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Understanding Cumulus and Digital Asset Management
Understanding Cumulus and Digital Asset Management
Understanding Cumulus and Digital Asset Management
Understanding Cumulus and Digital Asset Management
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Understanding Cumulus and Digital Asset Management

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  • 1. Understanding Canto Cumulus and Digital Asset Management An overview of digital asset management and an introduction to the world’s leading DAM system. This document provides an overview of the benefits of digital asset management, and explains how the Cumu- Access any file, any time, from any lus® digital asset management (DAM) system can help place—easily and securely. your organization organize, find, share and publish digital files of all types. Focus on what’s important—don’t waste time managing files. Once regarded a niche industry for photographers and design shops, DAM has become a concern for organiza- Turbocharge workflow and ROI by tions of all sizes, from all sectors. making sure no file is ever lost. DAM is about finding any file, any place, any time—and Ensure that approved files are the protecting those files. Cumulus makes doing so easy, fast only files ever released. and reliable. DAM, MAM, BAM, ECM: Digital Asset Management 101 with multiple projects, and duplicating assets makes no Is there a difference? sense. How many copies of your logo do you really need? Digital asset management is not a new concept. Pictures With Cumulus, a single file can be associated with any Digital Asset Management (DAM) from digital cameras, music downloaded from the Inter- number of projects, and assignments can be made or industry has splintered over the net, and even documents colleagues send to you via email changed at any time. years into areas of specific focus: are examples of digital assets (files) you manage every Media Asset Management (MAM) day through the use of folder structures, labels, etc. Find the parent, find the kid Operating systems offer no refers to images, audio and way of seeing which images or other files are used in lay- video. But MAM also refers to But when your files number in the hundreds of thousands, outs or presentations. Cumulus can quickly show you Marketing Asset Management. need to be accessible to coworkers and clients all over the which files a layout contains, and it can even automati- BAM describes DAM for brands, world, and—most importantly—are of significant value cally catalog files used on the layout that aren’t yet cata- while Enterprise Content to your organization, you need more power and flexibility Management (ECM) is about the loged. than operating systems can offer, and here’s why. documents that define a Security needs to be easy Assigning file permissions in companies various processes. Laptops travel, file servers don’t The carefully planned operating systems is so complicated, it’s easy to favor no Confused? Don’t be! folder structures on your laptop work for you; but if oth- access control at all, which is a bad idea when your assets Everything becomes a digital ers need a file and you’re not around, productivity stops. are valuable or sensitive. Cumulus permissions are easy asset (file) when it comes time Likewise, how useful is your office file server when to manage, and Cumulus can even grant or revoke access to use, share or distribute them. you’re on the road? Cumulus makes any file available to to files in real time, based on factors like manager Canto Cumulus is a digital asset any authorized user, even via Web browsers. management system capable of approvals, embargo or license expiration dates—without handling all files and all content. Information that’s unique by design The metadata sup- the need for IT assistance. ported by operating systems is fixed, meaning you cannot Productivity takes no sides Sharing files between differ- add fields of your own, or modify existing fields to reflect ent operating systems can be a challenge. Cumulus serves your workflow. Cumulus enables you to create any (and Canto’s Valued Customers Include all users equally—no matter which computer they pre- Leaders in the Fields of: as many) metadata fields as you need. And the drop- fer—over LAN or Web. down menus and check boxes in Cumulus make data • Advertising In a sense, your operating system is your warehouse, and • Aerospace entry easy and fool proof. Cumulus is your inventory control system, security • Entertainment Files belong in more than one place Shortcuts and guard, facility manager, and global courier service all • Higher Education aliases are a cumbersome way to manage files associated • Government rolled into one. • Manufacturing • Marketing • National Security FIGURE 1 THE FOUR STAGES OF DAM The • Public Safety four stages of digital asset management are • Publishing cataloging, using, managing and distributing. As • Technology you learn about the capabilities and features • Retail of Cumulus, you’ll see how each falls into one or more of these categories. A customer list is available on Canto’s website: http://www.canto.com Canto, the Canto logo and Cumulus are registered trademarks of Canto. Other company and product names might be trademarks of 1 of 4 their respective owners. Copyright ©2008 Canto GmbH. All rights reserved. [08-08] [UR-01] www.canto.com
