Another DAM Blog

Blog about Digital Asset Management

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And the winner is…

Laura DeMuro won the book drawing for a free copy of  “The Information and Knowledge Professional’s Career Handbook“, co-authored by Jill Hurst-Wahl and Ulla de Stricker. This book drawing was first announced on Another DAM podcast and on Another DAM blog. The book will be mailed to Laura directly from the publisher. In full disclosure, the author of this blog and podcast receives nothing.

In case you wanted to know who won the Second Annual DAMMY Awards, you can find out here.

Congratulations to all the winners.


What are some DAM job descriptions?

“Mind readers wanted.”

This is first line from an actual Digital Asset Management (DAM) job description posted this year. More on that later.

Aside from asking where to post and find DAM jobs, several people are asking what are typical DAM job descriptions. After presenting this information during a DAM Conference, here are parts of actual DAM job descriptions and knowledge shared by several DAM professionals on the job market today.

This is part of the equation that involves people along with process and technology for DAM.

While some people may use Digital Asset Management (DAM) sometimes within an organization, there is an increase in the need for people who may work full-time on DAM within an organization. We’ll explore several of these positions so you can have an idea of what some organizations have for talent and resources for those who do this type of work.

Here is a part of a job description for a Digital Asset Manager:

  • Responsible for leading overall strategy, implementation and workflow of the Digital Asset Management system for [organization]
  • Acts as primary liaison between [organization] and various photo studios with regard to image names, new photography and archiving
  • Responsible for assigning appropriate metadata for assets to ensure accurate usage rights
  • Manages the Digital Asset system and facilitate the uploading of assets as well as maintaining and upgrading the system
  • Registers internal and external users to the Digital Asset Management system based on permissions
  • Facilitates retrieval of previously cataloged images/shoots
  • Processes raw images using the appropriate software
  • Archive assets as necessary
  • Generates asset download reports
  • Maintains accurate procedures and records for the system
  • Keeps informed of latest Digital Asset Management technology trends and innovations
  • Other duties as identified and assigned

What are we looking for when filling the human resources gap with people needed to help manage your organization’s digital assets?  There are no hard and fast rules, but rather guidelines. Any of these could be staff or contractual positions:

  • Administrator (DBA)
  • Archivist
    • With Digital, not just analog (print) experience
  • Analyst
  • Consultant
    • Either an internal, permanent staff for ongoing consultation OR an external (temporary), outside perspective looking in with a fresh viewpoint
    • Advisor, coach and/or functional role
  • Digital Asset Manager
    • Support DAM system and users
    • An industry expert in the field
  • DAM Specialist/Coordinator
    • Organize and upload assets
    • Metatag assets
  • Data Entry Specialist* (depending on volume)
  • Engineer/Developer/Programmer/Information Architect
  • Help Desk
  • Intern
    • Temporary position (more on this in a future blog post)
    • Willingness to:
      • Learn about DAM
      • Work on metadata and taxonomy
      • Upload assets
  • Librarian
    • With Digital, not just analog (print/physical cataloging) experience
  • Metatagger (aka Metator, Cyberian)
  • Project Manager
  • Sales
  • Taxonomist

What we call the position (job title) is less important than what they actually do.

DAM professionals who communicate with management need to have an understanding of high level business needs and how DAM can meet those needs. Why? Because it is important to quantify:

  • Cost savings
  • Time savings
  • Reductions in risk (with knowledge of rights)

Yes, Digital Asset Management is a business need, not just a technology or another database.

If you are looking to hire a DAM professional, such as Digital Asset Manager, have potential candidates include their answers to the following questions as part of the job application:

  1. Have you worked with a Digital Asset Management System? Where? How long?
  2. How much experience do you have creating Metadata Schema?
  3. Do you have any training experience? What type?

That should help gauge the level of experience of most candidates.

Now about that “mind reader” job posting. Often, management and human resources do not know what DAM professionals are supposed to do (a bit difficult to write a job description that way), but they are slowly realizing there may be a need for Digital Asset Management and that is followed by realizing the need to fill a position with a DAM professional. That professional may be assigned (or volunteered) within the organization. The professional may be hired from the outside. Beside that, DAM professionals should use best practices and notice common behaviors when these practices are not followed. How?

