Calling for Someone to Write Open DAM

For some time now I have had a growing passion for Digital Asset Management…or DAM for short. Now before I continue on with this post, I feel the need to promise you that I will spare you any junior high level jokes about the D.A.M. acronym like DAM systems are coming to the church…or…I finally get to say DAM in church and feel good about it. During the start of our DAM project at Willow I have said them and heard them all.

As boring as the topic sounds, the fact is, the subject of Digital Asset Management is a pretty big deal for organizations these days. In the days of what I would call, "analogue" media asset creation, few organizations could afford to create high quality media content. Now the same professional quality assets that used to require high priced equipment, rare specialized skill and expensive distribution channels can be created at a fraction of the price…thank You Apple and thank you Mr. Gore :).

Lower cost pro level tools for creating digital media assets along with exponential growth in internet and social media distribution platforms has lead to more people gaining pro level skills which has lead to greater accessibility for organizations to create and distribute these assets through various digital content channels.

Organizations seem to be taking advantage of this greater access to media asset creation. Video, audio, still images and documents are being created and distributed at record pace. High quality digital media asset creation is no-longer reserved for large media organizations. What used to be reserved for a high-end media companies can be produced by an indivdual and distributed on Vimeo or YouTube at a fraction of the cost and cost.

However, please note, the term fraction is a relative term. Lower cost has increased access to media asset creation and distribution. However, doing media access creation well still requires quite an investment, in time, talent and money. For example, it might have taken several million dollars for an organization to produce 5 promotional videos a few years ago. The same several million dollars might produce 100 promotional videos today and have a greater impact.

In my wanders with digital asset consultants and providers over the past few years it has been interesting for me to hear stories of how organizations are making investments in media asset creation. My question about all of this activity is this…What are organizations doing to manage their growing investments in the digital media assets they create?

This question started to haunt me at Willow Creek several years ago now. I observed that we were investing a tremendous amount of resources in packaging highly valuable and relevant Biblical truths into audio and visual media assets. While we were placing a tremendous value on these assets we were doing very little to protect, manage and ultimately position them so they could be strategically leveraged and maximized. Furthermore, I thought it was interesting how we along with many other organizations would invest significant resources in tools to manage finances and other assets that were valuable to our organization, but we were investing very little to manage and maximize our digital assets even though they were some of the most valuable and strategic assets we possessed.

It was at that time I started to look for a solution to help us in this area. For a long time I had a difficulty getting buy-in from leadership on the subject. But I knew that if we didn't get moving on a plan for DAM we would eventual be overwhelmed by a demand for content and be poorly prepared to deliver. Eventually, our leadership responded by investing in a Digital Asset Management Platform and a full-time staff member to help us manage and pull a process together.

Looking back over the past 9 months we now have over 14764 assets in our DAM. Before we had this system most of these assets were scattered through out our organization on various tapes, firewire drives and servers. We have a long way to go, however, I am excited to see that we are still committed to this DAM concept. The system and process for Digital Asset Management is securely in the hands of Greg Sanderson, our Digital Asset Manager. Greg has a great vision for the potential of DAM and I credit him for the success of our DAM initiative.

Now as I reflect on all of this…I thought it might be fun to share one of the presentations I prepared in early 2007 as a way to cast a vision for DAM to Willow Leadership and summarize requirements for vendors (See Below). If you can get through my cheesy opening, and 2 year old stats, my heart is simply to share this info in hopes that someone will take it and run with it as I strongly believe that the core of this vision is just as relevant today as it was in 2006-2007.

Digital asset management is expensive and proprietary. I believe that it would absolutely rock the industry to see someone rise up to create an Open Source Digital Asset Management Platform on the scale as what Digium accomplished in the telecom world with Asterisk.

The demand for this couldn't be greater and the time is absolutely right for this idea…We need talent and energy.


Click Here to View DAM Concepts Presentation.

2 thoughts on “Calling for Someone to Write Open DAM

  1. ivan

    Hi Mike, I didn’t get a chance to view all of your presentation, but I just wanted to let you know that there are some great Open Source DAM solutions out there currently.
    Fedora Drupal module
    (helpful if you are running a site on Drupal and you want to integrate your DAM)

  2. Nitai

    Hi there
    I am the owner of Razuna. We are currently in the last stages of releasing Razuna 1.2 with a lot of enhancements. Please get in touch with me if you feel like an open source System can help you.
    Kind Regards,


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