Metadata, DAM, and MAM, oh my!

Recently a client asked about implementing a Digital Asset Management system. And a part of the system included capturing metadata from his film library. Of course we always capture any available data when we transfer films. A typical job could involve a few reels to thousands of reels. Many film cans and sleeves contain information about the film, notes that were made, loose slips of paper within the cans, and notes taped to the film reel or core. this is important information that needs to be captured and delivered along with the film transfer itself. For smaller batches we usually compile this info into a spreadsheet for the client. For larger batches a database needs to be considered. Most larger clients may already have a DAM system in place, or will be implementing a system internally. In this case, we were asked to help with that process.


There are many commercial and open-source DAM products on the market. But at the basic level, you must create a controlled vocabulary to describe the media assets, compile each data record into a system of description, which is the DAM itself, and link the digital files to the database record. The data can live locally, on a server, or be cloud-based on a remote server. And the devil is in the details.

Below are some references to the data were are compiling for this project.