  • Communicate
  • Evaluate
  • Recommend
  • Reference
  • Document
  • Estimate
  • Train
  • Plan
  • Budget
  • Deliver
  • Report
  • Anticipate
  • Follow up

That does not take any mind reading. I am not a mind reader. I am a Digital Asset Manager.

Besides, I forgot my mind reading hat at home.

What is your DAM job description?

Business Analyst
DAM Architect
DAM Director/DAM Manager/Digital Asset Manager
DAM Specialist/Coordinator
Digital Archivist/Librarian
Project Manager
Taxonomist/Metatagger (aka Metator)

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Were you volunteered to work on DAM?

Interestingly enough, many people today do not (yet) plan on a career in DAM, but rather a career in DAM picked them. Sometimes, they were volunteered for the position. Getting volunteered is obviously less of a choice than actually volunteering for a DAM position. This is not likely what you were originally hired to do, but something often quite different with a change in responsibilities. I was lucky enough to volunteer for a DAM position. And yes, I am paid to work on DAM within an organization. I am not the first to do so.

Why would someone be volunteered to work on DAM? Well, let us see. Someone may:

  • Have thrown darts at an organizational chart and guess who was picked?
  • Have been the closest person around when the question of who would do this work came up
  • Have dabbled with image viewers to organize photographs on a personal, hobby or even professional level
  • Have read The DAM Book which is a nice start however it does not touch on the needs of digital asset management for an entire organization (such as an enterprise, hosted or SaaS DAM) with multiple users collaborating with the same assets at the same time with version control and reporting capabilities. And that is just skimming the surface. DAM has a multitude of layers (like an onion) which are often linked and related. That is okay because they will find out soon enough.
  • Know what the acronym ‘DAM’ stands for and is capable to spell it out properly. Many people have difficulty understanding or even explaining what is DAM (I will keep that question open for Another DAM blog post coming in the near future).
  • Show interest in DAM over a period of time. Likely more than once.
  • Be closely tied to the use of the assets (and they may not call them “assets” yet). So the person kind of made sense to ask/volunteer to work on DAM.
  • Be the ‘people’ part of the equation along with ‘process’ and ‘technology.’
  • Have worked with DAM before coming to this organization. Prior experience helps.
  • Have tried the ‘if you build it, they will come‘ strategy. Often, it is realized that does not work (after the fact). Without people working behind the scenes with the DAM, there is often little user acceptance (people actually using it),  few assets uploaded (stuff to find, preview, download) and little metadata (how to find the stuff and tell you about the stuff). Obviously, a fair number of assets with metadata need to be in the DAM before you initially launch it to the users within your organization.

While the DAM vendor may be able to help an organization to a degree, those assets will not automagically get uploaded into a DAM with metadata unless they are supplied by someone. Volunteers? Anyone?

Luckily, whether you volunteered to work on DAM or were volunteered, you are part of the much needed information management group which has a growing group of skilled people. As more DAM solutions are implemented, more positions are opening up. There is a supply and demand equation which favors the employee, even in this economy.

The real issue is once you are there, you have an uphill battle:

  • You will likely need to prove yourself and your recommendations regularly to the stakeholders with results and reach milestones (progress), at least in baby steps.
  • If you are not sure, do not be afraid to seek professional DAM advice (whether internally and/or externally). It is very likely someone has been in your situation before, regardless of the industry. They should be able to advise you and the organization on the best paths to take and the pitfalls to avoid. This can be in the form of consulting. DAM mentoring may be available as well on an individual basis.
  • Document the advice/plan (both the paths and pitfalls in writing) and share it openly within your organization. This should not be a secret, but instead hold the decision makers accountable for what they decide on and advisors accountable for their advice. Even if someone chooses to do differently than what was advised, chances are that at some point, the sound advice given will be revisited, if documented. Give it a few weeks/months and observe.
  • Don’t expect everyone to understand it at your level. For many people, this may be all new, complex and very confusing to them. You will lose their interest, patience and support if you dive into the nuances of various metadata, file versions or permission structures.  Keep it at high level and simplify it unless they specifically ask to follow you down the rabbit hole. And be aware of what pill you take.

Were you volunteered for DAM?