Interview with Heike Gramkow, Director Sales & Marketing on Digital Asset Management Systems

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Interview on Digital Asset Management Systems

In the

March/April 2010 issue of WAN-IFRA Magazine, we feature an article on

Digital Asset Management (DAM) on pages 26-29. As there are numerous

suppliers in this area and we have limited space in print, we could

only publish a small portion of what each told us about their soltion.

Here, we are publishing expanded interviews with the vendors for

readers to get a fuller picutre of what each told us about their


Responding for picturesafe is Heike Gramkow, Director Sales & Marketing.

Why is digital asset management important for news publishers?

Heike Gramkow:

news still means evaluating what is worth to be „in the news“.

Therefore pieces of information are gathered. The sources for

story-starters are traditionally news agencies, TV, broadcasting and

today of course the internet providing a large variety of new sources.


those pieces which today are usually provided in digital

representation, can be called assets. So it is more than usefulto

bundle and stream all these pieces into one system.

For users (i.e. people working on publishing news) it is very efficient to have just one tool for reseaching their main sources.


second main aspect is to foster the creation of efficient workflows.

The de Pers Groep (DPP) has set up a great production system, covering all steps from the

integration of information sources to specialized editor clients and

further on to a seamless integration with the production system.


a process for automated archiving is triggered. The solid foundation of

such a system is a stable and fast enterprise class DAM providing open

interfaces to connect all the workflow components and applications

publisher usually work with.
Basically, a DAM like dio:content helps

tailoring an integrated, efficient production system, connecting

workflows and applications which hitherto often existed as isolated


How is DAM different from a database?


database is an essential part of a DAM. Like with any other system, a

„pure“ database is perfect to store information of any kind and doing

the math to shuffle it around. A DAM is something on top of a database:

First aim is to provide a convenient view onto all the „drowned“ pieces

of data, helping to convert them into useful information. Editors

usually do not want to learn a complex query language and work with

command line tools, thus intuitive search interfaces need to be


The presentation of information should be adaptable to a user’s

needs – e.g. searching for articles: Do you prefer just to browse the

headlines and read the whole article for interesting headlines? Do you

prefer reading abstracts, automatically created by the DAM? Would you

like to find matching articles, images or videos on a click? Or is it

more suitable to browse information already clustered to topics and

sorted by category? All this is DAM-logic helping to get a grip on the

vast streams and archives of data – helping to turn them into useful


What benefits do users get from DAM?


DAM should be able to do a balancing act: there are different kinds of

users. Some would like to work with very simple search patterns, like

„show the latest images“ to find a strong image making up a story.

Would prefer to search a specific article from the archive, and so need

to apply far more complex search patterns.

Both groups strongly

benefit when pointed to additional, matching information along the way,

arranged in a useful and easy-to-use manner.

Futhermore, DAMs

should provide a convenient way to interact with existing systems and

applications. This means integrating into heterogeneous IT

environments, so from the IT department’s point of view a browser based

solution is desirable.

What is the future role of DAM for the publishing industry?

Integration and conditioning.

Integration and adaption of existing and oncoming sources of information.

of well established tools, like a print production system or a CMS for

online publication. Routed information will be adapted automatically

for different production channels based on a publisher’s production

Integration of different publishing channels, like

classic print, online formats and teaser formats, the information

flowing into these channels now may be controlled and triggered at one

single point.

Once the contract has been

signed, approximately how long does it take for a publishing client

such as De Persgroep, to begin using dio:content?


implement an integrated system of the given size a period of a couple

of weeks to months should be considered. As in this case the DAM is a

basic system closing gaps between existing systems nearly all workflows

would have to be reviewed.

Adaptations to the DAM and to

existing components are recommended to guarantee such a massive success

like the DPP achieved it with their system. They did the right thing

when going the whole way of integration – and not introducing a DAM as

another system besides others.

How much training is required for a publication‘s staff to start using dio:content?


Typically just one day for regular users like editors. It is part of

the administrative preparation to provide simple and tailored

environments and workflows for different kinds of users.


it is recommended to invest into the training of some „power users“ who

later can act as tutors for their colleagues when rolling out the

system to additional departments or publications.

What developments in this area are you working on now?


this moment, we are enhancing interfaces on every level. These are user

interfaces for a better intuitive working or a better conditioning and

presentation of information.

Standard Interfaces to new sources

becoming relevant (like certain blogs or social platforms like twitter

or facebook). To facilitate the integration of future installations we

work on interfaces to standard production systems and CMS’s.


glance down the road shows that Speech-to-Text is oncoming. This will

provide a seamless integration of audio and video formats.

Interview conducted by Brian Veseling, senior editor for Publishing, Editorial and General Management and WAN-IFRA Magazine.


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