DAM Champ: John George

DAM champ John George is a DAM consultant who works with multiple companies, helping with everything from DAM implementation to taxonomy development. He discovered DAM while writing a grant proposal for a digital archive project, leading him to pursue a Masters of Library and Information Science at the University of Washington.

Connect with George online at on LinkedIn, where you can ask him about his love for metadata.

DAM Champ John GeorgeExplain how you interact with digital assets during your workday.

My day revolves around digital assets and the people who use them.  For my primary client, who has 30,000 digital assets and over 1,000 users, I do all the ingestion, cataloging, training, and system maintenance.  I do outreach to vendors and power users to try to make the system work more efficiently, and I assist users and other administrators with any issues related to assets, collections, or user access.

I also keep busy digging up work and evangelizing for DAM.  I’m thinking about metadata all day long and how a DAM deployment can make it easy for people to find and use assets.

How did you find out about DAM systems as a way to deal with digital assets?

I learned the term “metadata” working in a local history museum in Seattle.  I was a grant writer at the time and was working on a proposal to the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project including scanning and cataloging hundreds of historic images from organizations throughout Greater Seattle.

An academic project like that puts a high priority on accurate metadata.  Locations, dates, people pictured, event names, and more all had to be researched before being added to the metadata. I spent hours talking to the librarians in charge of the project and learning how the DAM worked.  That project drove me to pursue a Masters of Library and Information Science at the University of Washington.  I tailored my studies to support digital librarianship and made my way back into the workforce with the credentials to excel in the growing field of DAM.

Why is digital asset management important?

I recently saw a list of images one of my clients had purchased from stock houses in the last ten years.  Total cost: Seven digits.  And stock house images only represent about 30% of that client’s library.  Based on the investment they made in stock images alone it makes sense to have someone manage them.

I think where companies see the benefit, though, is in time savings.  You’ll find all sorts of information about return on investment (ROI) for a DAM, each with a little different angle. The basic point is, that having images organized reduced costs multiple ways: Less time spent searching; less money spent on images because you have a storehouse that all can use instead of turning to a stock house as the first choice; and less money spent color correcting images because the work done has been saved.

What is the best thing about DAM?

Metadata.  I’m a geek for classification and categorization.  I love setting up the metadata schema with an eye towards what fields will be searchable and which ones will be filters. All with the intention of making assets easy to find.

What would be/have been helpful to you during your DAM champ work?

The growing support that DAM has as an industry and a profession.  While it’s nice to be at the (relative) front of the pack as an adopter and proponent, it would be nice to NOT have to define DAM to everyone.

What advice would you give to people who are trying to get a digital asset management system in their organization?

Managing people is harder than managing assets.  Find ways to reduce time spent managing permissions so you can spend more time making assets easier to find.

Do you recommend any resources for people looking to learn more about digital asset management?

Favorite book: The Accidental Taxonomist by Heather Hedden

Favorite blog:   https://modlibrarian.wordpress.com/

Are you a DAM Champ or do you know one? We want to talk to you! See the blog post “ISO DAM Champions“.

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