Do You Need a Digital Asset Manager for Your Publication?


Your magazine has a history. It's found in volumes of back issues, boxes of old photographs and interview notes from old stories. Chances are you've already gone digital, scanning old images and creating electronic copies of old content. But what happens when you need to find a tidbit from an old issue? If sorting through your archives is a challenge, you should consider a digital asset manager.

What Is Digital Asset Management?

Digital asset management is the process of creating and maintaining a system of electronic files. Your digital assets may include video, audio clips, photographs and anything else connected to the content of your magazine.

In general, digital asset management begins by turning all hard copies into electronic format. Then, an individual or team decides how to categorize, tag and label each asset. Finally, levels of access are determined; for example, you may want the public or subscribers to be able to read old issues, but only journalistic staff to see old research materials used to prepare stories.

Large organizations often use industry-specific and task-specific digital asset management software. This eliminates the need to create a program from scratch, although some companies work with software providers to develop a system unique to their operations. Establishing and maintaining your publication's digital library is no small task. That's why it's often made the responsibility of a specific position or individual.

Value of Your Magazine's Digital History

As a publication, your magazine's value is in its content. However you choose to utilize that content, it will be made easier through digitization. For example, if you want to monetize your back issues, you can charge a subscription fee for electronic access. You may place interesting content on an ad-supported website or as part of the digital properties of your supporting organization or institution.

Your archives have a rich history of your magazine's core mission. If you run an alumni magazine or community health publication, your old stories give life to the history of your institution. Your magazine might be the only record that actually demonstrates how your organization has evolved and changed over ensuing decades. Because of this deep history, you may want to take steps to not only preserve your library but improve ease of access through digitization.

In the era of digital media, publications need a regular supply of fresh content to populate their websites and social media pages. Digital assets often include shareable content that is nostalgic or otherwise piques the curiosity of followers. The archives also give modern-day writers information they can use for current stories, in a way that is time-efficient and does not require skimming massive amounts of text to find the specific fact they need.

Benefits of Having a Digital Asset Manager

If you have a substantial library of archival materials, you may want to consider not only getting digital asset management software, but also someone to run it. This position has many functions, including maintaining the records of your publication while making its information available to the public and in-house staff.

The digital asset manager is part electronic guru and part librarian, disseminating content, restricting access and helping people find what they need in the archives. When digital asset management is done right, there's an institutional history for your publication and organization. If staff members leave, which is inevitable, the digital assets and the system to maintain them remain in place, so new team members can simply pick up where the last person left off.

If you run a magazine with a long history, or even one that's just getting off the ground, there may be a place for digital asset management in your operations. The process helps you secure the information you produce and maximize its economic value. With an efficient system, every story or interview is preserved and easy to find, meaning nothing is lost to the past.

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