Handling Digital Assets--Managing Content, Minus Limits
For today, design teams frequently rely on their printers and prepress shops for archiving the work they send to print.
As long as this is so, digital asset management options, coupled with enhancements to traditional archiving tools, will play a premium role in competitive commercial printing environments.
—Marie Ranoia Alonso
ASK AN EXPERT:
Question: When evaluating all-digital archiving technologies, what are some software features essential to a successful implementation?
Patrick White: Let's discuss this optimal feature set and then review options for actually implementing a production database in your day-to-day workflow.
* Maintaining OPI links.
While the automated archiving of jobs and files is quite nice, it must work with existing technologies in your workflow. You want to ensure, for example, that any archiving system you put in place works with your OPI system, in effect maintaining the links between your low-res view files and their high-res cousins.
* Cataloging incoming jobs.
In an all-digital archiving solution, the printer will need to catalog the individual files associated with jobs, and may need to specially catalog images should the customer need to repurpose the image for another printed piece at a later date. This cataloging process should be able to quickly assign keyword search parameters to the files and jobs.
* Interacting with jobs during production.
You should be able to interact with the job database to retrieve elements, update files and track time associated with production processes. A solution that tracks checked-out jobs or job elements is beneficial; it can avoid the problem of multiple versions of a file on a network, which can result in missed updates and changes.
* End-of-job archiving.
Once a job is complete, you will want to be able to easily move files from active storage (your server's RAID) to archived storage, whether DAT, DLT or CD-ROM. Currently, most archiving is done by server administrators, who must manually review a completed job list and then archive the associated files using archive software resident on the server. With a next generation database, you'll be able to drive this process from production, billing or planning departments, decentralizing the process and eliminating the bottleneck of a server-oriented workflow.