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Traveling Asset Management's Bumpy Road

(August 2005) posted on Fri Aug 05, 2005

Developments in Tiger and Longhorn and other tools for managing assets.

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By Stephen Beals

Overcoming barriers

The chief impediment to effective asset management is not a
fault with the systems themselves, although some certainly are
more "robust" than others. Rather, the problem is with a lack of
standards for how metadata is entered and utilized. If the developers
can figure out ways to automate the data entry, end users
would benefit immensely.

In addition, there's the issue of how to get that data efficiently
entered. Plus, how will the standards now being developed
be applied to the hundreds of millions of digital assets
being created daily? The data will have to be forced to conform
to the standards. The software will have to be able to recognize
that the data it wants to use is not entered in the manner the
standard says it should be"?and then "fix" it.

How will this data be entered and administered? This is the
area of focus for today's DAM developers. The files entering
printer workflows may initially be generated at a variety of dataentry
points, and getting all of these databases to effectively
communicate is still something that is a ways off. DAM-related
companies are painfully aware of the problem and are working
to keep an open-standards approach to their development.

For shops, by the way, that's the upside to all this: You won't
find anyone developing DAM products that aren't based on open
standards. It's really the only way to go.

Taking an OS approach

Since open standards are accepted by all of the major players, the
other issue to be confronted is the automation of the data-entry
process"?and making the data entered meaningful. After all, you
can't pull data out of a file unless it's been "entered" in the first place.

A couple of actions are taking place that will ultimately make
this process easier. Apple's Spotlight in OS X Tiger and the next
generation of Microsoft OS are making data-mining and search
capabilities part of the operating system. Tiger, for instance,
monitors data as it's entered, so all changes to data on the hard
drive are monitored for fast search and retrieval. Those who
have used Apple's Spotlight are impressed with the speed at
which the OS can find even keywords inside of documents. Apple
has gone about developing Spotlight in a proprietary fashion,
partly because standards are still not set, but Spotlight does
indeed pull the metadata from digital photos, etc.