Repurposing Content--Extending Content Services
What P&H discovered (and, for the record, Herzing considers this a good discovery) was that most of the asset management software available at the time was flawed, expensive, awkward and poorly implemented. "Given that our staff has always been very good about following well-established asset management rules, we felt the solutions on the market were worse than the problem. So we waited."
A year later Xinet released a new technology, WebNative, as an add-on to Xinet's FullPress server. WebNative extends prepress services to the Internet, giving commercial printers and prepress operations instant access on a server from a Web browser at any location. Both internal production workgroups and external customers can search for files and images at any time, download for image placement or soft proofing, and then upload again for output if needed.
P&H took notice. "WebNative could afford us the opportunity to open a small part of our directory tree to selected clients, thus incorporating them into our workflow," Herzing reports. "It was a technology that allowed us to move in the more digital direction we knew we had to go. We thought it would be a slick way to provide an online catalog of files, charging each specific client on a per-MB-per-month basis."
P&H bought into WebNative, implemented it at its facility and titled its WebNative offering P&H eLibrary. "With WebNative, we offer a tool that allows us to quickly create a highly functional, Web-based file distribution system. Administration of the product is so simple, we can create a special-purpose site in a matter of minutes," Herzing states. "The best feature of WebNative has been there since the beginning: Our staff can administrate the contents of each site using only the Macintosh Finder—the IT administration load for WebNative has been, for us, practically zero."
Herzing reports that P&H has clients who use the system daily to pick up the latest copies of their scans, or to drop off digital assets of their own. "It provides a much more reliable and easily understood tool for transferring files than traditional FTP or e-mail attachment," he states. "For our purposes, WebNative works best when we have the opportunity to mold it to our clients' needs."