Digital Asset Management–Lessons in Asset Architecture

It is important to note that Mines Press generates all of its orders—primarily for the independent insurance industry—through direct mail and catalogs. Mines Press has no outside sales force and almost never sees a client face-to-face. Its product line includes stationery; accounting forms; insurance forms; marketing materials such as folders and brochures; calendars; and laminated wallet cards.

Currently Mines Press houses an image library of over 400,000 images, with most of the files in Macromedia Freehand and a healthy share in Quark and Photoshop. When Mines first ventured into digital storage, it used an Appleshare server and filed the jobs by client number.

“We used nested folders to keep everything in order and, for a while, this system seemed to work fairly well,” Mines explains. “As the library grew, we began to exceed the capabilities of Appleshare, specifically the 32,000 files/volume limitation. We began to suffer disk problems and poor performance accessing the server.”

At that point, Mines Press did all the things that most printers do in a similar digital asset crisis; it looked to ethernet, larger disks, faster servers, and so on. “We ended up with an NT server, scads of RAM and some very big disks,” Mines reports.

Only then did Mines realize that his printing firm’s problems were not limited to hardware. Mines Press had a workflow problem. “Even if we knew where a job was, it was tedious to drill down through three or four layers of folders to get it,” Mines recalls.

Shopping for Software
So the shopping began. Within a few months, Mines Press began to test the asset management waters, making the decision to try out Canto Software’s Cumulus on one of its product lines.

The company’s first experience with the program was unsuccessful because version 2.5 for Macintosh did not support Freehand as well as Mines would have liked. Version 3.0, on the other hand, had very robust support for Freehand 7 and 8, and it had some nifty Applescript tools.

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