Digital Asset Management – Part 5

Accessing and prioritizing your personal image management needs is essential prior to acquiring a software program because there is no one, “best” program.  Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and fills the needs of different users.  For example, will you be working with the Mac or PC platform?  Are you looking to create Internet albums?  Will it be used for personal or business purposes?  Will there be more than one user on the system?  Does the software support your data type (e.g. RAW files)?

There are many image management software programs (digital asset management programs) on the market ranging from freeware to expensive networking programs.  There are pros and cons for each, depending on the needs of the user.  The Internet is a great source for researching these programs.  Information and reviews are available from various sources including the publisher’s own website, other legitimate sources such as industry review sites, personal websites, and message boards.

Photographic organizing software is also known as, “Digital Asset Management,” or, “D.A.M.”  Its purpose is to create folders, manage thumbnails, and create an interactive database containing usable information to retrieve images containing the desired criteria.  I suggest looking into the following digital image management programs worth looking into – Google’s freeware Picasa ™, Extensis Portfolio 8, and Microsoft Expression Media, which used to be iView Media Pro.  Often these programs offer a lower cost for students, and some
programs are even free.

These programs offer many of the same features.  It may be a single feature that makes your decision of whether or not to exclude the program from your choices, (such as platform incompatibility) or it may be something a bit less direct, such as company focus and philosophy.  Although Extensis Portfolio 8 seems to be the, “Ferrari” of image management programs, the focus is on business networking, which does not fit my current needs.  I chose to purchase Microsoft Expression Media because the focus is on, “efficient ways to categorize and retrieve media and to make sense of the various available options.”(22)  Managing metadata and image search is high on my priority list and Microsoft’s Expression Media delivers.  Creating an image database is a time-consuming endeavor.  Once done, it becomes a valuable addition and integral part of your library.

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