Handling Digital Assets--Managing Content, Minus Limits
But digital asset management is by no means limited to the manipulation of data. In addition to handling digital information, printers must be able to store it.
Beyond the bulk of the RAID clusters (see sidebar, Storage, Storage, Storage), beyond the Jaz and SyJet drives, the collection of DAT tapes, CD-ROM disks and other vehicles for the storage of digital assets, lies the next, perhaps most marketable, component in a commercial printer's digital archiving arsenal: workflow management solutions.
Obviously, the field is expanding considerably.
Workflow solutions—ranging from MediaBank from Archetype, now a division of Bitstream, to MediaSphere by Cascade Systems and Extensis Portfolio, to name a few independent digital asset managers—are helping catalogers and general commercial printers alike keep a lid on everything but the kitchen sink.
MediaBank is a database application that allows the user to archive, browse, purge and track any job element, including images, text, fonts, sound files, movies and documents.
The MediaBank application runs on Mac, Windows or a Web client, with back-end database processes running on UNIX or Windows NT servers.
MediaBank allows the user to organize files in job jackets, track the status and cost of jobs, and archive and retrieve entire jobs or job elements.
Strictly in the area of archiving, MediaBank integrates with Legato NetWorker and other backup software, presenting the user with a visual indication of archive status. This allows for a single-click restore from tapes or other storage media and supports pools of different storage media types.
Paul Trevithick, founder of Archetype, now a division of Bitstream, and the visionary behind the archiving power of MediaBank, has a pivotal perspective on the status of digital asset archiving and data manipulation.
"There has been an inordinate focus on installing digital asset management products inside commercial printers and prepress shops to enable them to begin to offer 'asset management services' to their customers. While it is true that this can be successful, there are two other benefits that may prove even more important," he suggests.