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.

Read the full article…

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