  • 2. Understanding Canto Cumulus and Digital Asset Management www.cantocom The Four Stages of DAM location coordinates, and much more. Download a complete list of “enhanced” file formats at: Digital asset management describes: http://www.canto.com/filters • Cataloging Assets • Finding and Using Assets Files can be cataloged by dragging and dropping them onto a Cumulus catalog. (Figure 2) • Managing Metadata • Distributing Assets Cataloging Assets Cataloging describes the process of extracting information (metadata) from your files, and packing that information into a searchable database record (asset record) for each file. Each database is called a catalog. Metadata is the information that describes a file, such as the file name, format, creation date, etc. FIGURE 3 METADATA FIELD TYPES Cumulus enables What you type into a Microsoft Word document you to set up many different metadata field types and is the file data—the file’s name, size, storage configure them to appear as familiar interface elements, location, creation date, etc. are the file’s meta- FIGURE 2 CATALOGING The easiest way to catalog files such as text fields, button arrays and drop-down menus. data. All digital files contain at least some basic is to just drag and drop them right from your computer’s metadata, while some file formats contain a desktop. Finding and Using Assets The wealth of metadata. metadata in your asset records is the Cumulus enables you edit the metadata extracted Cumulus can collect basic metadata from any basis for how files are found. So, from your files, and even add new metadata. digital file, which makes the system useful no the more descriptive your metadata, Cumulus supports many metadata field types, matter which file formats your organization uses. the easier it will be for users to find including drop-down menus, check boxes, col- In addition, Cumulus offers enhanced metadata what they need. Cumulus offers ored labels, ratings and even audio annotations. support for hundreds of the most popular file for- several ways in which to search for You can add as many metadata fields to a catalog mats, which enables the program to extract for- files. (Figure 4) as you need. (Figure 3) mat-specific metadata, such as a digital camera’s For quick file browsing, Cumulus offers catego- model, lens aperture, shutter speed, GPS shot ries. Double-click on a category and see all files FIGURE 4 FIND OPTIONS Cumulus offers an array of find options that are each suited to a particular method of searching: CATEGORY BROWSING (Far left) The ways in which Cumulus categories work is extremely powerful and unique to Cumulus. An asset can be assigned to any number of categories and, if a category’s name is ever changed, or the category is moved in the hierarchy, all assignments are maintained. QUICKSEARCH KEYWORDS (Top) At the top of the Cumulus window is the Quicksearch area, which offers word- or phrase-based searching. FIND TOOL (Floating Window) Complex queries are easy to configure, and they can be saved, shared and even used from the Cumulus Web clients. In addition, Cumulus makes it easy to find files based on layouts, presentations or other files in which they’ve been used, or based on associations you define, such as grouping photos from the same photo- shoot. Canto, the Canto logo and Cumulus are registered trademarks of Canto. Other company and product names might be trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright ©2008 Canto GmbH. All rights reserved. [08-08] [UR-01] www.canto.com 2 of 4
  • 3. Understanding Canto Cumulus and Digital Asset Management www.cantocom assigned to it. You can use as many categories as becomes clear how poorly suited operating sys- you need, and you can nest them to create hierar- tem folders and permissions are for the task of chies. Assign assets to categories via drag and asset control. Just the three conditions above drop. A given asset can be assigned to any or all demonstrate how long the process of determin- categories, and assignments can be changed at ing an asset’s readiness would take when any time. approvals and verifications are conducted via Cumulus also enables you to type words or email, phone calls or overnight couriers. phrases to find files, as you do with Internet Using Cumulus, metadata fields can serve as a search engines. “checklist” to verify a file’s current state, making For complex searching, multi-conditional search FIGURE 5 VERSION CONTROL An unlimited number of it clear to a designer or other employee when an queries that can be created and shared with other asset revisions can be tracked by Cumulus, making it pos- asset is suitable for use. An asset can be users. For example: sible to “roll back” to the most recent version, or even a approved—or have a previous approval version many years old, if needed. Version comments make