Digital Asset Management Reading List Sep. 2017: Content Management, W3C schema.org group

Here’s the last month’s Digital Asset Management articles which had a lasting impression on me – picked from the constant stream of blog posts you can see float by on Planet DAM. For more curated DAM links, see the weekly Digital Asset Management.com Links and Tracy Wolfe’s 10 things on the 10th.

In August, one of the hottest DAM debates ever (60+ comments) takes place: On LinkedIn, David Diamond proposes calling our subject “Content Management” instead of “Digital Asset Management”. Ralph Windsor responds with Digital Asset Management is not Content Management, coining the term “Content DAM”, and he defines Digital Assets on his newly-launched Digital Asset News site. See also the trend to rebrand DAM products: David’s Picturepark article about Content Management 2.0, censhare’s Ian Truscott on Things, Stuff and Content, and Northplains’ Jason Arena on Content Lifecycle Management.

A glimmer of hope for better DAM interoperability is Emily Kolvitz initiating a W3C DAM Industry Business Ontology Community Group whose mission is “to propose, discuss, create and maintain extensions to schema.org related to the DAM industry”. She writes about it in Can we get some DAM Findability on the Web? Everyone, please participate! – “Standards-based” is one of ADAM’s four key attributes of interoperability, and Anna Cotton lists flexibility and integrations in her 5 questions to ask your DAM vendor.

Read the full article…

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 20:27:00 +0000

Web frontend integration: Just drop me a link

For two reasons, I think about software interoperability a lot (see Improving DAM Interoperability in 2017): First, software – especially “content hub”-style DAM systems – must work well with other software to help people do their jobs. The second reason is that when we consider splitting a monolithic (DAM) system into multiple smaller Self-Contained Systems, these parts need to interoperate with each other, too.

A very interesting aspect of interoperability is frontend integration: When in application A, people need access to information living in application B. How do they navigate from A to B? Can they see both application’s interrelated data on the same screen? I wrote about this in Web app interoperability – the missing link. Now it’s time for a few experiments.

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Sun, 10 Sep 2017 20:41:00 +0000

Digital Asset Management Reading List Aug. 2017: Enterprise discontent, Orbit

Here’s the last month’s Digital Asset Management articles which had a lasting impression on me – picked from the constant stream of blog posts you can see float by on Planet DAM. For more curated DAM links, see the weekly Digital Asset Management.com Links and Tracy Wolfe’s 10 things on the 10th.

(The list is a bit shorter this month because my new job keeps me busy.)

Favorites: Every enterprise DAM customer and vendor should read Ralph Windsor’s excellent piece on enterprise discontent with current DAM solutions. A sample quote: “DAM users want to be able to drill down through the digital asset supply chain and gain greater control over their digital asset operations. […] The role of the software vendor as provider of a self-contained product which they exclusively control and make decisions about is likely to end.”

Also highly recommended is Nora Gehin’s article Listening and message repetition are key to user adoption which contains tons of useful advice for DAM practitioners.

Industry news: The big news this month is that Bynder is launching a free DAM tool called Orbit – Emily Kolvitz is happy that everyone can now “touch and understand” DAM. CEO Chris Hall’s take on this is DAM for everyone! On DAM News, Ralph Windsor comments on the possible implications for Bynder and the DAM market.

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Tue, 15 Aug 2017 18:34:00 +0000

I’m leaving Digital Collections to join the SPIEGEL Verlag

After almost 19 years as developer and product manager at Digital Asset Management (DAM) vendor Digital Collections, I’m moving on, joining the IT department of magazine publisher SPIEGEL Verlag on August 1st.

It’s hard to say good-bye to my wonderful colleagues and customers. Almost everything I learned, I learned from them – here’s my summary of those 19 years.

Digital Collections’ warm-hearted and generous farewell leaves me speechless. They even publish their good-byes on the company blog. Thanks so much!

At DER SPIEGEL, I’ll help take care of their DAM systems, moving into more of a project management role. (Sounds like fun, but I’ll miss software development.) I’m looking forward to working with amazing people, for a great magazine, and getting to know one of Europe’s largest press archives. Wish me luck :)

P.S.: I’ll keep running Planet DAM, and writing about DAM on this blog. (These were personal projects anyway, not a company activity.)

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 15:10:00 +0000

Digital Asset Management Reading List July 2017: ECM, findability, Northplains

Here’s the last month’s Digital Asset Management articles which had a lasting impression on me – picked from the constant stream of blog posts you can see float by on Planet DAM. For more curated DAM links, see the weekly Digital Asset Management.com Links and Tracy Wolfe’s 10 things on the 10th.

Theresa Regli states that ECM is the new black, and DAM is but one part of the fabric – an interesting observation given the current trend to rebrand DAM as a “content platform” (see the May 2017 reading list and Ralph Windsor’s article from July 11).

I love Nora Gehin’s 10 librarian principles to embrace to help manage your content – it seems my LIS education from two decades ago is still relevant! Emily Kolvitz has a nice, consise list of 10 reasons why digital assets rule the world.

Read the full article…

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 21:24:00 +0000

My DAM developer chronicles: 19 years at Digital Collections

To help me remember what I’ve been doing all these years at work, here’s some stories from my almost two decades of Digital Asset Management and Web development at vendor Digital Collections which are ending this month. Sorry for the lengthy post…

Before Digital Collections


As part of my Library and Information Sciences (LIS) education, I did a six-month internship at the text archives department of magazine publisher Gruner+Jahr. It was amazing to experience the librarian side of sophisticated, large-scale Digital Asset Management – see my blog post “Where have all the librarians gone?”.


