Digital asset management is quickly establishing itself as a profession, yet there remain companies and institutions that still need help understanding what we do and the value we provide. As others have stated (Keathley, 2014; de Gyor, 2013) managing assets is an ongoing effort that must be done by experienced and dedicated professionals. As part of this education process, we need to tell others about why we want to manage their digital assets. I think it is time we develop a statement of our core values.
What is a core value?
Michael Gorman (2001) defined a core value as, “a belief that is of deep interest (even self-interest) to an individual or group, and that animates the individual or group’s conduct and states of existence.” A group of beliefs is a value system that is the foundation of our best practices. Thus many of us will understand these values as the common sense we practice on a daily basis.
Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science, though written in the 1930s, are an early example of librarianship core values. The American Library Association posts its Core Values of Librarianship online and the ALA’s Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) publish their values online too.
Why core values?
The motivation for forming statement of such a value system involves altruism as well as self interest. Values make our profession stronger and lead to more jobs while holding us to a higher business standard. Furthermore, they help us manage technical change and provide the tools to define how best to manage the digital assets of tomorrow.
Like any standard, a formal statement of DAM core values will encourage practitioners to adopt an agreed-upon level of service that our users and employers will come to expect and value. Eventually their codification will help DAM business reach the next level of maturity.
What values could be identified in this Statement?
Technology and service
The statement could stress the separation of technology and service. We place importance on continuously evaluating and improving our services to meet changing requirements. This means introducing improvements to a system or replacing one altogether.
Users should be able to find assets efficiently. This may mean installing a robust server connected to users through a fast network. It most certainly involves establishing a metadata schema and taxonomy that are appropriate to the scope of the collection and to the users they serve.
Curating our content (known in the library field as collection development) during and after production is a wise choice. We could state our commitment to curate collections and information sources of the highest possible quality.
While managing assets is at the core of what we do, Gorman (2001) wrote that “we must also be stewards of our profession and its useful policies and practices.” Do you think it’s worth forming a committee to draft a Statement of Values for DAM? If so, what values should it cover? Who should participate in its creation? How should it be ratified and distributed?
About RUSA. (n.d.). Retrieved June 25, 2014, from http://www.ala.org/rusa/about
Keathley, E. F. (2014). Digital asset management: content architectures, project management, and creating order out of media chaos. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4302-6377-7
Gorman, M. (2001). Values for human-to-human reference. Library Trends, 50(i2), 168–184.
Gorman, M. (1995). Five new laws of librarianship. American Libraries, 26(8), 784–785. Retrieved from http://cdigital.uv.mx/bitstream/123456789/6150/1/Michael%20Gorman%20-%20Five%20new%20laws%20of%20librarianship.pdf
Gyor, H. de. (2013, January 31). Where can I find some Digital Asset Management interns? Another DAM blog. Retrieved from http://anotherdamblog.com/2013/01/31/where-can-i-find-a-dam-intern/
Ranganathan, S. R. (1931). The Five Laws of Library Science. Madras Library Association (Madras, India) and Edward Goldston (London, UK). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10150/105454