I bet you didn’t know you use DAM

When­ever I start a new-user train­ing I ask the user, “Have you ever used a DAM before?” The usual answer is, “No”. Then I fol­low up with, “Do you know what ‘DAM’ is?” again the answer is usu­ally, “No”. This is all to be expected. 

How­ever, if I change the ques­tion to, “Have you ever used iTunes?” Well then, the answer is almost 100%, “Yeah, I use it all the time”. 

Ah-ha! You do use DAM! Think of our DAM like a ginor­mous, multi-user iTunes on crack for just about any file, not just audio, video and iOS applications.”

The iTunes Anal­ogy for Teach­ing DAM Concepts

I find using the anal­ogy of iTunes to explain how our DAM works to be an effec­tive tool when train­ing my users. And, if you think about it, iTunes really is a small, consumer-grade DAM — well, I sup­pose “MAM”, if you wanna be picky about it.

Records, Cat­a­logs and Metadata

When you use iTunes, you’re not wor­ried about where your media assets are stored on your com­puter but rather how do you browse, search, sort your library of media. In this case, iTunes is act­ing like a cen­tral­ized stor­age loca­tion. It’s doing the work to keep track of what’s been cat­a­loged into your Library. Each item in the library is a record that has a pointer to the file. Records con­tain meta­data. In the case of iTunes, it will be mostly music and video cen­tric meta­data like artist, album, etc. 

The anal­ogy con­tin­ues to explain other DAM con­cepts like col­lec­tions or saved sets of assets. A song can be in mul­ti­ple playlists at the same time. When you add a song to a play list, it’s not being moved to another loca­tion. If your DAM has a func­tion of a cat­e­gory or tax­on­omy tree to which you can assign assets, the playlist con­cept works here as well. 

One could take things to their log­i­cal extreme to explain gen­er­at­ing deriv­a­tive files by the use of some action (transcod­ing from AAC to MP3). But, while iTunes will cat­a­log the result file into the library, it does not have a func­tion to explain rela­tion­ships such as Parent/Child, etc. 

It’s just iTunes on Crack.

Using iTunes is an effec­tive way to teach DAM con­cepts to my users. It’s some­thing they already know and helps their con­fi­dence level. After all DAM is just like iTunes on crack. 

2 thoughts on “I bet you didn’t know you use DAM

  1. I use iTunes but have had a love/hate rela­tion­ship with it because of sta­bil­ity issues on Win­dows. Iron­i­cally, I think I have some music with cor­rupt meta­data that in turn cor­rupts the iTunes library file and causes iTunes to re-index. Playlists are lost dur­ing re-indexing. I’ve had the same issue with users plac­ing val­ues in a key­word field of an asset with Bridge that had over 600 char­ac­ters and when the DAM placed these in its index, all hell breaks loose. There is a lot to be said for main­tain­ing a closed work­flow and avoid­ing these types of problems.

    I think I will go back to using the iTunes exam­ple since it works on a vari­ety of lev­els. I would mod­ify your last state­ment to “iTunes is like a DAM on crack”, rather than the other way around.

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