revoked—within seconds, from any Internet “Find all PowerPoint files assigned to me, clear what edits were performed. connected computer worldwide. (Figure 6) whose licenses have been verified by Legal, that are rated 5-stars, and that are not labeled red.” Some metadata management involves determin- A query this complex isn’t even possible using ing who should have access to each file. When standard operating system search tools, but using a file system to manage files, many organi- Cumulus makes it easy to configure and share. zations rely on folder structures to determine The results of virtually all queries appear instan- access—files in development go in a “Work In taneously, thanks to the lightening-fast Cumulus Progress” folder; when they’re ready, they’re database engine—even when searching through moved into an “Available” folder, or something catalogs of hundreds of thousands of assets. along those lines. Cumulus was designed for metadata handling, so When using Cumulus, you never need to worry optimizations for finding files based on diverse about where a file is physically stored. Cumulus metadata are built right in. serves as your asset “gatekeeper,” and access is What’s more, all search options are available controlled via metadata and other permissions also to users connected via Web browsers. options. As a file evolves from one stage of its life to another, all that needs to change is meta- Once assets are found, Cumulus provides several data—no file moving, no file copying. ways for users to access them for use, including dragging and dropping them into local folders, or One of the benefits of this is that files are always even directly into popular programs like where you expect them to be, ready for safe Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Photoshop and backup or access by applications—and you don’t InDesign. (Drag and drop works into many other risk damaging or losing them in file copies. applications too.) Plus, you can base a file’s evolution from on stage to another on rules you set, rather than FIGURE 6 ASSET APPROVALS Metadata fields like Cumulus also enables users to “check out” files these make it easy to determine if a given file is ready— for editing. Once edits are complete, the file is where it’s physically located. Consider the sim- and appropriate—for the intended use. The editing of the checked-in again, and a “history” entry is made ple question: approval and license fields shown here are restricted to that describes the edits. Previous versions can When is a file available for use? authorized users only. remain available indefinitely, so files are never The answer to this question varies between orga- lost to editing mistakes, and Cumulus version nizations, but common considerations include: Some Cumulus editions make it easy to prevent control works with any asset format. (Figure 5) • Approved by management — Has the file been assets that are not approved for use from even Managing Metadata During an approved by an art director or other authority? appearing to users. And all Cumulus systems can asset’s lifetime, its production sta- automatically check metadata fields for expira- • Usage permitted by license — Has Legal con- tus, availability, usage history and tions and other conditions you define, and update firmed the file can be used? other attributes change. These other metadata values (like status) accordingly. attributes are each represented (or • File suitability — Is the image you’re about to place in the new ExxonMobil brochure the In addition to managing asset metadata, which defined) by the file’s metadata. same image placed into the BP brochure by helps you find and secure your files, and deter- Managing that metadata helps your London office last year? mine their readiness, Cumulus also enables you ensure your files are properly tagged, secured to manage entire projects through the use of cat- and accounted for. When considering the many rules and judge- egory metadata. ments humans use when choosing files, it Canto, the Canto logo and Cumulus are registered trademarks of Canto. Other company and product names might be trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright ©2008 Canto GmbH. All rights reserved. [08-08] [UR-01] www.canto.com 3 of 4
  • 4. Understanding Canto Cumulus and Digital Asset Management www.cantocom Hiding behind each Cumulus category is a set of Distributing Assets File distribu- The Case for Cumulus metadata fields you define. As with asset record tion rounds out the four most com- To ensure your DAM system remains a good metadata fields, you can add as many category mon DAM activities. You might investment, make sure you choose one that’s metadata fields as you need. publish a collection of assets to CD/ “future proof.” Your needs today are not likely to To best understand the value of category meta- DVD or the Web, or you might be your needs tomorrow. Your business will data, consider a project and some common want to make assets available for grow and your industry will change. If your attributes associated with it: sale over the Internet. Even the pro- DAM solution