I enjoyed our curriculum’s dBase and Turbo Pascal courses. But what I loved the most was the Microsoft Access 2.0 database programming we did for an architectural bureau – learning Access from scratch, over the course of several months, two fellow students and I wrote a real-world application for a real client and even got paid for it. During the following years, I kept doing MS Access work for that client.


Still a student (busy writing my diploma thesis [PDF]), I set up my first personal homepage on the Web (in handwritten HTML). Even though it consisted of nothing but a few links and some travel photos, it helped me land my first job the next year.

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Sun, 09 Jul 2017 22:19:00 +0000

Michel Biezunski: Topic Maps Now

Despite my claim that Topic Maps (as a standard) are dead, I’m a huge fan and continue to work with Topic Maps (with the goal of building Knowledge Graphs).

That’s why I love Michel Biezunski’s excellent blog post Topic Maps Now. Some quotes:

“In this paper, I will […] advocate that the notions of topic mapping are still useful, even if they need to be adapted to new methods and systems.

[…] I took part in the design of the initial topic maps model, I started the process to transform the conceptual model into an international standard. […] During the last 15 years, I have helped clients create and manage topic map applications, and I am still doing it.

[…] The success [of Topic Maps standards and tools] was somewhat limited, and use of Topic Maps seems to be declining, which seems surprising given the fact that many web sites are organized around topics. Most of these tools are no longer maintained, and the activity in the ISO standard working group has decreased accordingly.

[…] The trend towards smaller content pages, compared to the book, accentuates topic-centric content publishing units. In a way, this is a fulfillment of the Topic Maps promise. […] The openness of Topic Maps enables more flexibility and variations than DITA, but it imposes more modular work upfront with tools that are less focused on the specificities of technical documentation.

[…] “The "Google Knowledge Graph" was added to Google Search after Google acquired a company called Metaweb in 2010. Metaweb developed "Freebase", an "open, shared database of the world knowledge", which was explicitly constructed using the concepts of the Topic Maps standard. Freebase was absorbed a couple of years ago into Wikidata.

[…] The main value of the topic maps paradigm seems therefore not in be the interchangeability of topic maps, but rather in the independence between the sources and the knowledge layer.”

See also Patrick Durusau’s response, If Silo Owners Love Their Children Too.

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 06:32:00 +0000

Digital Asset Management Reading List June 2017: DAM NY, DAM people, adoption

Here’s the last month’s Digital Asset Management articles which had a lasting impression on me – picked from the constant stream of blog posts you can see float by on Planet DAM. For more curated DAM links, see the weekly Digital Asset Management.com Links and Tracy Wolfe’s 10 things on the 10th.

“The realisation of interoperability standards in DAM is key to whether it has longevity as a market”, writes Ralph Windsor in the introduction to his excellent DAM News article Finding Signs Of Life In DAM: Interoperability 1.0. The need for a digital supply chain, built on integration-friendly tools, is also one of Kevin Gepford’s 8 top takeaways from the Creative Ops conference. Max Dunn, writing about Silicon Publishing’s Canto Flight InDesign Plugin, reasons about different approaches to integration. In an unusual move, the museum community writes an open letter to DAM vendors, asking them to implement IIIF, the International Image Interoperability Framework.

From the Henry Stewart DAM New York conference, Cory Schmidt reports on the latest DAM trends, Frédéric Sanuy summarizes DAM NY 2017, and Douglas Eldridge shares his insights from the best damn conference. Presentations from the conference include Uri Kogan on the future of DAM, and Douglas Hegley on digital transformation in the nonprofit sector.

Read the full article…

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 19:57:00 +0000

Streaming an Ajax response with Vue.js and Server-sent events (SSE)

The problem: We want to display a large number of search results (from our DAM system) on a Web page. Gathering the results on the server and transferring them to the browser takes a while. To improve the user experience and show the first results as soon as possible, we want to “stream” the results. Each item needs to be rendered as soon as the browser receives it. A simple Ajax call waits until the server has returned everything, so we’ll have to do something a little more advanced.

The solution outlined here combines two technologies I currently enjoy experimenting with: the Vue.js JavaScript framework (a competitor of React and Angular) and Server-sent events (SSE), a lightweight, W3C-standardized alternative to WebSockets.

In our old UI, we used Oboe.js for streaming, but I like the new approach much better because it requires little code, thanks to the magic of Vue.js and EventSource (the Web browser’s built-in SSE support, not available in IE and Microsoft Edge) – and because it’s very lightweight, requiring nothing but a simple script include (no npm, no build toolchain).

The end result looks like this, you can try it live here:

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Fri, 02 Jun 2017 14:04:00 +0000

10 years ago, I switched to the Mac

A decade ago, I switched from Windows to the Apple Mac. Fortunately, my employer knows that developers need good hardware, and was happy to buy us top-of-the-line MacBook Pros.

Not everything is perfect on the Mac, but it’s still a joy to use such excellent hardware and software (fast, beautiful, high quality). And I love working on a Unix-powered machine. I can’t see myself going back to Windows for another decade.

My first MacBook Pro 17" (photo from 2008) and Dell 21" monitor in portrait mode:

 Tims desk in 2008

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Thu, 18 May 2017 06:24:00 +0000