A content manager is to a website what a production manager or editor is to a print periodical. Just as in the magazine and newspaper world, these managers must possess finely tuned writing and proofing skills to ensure content added to the site is both well-crafted and representative of the site’s “voice.” Whether or not a strict publishing calendar is heeded, content managers see to it that new items are added on a regular and timely basis. While these individuals aren’t necessarily the people designing and maintaining the sites from a technical perspective having some web and graphic design knowledge is always useful.
Interview: Kim Dority
Digital Asset Manager
Growing out of the combination of archival science and information technology, the digital asset manager (DAM) or digital archivist deals primarily with the preservation and storage of born-digital materials, and digitized copies of analog materials. While physical repositories are still alive and well, archives of born-digital and digitized materials are becoming common, ranging from small private collections to large scale initiatives like Project Gutenberg and Google Books.
The most exciting aspect of working in digital asset management is the newness of the field. While paper-based records have been around for decades, the history of their electronic equivalents spans mere decades. These technologies are constantly evolving, which means DAMs need to stay up date with technologies and materials need to be migrated to the newest file and storage formats to ensure future access. While a physical book can’t “crash” or be “erased” per se, these are legitimate concerns for information in electronic form. Thus backup copies in other locations help ensure that the data remains safe. Perhaps the biggest problem is the youth of digital: History has shown us that paper can last for hundreds of years, while digital data hasn’t existed long enough to prove similar longevity. Thus digital asset management is very much an evolving field, and those involved in it must be adaptable to new technologies and meticulous with regards to data organization and migration.
Education: Usually at least a Bachelor’s degree, sometimes a Master’s degree in Computer Science, Information Science, Library Science, or Archival Science. Corporations are more likely to ask for a Computer Science or Information Science backgrounds. Educational and heritage institutions might also specify Library or Archival Science backgrounds.
Skills: Knowledge of digital asset management and/or media asset management systems. Some examples might include Islandora, ContentDM (libraries) and Cortex or NetXposure. Knowledge of Metadata Standards. Some knowledge of programming and database technologies. Knowledge and familiarity of different file formats and their uses and characteristics. Knowledge and experience with digital capture technologies (hardware and software) for a variety of formats (depending on industry or institution)
Outlook: Digital Asset Managers do not fit cleanly into a standard occupational category, with some skills from Archives, Database Administrators, and Web Developers. Employment of this area is likely projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, due to the growing demand of managing digital content.
Interviews: Yves Maurer