Overwhelmed by your digital assets? Implementing a DAMS could provide the solution

Within museum ecosystems, where digital assets are abundant, a DAMS can offer considerable benefit.

But when allocating yearly budget, museums may face reluctance to invest in a DAMS implementation and maintenance. Especially if an institution already took the financial plunge with a state-of-art collections management system (CMS), which supports many of their internal workflows.

Afterall, how different can a DAMS be from a CMS? Do museums really need both—or is their combined value being overstated?

Let’s walk through the advantages and functionality of digital asset management systems for museums. So, you can decide for yourself.

What is a digital asset management system (DAMS)?

DAMS, which is an abbreviation of digital asset management system, are commonly found in museums. In the simplest terms, a DAMS is a designated database for the storage, management, and protection of digital assets.

Its central functions include:

  • Housing all varieties of digital content
  • Managing access to digital files and storing related data, including rights and reproductions
  • Preserving digital assets from loss, due to disorganization or poor security

When used to their full ability, DAMS work in tandem with collections management systems and other software implemented by cultural heritage institutions, such as online collections or conservation documentation programs.

How is a DAMS different from a CMS?

Within museums, DAMS and CMS functionality often overlaps. However, there are key differences that sets these two systems apart:

What does the software do?Management of collections dataManagement of digital assets
What does it store?Collections data—relevant to objects, collections, exhibitions, loans, shipping, and insuranceDigital assets and related data
Which departments use it?Collections Care
Collections Care
Digital Assets
Is it difficult to use?Not necessarily, but most museums prefer to limit access to their CMS to a group of trained key usersNo, DAMS are valuable tools in working environments where many staff members require access to digital assets

Above all else, a DAMS delivers targeted care and storage for digital assets that most CMS aren’t designed to provide. Pairing the two solutions together can bridge significant gaps in internal operations.

Where do museums benefit from having a DAMS?

The reality is: not all DAMS are created equal. Achieving the most from a digital asset management system relies on selecting the best product to meet your needs. You can read more about this topic in our DAMS Purchasing Guide.

However, with the right DAMS for your museum, you can expect to see the following benefits.

Improves access to digital assets

A DAMS functions as the central database for your digital assets. It can allow for increased, but regulated, data access through custom security settings for different departments and staff members.

Why does access matter? Because most museum departments deal with digital assets. New acquisitions by Collections Care come with associated media. Conservators take photos for their reports. An array of media is created and used by Education, Marketing, and Publications, to name a few.

Saves time and streamlines workflows

Submitting copyright clearances and media requests—when requiring an employee response to proceed—often cause workflow bottlenecks. Museum professionals can save time and improve efficiency through the self-service features in a DAMS.

For instance, a well-organized database makes it possible to search for the required files, download the correct image versions and sizes, and check the rights information. No need to send another follow-up email.

Facilitates collaboration across the museum

DAMS have the capacity to increase unity within teams, between departments, and across your institution. Managing digital assets in a single location improves communication and reduces the frustration caused by misplaced media, obsolete files, and endless games of email tag.

Collaborative features within a DAMS—such as image annotation, file attachments, and real-time updates to data—make it easier for everyone to stay updated and synchronized on joint endeavors.

Advances the care of your digital assets

Using a CMS helps to ensure the best care for physical collections objects. On the flip side, DAMS help museums provide the same commitment to the responsible acquisition and management of their digital assets.

Providing a central repository for digital assets also advances their preservation. Without a DAMS, these assets are at increased risk of loss—often scattered through an institution on individual laptops, old hard drives, and elsewhere. DAMS mitigate this issue by providing organization, security, and storage.

Does my museum need a DAMS?

If you have an ever-growing holding of digital assets, and multiple departments that use them, your museum does need a DAMS. Or, at least, you should strongly consider one.

Even with the many benefits of a reputable CMS, like TMS Collections, a DAMS delivers targeted care and functionality for digital assets. Maintaining a DAMS allows museums to feel assured of the ongoing management, appropriate access, and security of these valuable assets.

Okay, but small museums don’t need DAMS, right?

Not so fast! Small museums, where staff often wears many hats, can benefit tremendously from using a DAMS. Indeed, the increased centrality and management of digital assets offers huge advantage to institutions where staff, time, and resources are stretched by daily operations.

How can we secure budget for a DAMS?

Many grants, awards, and funding programs exist worldwide to support digital initiatives. By applying for financial support, museums can help offset the cost of purchasing and implementing a DAMS.

View our 2023 Museum Grants Guides to find relevant opportunities for your institution.

Manage digital assets with TMS Media Studio

TMS Media Studio offers a better DAMS solution for museums. Built for collections, TMS Media Studio shares the same database as TMS Collections, the industry-leading CMS by Gallery Systems. Having a joint database eliminates the need for a costly, cumbersome integration between your collections management system and a 3rd-party DAMS.

As a DAMS, TMS Media Studio delivers powerful, user-friendly functionality and features to take control of your digital assets, including photography, videos, audio, and document files. Every update made in TMS Media Studio syncs in real time with TMS Collections, and vice versa, allowing for seamless data management.

Want to learn more about TMS Media Studio? Fill in our contact form for a swift response. Or reach out to your Account Manager if you’re already a Gallery Systems client.