cannot grow with you—or if cess of “collecting for output” when you’re • Project name & details updates require too much money or downtime— sending files to a professional printer is a type of • List of contributors you’ll end up in exactly the same situation distribution. you’re in now—no control, no convenience and • Approval authorities For CD/DVD production, Cumulus can copy no protection. • Due date files you select to “staging” areas where your All DAM vendors claim at least some of the By adding these category metadata fields to a cat- disc-burning software can burn discs. The same capabilities. But few vendors offer abso- alog, you’re ready to create and manage new advantage here is that you don’t need to manu- lute flexibility. projects just by creating new categories. ally find files—Cumulus knows exactly where (Figure 7) every file is, even if it’s on another continent. For example, one vendor might describe impres- sive features, but fail to mention that only a The Cumulus Web clients make Web publishing handful of file types are supported by those fea- easy. Unlike the Web options of other DAM sys- tures. Important features like check-in/check-out tems, the Cumulus Web clients require no addi- and version control work with all file types in tional configurations—they use the same Cumulus, not just a few. permissions and layouts as are used in the Mac OS and Windows LAN software clients. Plus, Another system might sound ideal until you real- Cumulus publishes “live” catalogs to the Web— ize it forces you to categorize your files in a cer- not catalog copies. So any changes made through tain way. Cumulus enables you to define the the LAN clients are reflected on the Web taxonomies you’ve already needed. And, if you instantly, and vice versa. want your DAM system to reflect your file sys- tem, Cumulus can do that too—at the same time! A collection basket feature in the Web clients makes it easy for users to gather files for down- Be weary of vendors that make claims of enter- load. Integrate the collection basket with order prise readiness based on their use of some astro- fulfillment systems if you need to process credit nomically expensive database engine. (Even an card transactions. Open Source database can be costly when it comes to integration and maintenance.) When manually processing orders, you can offer for-position-only versions of your files and with- No standard database is perfect for all uses. The hold the full resolution assets until payment is Cumulus database engine was built for metadata FIGURE 7 PROJECT MANAGEMENT Category processed. processing and, if it’s important to also have metadata fields make it easy to track and update your metadata in another database, such as Watermarking options include visible marks that project related metadata. Email notifications based on MySQL, Oracle, or Microsoft SQL Server, field value changes can be sent to users automatically. support your brand or indicate usage restrictions, Cumulus can mirror to those systems, and more. and an advanced watermarking technology that embeds invisible marks into images that can Canto wouldn’t point out the shortcomings of The final consideration for Cumulus-based even withstand edits. If a portion of a protected other systems if Cumulus didn’t easily rise above project management would be, of course, associ- image is copied into another document, the them all. We’re confident you will not find a ating assets with the project. Cumulus makes invisible mark remains detectable, enabling you DAM system more flexible, user friendly or that as easy as dragging and dropping them onto to identify your images indefinitely. powerful than Cumulus—at any price point. their project category. If an asset is later used in another project, just drag it on top of that project Distribution also describes sharing files across your organization, such as making sales materi- Why not try Cumulus for yourself? Contact category too—all previous associations are als accessible to your remote Sales staff from Canto (info@canto.com), or visit maintained, making it easy to see a history of any Internet connection. Cumulus permissions www.canto.com today to download your trial. usage. are flexible enough to enable you to get certain Over 17 years in business, over 13,500 servers Asset approvals and project management are key assets to certain people, while restricting access sold, and more than 1.15 million user licenses activities for all organizations, yet neither is han- to others. This makes it easy to ensure the folks distributed—Canto Cumulus is the digital asset dled by any operating system in use today. in Sales don’t access something that’s not ready, management system that defined an industry, or that one client doesn’t see the files of another. and continues to lead it today. Canto, the Canto logo and Cumulus are registered trademarks of Canto. Other company and product names might be trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright ©2008 Canto GmbH. All rights reserved. [08-08] [UR-01] www.canto.com 4 of 4

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