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The DAM Search Is On

By: Stephen Toback

I always refer to Duke as a large collection of very independent schools and departments under one giant blue flag. While this approach creates a very successful environment for innovation and tools that solve specific problems, bringing everyone together and sharing information, or assets, can be challenging. Each school and department generates a large amount of media assets each year to serve their particular programs. If you know someone, giving a call over to this person at the business school can probably get you that stock image that you need, but more and more, even the individual schools and departments can’t find their own stuff – especially when someone retires.

A few years ago, Duke started a project to build a learning object repository. This was essentially a digital asset management system that would hold “learning objects” – bits of media that could be reused and pieced together to make new courses and/or help instructors not have to create their own media for every lesson. This was a great idea that unfortunately didn’t come to fruition. One of the challenges was around tagging and contribution of the media. The enterprise systems we looked at were cumbersome and overly complex to say the least. We don’t want to repeat that with this project.

So, the search is on for a lightweight digital asset management system that could allow schools and departments to manage their own media as well as curate collections to be shared throughout the enterprise.

Our University Communications department recently spun up an instance of WebDAM which I like very much. The challenge is that it is cloud hosted and since 99% of our customers will be on the Duke network, it doesn’t seem wise to pay for storage and bandwidth when we have that in abundance in our data centers. Pixabay is another site I really like in its absolute simplicity. I reached out to them to see if they license their platform since it seems that Pexels is running the same platform.

We’re going to have a meeting next month with our Communicator community here at Duke to float this idea to see how interested people would be in having this sort of a service. I’ll keep this updated as to our search.

If your a higher ed organization that found the perfect solution or if you are a software developer that thinks you have the perfect solution, comment below. 🙂

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