.
  • To track various information about my assets, such as popularity (e.g., click rates). I like to use metadata fields for this.
  • Now that I have an Etsy store, I will use a DAM system to create a history of my inventory. It will help me track item popularity and figure out the best price points over time. I’m excited to have this information via digital asset management, because it might help me keep track of my overhead costs.
  • I use a DAM system to track my administrative documents as well. Sales tax and state and federal tax documents are more easily searched and found this way. Storing my digital receipts in a DAM system will help me become more organized and see where they’re archived properly.
  • Someday when I achieve my ultimate dreams (Look out, Martha Stewart!), I could see digital asset management playing a pivotal role in rights management. I’ve used this DAM feature in the corporate setting, but as a small business owner it’s a whole new thing.”

Peter Jakubowski

Peter Jakubowski is a Digital Asset Manager and photographer in Madison, WI, who loves to run in his free time. As a power user of DAM for six years, these are the wishes on his list.

“Many of the features I’ve been thinking about lately would help a power user more easily manage metadata. When working with DAM software, I’m most concerned with having the ability to ensure metadata integrity for the life of the asset. The features I’m interested in would give users the power to freely move, modify, and gather metadata.

  • Metadata Import/Export
    The ability to export all asset metadata as a text file or spreadsheet. The import function would apply metadata values from a text file and map values to user-chosen metadata fields.
  • Copy and Paste Metadata
    The ability to copy metadata from one asset and paste it to other assets (to single assets or a selection of assets). This functionality would give users the ability to choose one or a selection of metadata fields and copy their values to another asset.
  • Asset Usage Report
    Usage reports that list the most recent intended use of an asset along with a detailed list of all previous uses. Data could be gathered from a form that an end user must complete at the time of download. Usage data could be gathered automatically by integrating with desktop publishing tools, like InDesign, and reporting where assets are linked.
  • Custom Metadata Mapping
    The ability to add new metadata fields and map them to custom user-specified namespaces. This functionality would allow DAM administrators to add standard (or non-standard) metadata fields that may not be preconfigured in the default software installation.”

Rachel Armin Williams

Rachel Armin Williams is an Advertising Production Specialist and Music Enthusiast who’s been using digital asset management systems for over three years. Here’s what she wants from DAM in 2015.

“A lot of what I do is video related, either roll collection of a larger video shoot or working with commercials. For this purpose, I want to be able to scroll over the video and have it automatically play in preview (no clicking), no audio necessary, with time stamp capabilities.

This would save me the time of going through hours of b-roll footage and assist in assessing the content without having to download it, then play. It would also assist art directors as they put together storyboards, conceptualize, and create.

Also, the more metadata field options, the better. Your asset is only as good as the information you have collected about it and married to it. The capability to hide the fields if a client/user doesn’t want to utilize said field should be a possibility, but there are fields out there I see missing that could play a pertinent role. For example: Stockhouse field, date of purchase, expiration with warning prior to licensing renegotiation. The list goes on and on…

It would be great to see the number of times an individual asset has been downloaded, and by user, if possible, to gain insight into the content within the DAM system. Also, a versioning history, so older versions of a document are saved as images, not necessarily as editable documents, and noted as older versions. Maybe the versions can’t even be downloaded, so no one uses them for marketing or by mistake, but for document heavy clients/users this would be helpful for multiple reasons.

Another facet I could see being useful in the future is versioning capabilities. For a new team member to come into a role and be able to see the past versions or the lifecycle of a document would assist them in either revising older valid points, or learning what points were removed and for what reason.”


There are many great DAM systems out there and some that already do things these admins are wishing for. If you’re looking for a DAM system, talk to a variety of DAM providers. Then choose the one that listens to your needs and will help make your wishes come true.

Do you have a DAM wishlist? If so, comment here and let us know what you want! Or learn more about digital asset management by contacting us.

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