Digital Asset Management at the


Nov 18, 2013 (4 years and 4 months ago)


Digital Asset Management at the
University of Washington Libraries:

Teamwork and Technology

Greg Zick
, Professor, Electrical Engineering

Director of Center for Information Systems Optimization,

University of Washington

Betsy Wilson
, Director

University of Washington Libraries

Geri Bunker Ingram
, Head, Library Systems Department

University of California, San Diego

Jill Fluvog
, Project Manager, CISO

University of Washington

Digital Library Issues

Massive quantities of media items

Rapidly evolving technologies

Structured, semi
structured, unstructured and multimedia data

Frequent modification of collections to support expanding and
additional projects

Diverse user community with different characteristics,
preferences, and capabilities

Goals of UW Libraries/CISO

Make media resources available electronically to an audience




Community groups

Build online media databases to provide access to Special
Collections and manage scholarly information

45 collections with 40,000 items currently
online or in development

Background of Collaboration

Began in 1996 between Libraries, Electrical Engineering’s
Center for Information Systems Optimization and campus

Collections stored in multitude of forms and locations

Demand building on and off campus for better access to media

Balance necessary between demand for open access,
protection of rare archived materials, and technology options

Commercial tool not identified and CISO was conducting
research into optimal digital database technologies

Partnership formed with Libraries identifying archival and
access requirements and CISO responding with technology

Collaboration Outcomes

Successful online collection development

Development of the CONTENT Software Suite for digital
asset management

Ongoing transformation of Libraries’ focus to embrace
dramatic changes in information archiving and access

CONTENT Software Suite for
digital asset management

Builds and manages multimedia collections on the Web
and links media files with finding aids

Scalable for small collections

Optimized for speed in large dataset delivery

Supports incremental collection building process

Administrative interface offers terms and tools familiar to
librarians and collection owners

Search interface provides “friendly” Web
based access for
broad user community

Collaboration Outcomes:
New CONTENT Features

Enhanced full resolution indexing for archival purposes

Support for multi
page documents and 3
D media items

Authenticated Vocabulary for consistency and quality in
metadata entry

Support for Dublin Core qualifiers

side text for multi
page documents with search
capability within document

Full Resolution management

Picture Cube

with search


Collaboration Outcomes: Evolution

UW Libraries Digital Collections are “work in progress”
with new collections being added continuously

Outreach activities extending lessons learned to other

Libraries offering leadership to partners in state and local

Faculty and teaching now supported in new way

Building online digital collections:
Capturing Media

CONTENT supports numerous media types

documents, audio clips, video segments

Acquisition Station facilitates capture in multiple modes

Single images imported from any directory

Sets of images added in batch input mode

Template defined for repeating fields

Import of existing metadata from other programs via
export/import of delimited ASCII files

Acquire images from scanners and other TWAIN

Import single items or batches of items

Use Template Creator for repetitive field data

Building online digital collections:
Organizing Collections

Spreadsheet View provides “fill” capability to repeat field

Media Editor allows single item metadata entry with
Authenticated Vocabulary

Ships with LOC Thesaurus for Graphical Materials

May customize or use existing vocabulary file

Items may be combined and defined as “postcards” (front
and back), “picture cubes” (six sides) or multi

Spreadsheet View

Media Editor Form with Authenticated Vocabulary

Building online digital collections:
Managing and Administering Collections

Server Administrator and Collection Administrators are
identified for each server/collection

All administration may be done from a browser


Server Administrator sets up new collections and
authorizes Collection Administrators

Collection Administrators add new items, edit collections,
set up full resolution scan support and customize
description fields (hidden, searchable…)

Administrative Screen

Global Search and

Building online digital collections:
Defining Descriptive Fields

Critical step when indexing collection materials

CONTENT supports unlimited number of fields

Allows collection expert(s) to define names as
relevant to discipline and audience

Results in more effective searching, particularly in
large archives


Metadata Fields

Building online digital collections:
Searching Across Multiple Collections

Challenge arises in searching multiple collections with different metadata

CONTENT provides mapping function and collection owner defines
how unique fields will be related to other collections


Two collections searched for city “Olympia”

Results retrieved from both collections

Original descriptions maintained

Owners have mapped specific fields to Dublin Core (“city” in one and
“location depicted” in another are mapped to “coverage”)

Default mapping is qualified Dublin Core

other standards (e.g. VRA)
can be used

Description fields defined independently as searchable, hidden, and/or
with an Authenticated Vocabulary

HTML Search

Search across
collections for

Building online digital collections:
Collection Expansion

Lesson learned: digital collections spawn more collections

Distributed Acquisition Stations support geographically
remote partnerships

Administrator maintains integrity through “gatekeeper”

Washington example:

State Library funding collaborative collection development
featuring local digitization, indexing, then online availability via
the University of Washington Libraries server

Supports collection owners with limited IT (or non
existent) resources

Building online digital collections:
Setting Up Collections for Searching

HTML client accessible by anyone with a browser

Campus and community users have access regardless of
size/cost of their system (network speed a consideration…)

Access is extremely fast: Design goal to retrieve results
from million item collection in < 1 second

JAVA client serves users with powerful machines and
specific requirements

Workbox allows user to organize sets of images

Workbox contents may be sent as HTML

file to web page for
course development or colleague for review

JAVA Search

JAVA Client Workbox

Building online digital collections:
Setting Up Collections for Searching

Lesson learned: End users have varied interests, backgrounds
and searching experience

CONTENT’s HTML Query Building Tool allows
collection owners to “pre
define” likely queries, tailored
for intended audience

Queries then built into Web pages to provide customized


UW Digital Collections Klondike goldrush
photographs by Eric Hegg

Set up for use by broad audience (including classrooms)

Descriptive icons and mouse “rollovers” integrate queries into
Web page

Queries may search across multiple collections

Conclusions and future:

UW Libraries Impact and Direction

Digital Collections group extending impact of

On campus: partnership with Center for Teaching and Learning
Technology offering digital tools to more faculty

Off campus: partnerships with local museums, public libraries
and historical societies


Development of rich regional multimedia archives
integrating digital media resources and accessible by broad
range of users.

Libraries’ role:

Serve as catalyst by sharing cataloging and
collection expertise and leading “best practices” exchange

Conclusions and future:

Evolving Technology

CONTENT’s goals:

Be responsive to real problems of professional
archivists and respond with features and functions for
art archival support

Provide scalable offering allowing groups to start on
small scale with prototype projects and expand
collections after thoughtful review

Listen to users (now installed in diverse organizations
internationally) and

stop collaborating

For more information

To learn more about CONTENT Software for
digital asset management:

To browse the University of Washington Libraries
Digital Collections: