Volume 12 (2023-24)

Each volume of Journal of Digital Media Management consists of four, quarterly 100-page issues published both in print and online.

Articles scheduled for Volume 12 include:

Volume 12 Number 2

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Practice Paper
    Clearing the path for digital asset management: Removing obstacles to enhance user experience
    Amy Currans, Global Marketing Operations, Google and Pauline Lopez, Amazon Devices

    Digital asset management (DAM) entails more than just software implementation and administration as it requires building relationships with users at all stages of programme development. By treating users as customers, we can use customer service principles to foster loyalty and goodwill. This approach also helps us focus our efforts where it matters — removing blockers for our customers. This paper describes specific ways to consider customer needs through a standardised approach that supports customer loyalty and reduces effort.
    Keywords: user experience; user interface; DAM administration; customer journey; user research; onboarding; system design; customer service

  • Media and entertainment metadata governance
    Richard W. Kroon, Entertainment Identifier Registry Association and Cameron Crosby, WaveSeven Media & Entertainment Consultants

    This paper delves into the pivotal role of data-driven strategies in media and entertainment, unravelling the symbiotic relationship between content and data in shaping industry success. The paper explores how effective data governance is essential for navigating the complexities of content creation, distribution, usage and adaptation, and addresses the challenges and nuances unique to the industry. The cited research highlights the multifaceted nature of data governance, emphasising the need for strategies that align with a complex and evolving industry. The insights in this paper help pave the way for media and entertainment entities to harness data governance as an enabler of innovation and excellence, rather than a burden to bear.
    Keywords: data; data governance; data-driven; standards; content strategy

  • From pixels to Python: When digital collections befriend artificial intelligence
    Rebecca Bakker and Molly Castro, Florida International University

    This paper explores the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in digital archive practices and its alignment with the methodologies employed in digital scholarship generally. The authors emphasise that AI is an extension of the ways existing technological tools and software are used to enhance workflows, manage data and promote overall accessibility. Various applications of AI in digital archiving are explored, including automated file management, voice-to-text transcription, optical character recognition (OCR), facial recognition in digitised photographs, social media engagement and metadata creation for digital records. While acknowledging concerns regarding ethics, accuracy and privacy, the authors argue that embracing aspects of AI can lead to more efficient and enjoyable practices in digital archiving. Drawing from the core principles of digital humanities, the authors underscore the importance of conscientiously engaging with technology, allowing for a profound respect for and responsible use of AI. The paper concludes by emphasising the importance of maintaining critical inquiry, curiosity and ethical considerations when assessing and integrating AI tools into archival workflows, thus ensuring trustworthy and accessible records for future digital scholarship. Looking ahead, the paper offers insights into the prospective advancements of AI in digital archiving, highlighting its transformative potential in shaping future digital scholarship.
    Keywords: digital archiving; artificial intelligence; workflow optimisation; digital humanities

  • Case Studies
    Transforming through digital asset management: The University of Southern California implementation
    Nina Damavandi, University of Southern California

    Digital asset management (DAM) can be a game changer for an organisation. Over time, it progressively expedites and simplifies work processes, justifying the time and effort of getting it correct the first time. At a large organisation with tens of thousands of employees and multiple lines of business, it is even more critical to give thoughtful consideration to each component of a DAM programme and design for maximum value to ensure the programme remains viable and integral to the organisation over the long term. This case study shows how implementing DAM for the University of Southern California was an ambitious undertaking given the size of the organisation and complex set of challenges that required considered creative solutions. Overcoming these challenges through a comprehensive understanding of users and the overall needs the DAM serves has resulted in a DAM system that adds value. The project also brought about important learnings relevant to future projects and revealed vulnerabilities that could further improve the programme once addressed. As integral as DAM is, it is typically one initiative among many and must maximise resources to integrate with other projects that improve work only when understood as an integrated whole.
    Keywords: implementation; metadata; security; higher education; governance; enterprise

  • Empowering content search: Leveraging the potential of machine learning
    Meenakshi Jindal, Content Infrastructure and Solutions, Varun Sekhri, Asset Management Platform and Tiffany Low, Creative Innovation, Netflix

    In the digital age, the power of machine learning is harnessed to transform content search capabilities. This integration heralds a new era for content creation tools, granting editors and creators access to granular, frame-level content insights. These capabilities enable precision adjustments, enhancing the final product’s efficiency and quality. Recent years have witnessed remarkable shifts in using machine-generated data within media tools. However, harnessing the full potential of machine-learning techniques poses challenges due to the vast and diverse data generated by many algorithms. In response, Netflix has pioneered a groundbreaking solution: the Media Understanding Platform. This platform is a unifying abstraction layer across all Netflix studio applications, bridging the gap between client and machine-learning platforms. This paper illustrates the platform’s design and prowess through real-world examples of promotional media tools that enrich content discovery within Netflix’s expansive catalogue, offering a glimpse into the future of content search.
    Keywords: digital assets search; machine learning; creative tools; standard schema; centralised platform

  • Digitising the Ian MacKaye Digital Collection of Punk Fanzines at the University of Maryland
    John R. Davis, Special Collections in Performing Arts, Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, Jessica H. Grimmer, US Copyright Office, Library of Congress and Vincent J. Novara, Music Division, Library of Congress

    The Ian MacKaye digital collection of punk fanzines at the University of Maryland (UMD) includes more than 1,000 digitised zines, originally collected by a notable punk rock musician. These ephemeral publications document details of the punk subculture that are often obscured by time or scarcity, rendering it all the more important to preserve and make accessible the information within them before they disappear. To create this digital collection, Special Collections in Performing Arts at UMD pivoted from some of its common practices for accessioning or digitising a collection, experimenting instead with different approaches. This paper describes the context for the collection, as well as the curatorial decisions and digitisation workflows that ultimately made the digitised zines accessible to researchers and fans of the punk subculture.
    Keywords: archives; punk; fanzines; digitisation; subcultures; publications

Volume 12 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Practice Paper
    Diversity, equity and inclusion principles for custom taxonomies
    Sharon Mizota, Inclusive Metadata Consultant, USA

    This paper discusses the common challenges and considerations associated with the development of custom taxonomies for describing people along the lines of race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality and other identity facets. The paper recognises that there are inherent and divisive problems in reducing complex human identities to discrete categories, and that terminology is always changing. Nevertheless, in the absence of a public vocabulary that addresses all facets of identity in a respectful and accurate way, custom taxonomies remain necessary. This paper explores the strengths and weaknesses of existing vocabularies, supporting this analysis with real-world examples, including a discussion of the LGBTQ+ vocabulary, Homosaurus and alternative terminology sources. The paper then proposes a flexible process for researching and developing custom taxonomies that draws on the strengths of existing vocabularies, knowledge of one’s content and users, professional best practice literature, journalistic style guides, and first-person consultations. The paper argues that custom identity taxonomies are a way of showing respect for the people represented in one’s digital asset management system and the people who use it. Thus, bringing the values of diversity, equity and inclusion into one’s metadata are a small way of expressing and fostering a community of care.
    Keywords: taxonomy; DEI; controlled vocabulary; metadata; inclusion

  • Case studies
    The Curricular Asset Warehouse at the University of Illinois: Case study of a digital archive’s sustainability
    Karin Hodgin Jones, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, et al

    The production and stewardship of digital objects depends on devices and software with relatively short life cycles. As a result, when it is time to upgrade digital preservation environments and workflows, the devices that host digital objects — hard drives, monitors, computer peripherals, storage media, etc — flow out of digital repositories and contribute to the fastest growing waste stream of the 21st century: electronic waste. This paper discusses how the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is currently conducting a study into the sustainable management of its large volumes of digital video and image content production and preservation, within an analysis of its institutional purchasing and waste management paradigms. This analysis seeks to determine how device obsolescence at CITL can be mitigated to avoid future costs and to minimise the department’s contribution to the global e-waste problem. The first half of this paper describes how CITL employs a system called the Curricular Asset Warehouse (CAW), which is a suite of software that serves as the backbone of its media production and archival needs. CAW uses several open source software tools to be an all-in-one production, cataloguing, preservation and discovery tool. The second half of the paper discusses how CITL, which contains a high-throughput video production unit, is minimising its e-waste footprint by employing the CAW suite of tools to minimise its digital storage needs and, by extension, the amount of electronic waste produced by the department. This section also discusses the findings of an in-progress case study about the environmental impacts of CITL’s production tools and tape-based storage infrastructure.
    Keywords: digital preservation; media asset management; audiovisual preservation; sustainability; electronic waste; video

  • Digitising images from the first tests of HDTV in Europe: The 1992 Summer Olympic Games
    Isabel Sánchez and Etienne Marchand

    This paper discusses the digitisation project launched by the International Olympic Committee’s Audiovisual Heritage team, with technical support from the French Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA), to digitally preserve a rare-format collection of tapes produced during the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. What makes this collection unique is the fact that the D1 tapes are recorded in 1250/50 HDTV standard, the first analogue high-definition television standard developed in Europe, but one that was never formally adopted at European level. This rendered the task of digitising the collection almost impossible, given the lack of video tape recorders for such a format and, in particular, the lack of technicians with the required know-how. Before exploring the technical details of the digitisation process, the paper briefly presents the origin of the recordings, outlines the chronology of the 1250/50 HDTV standard’s development and explains how the Olympic Games were chosen as one of the testing grounds for this new technology. The paper then provides a technical description of the design, implementation and effectiveness of the workflow developed by the INA to digitise these legacy carriers, using obsolete recorders in conjunction with modern tools to reconstruct the experimental high-definition system.
    Keywords: high-definition television; HDTV; HD1250; Dual D1; Olympic Games; Barcelona 1992

  • Digitising images from the first tests of HDTV in Europe: The 1992 Summer Olympic Games
    Isabel Sánchez and Etienne Marchand

    This paper discusses the digitisation project launched by the International Olympic Committee’s Audiovisual Heritage team, with technical support from the French Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA), to digitally preserve a rare-format collection of tapes produced during the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. What makes this collection unique is the fact that the D1 tapes are recorded in 1250/50 HDTV standard, the first analogue high-definition television standard developed in Europe, but one that was never formally adopted at European level. This rendered the task of digitising the collection almost impossible, given the lack of video tape recorders for such a format and, in particular, the lack of technicians with the required know-how. Before exploring the technical details of the digitisation process, the paper briefly presents the origin of the recordings, outlines the chronology of the 1250/50 HDTV standard’s development and explains how the Olympic Games were chosen as one of the testing grounds for this new technology. The paper then provides a technical description of the design, implementation and effectiveness of the workflow developed by the INA to digitise these legacy carriers, using obsolete recorders in conjunction with modern tools to reconstruct the experimental high-definition system.
    Keywords: high-definition television; HDTV; HD1250; Dual D1; Olympic Games; Barcelona 1992

  • Collection insight and interconnectivity through artificial intelligence image analysis: A collaboration with the National Archives of Estonia
    Hannah Storch, Digital Transitions

    Descriptive metadata information is paramount to creating a holistic historical record for researchers, scholars and the general public, as well as other institutions to use both internally and externally. Metadata contextualise image-based collections, providing insight into the individuals, objects and stories contained within them, allowing for the sharing and cross-referencing of information and collections. However, gathering descriptive metadata for image collections is time-consuming and costly to generate, often relying the knowledge of a single person. And yet, if researchers do not extract, catalogue and link this information to the images, valuable context can be lost, obscured by the sheer volume of images that one would have to review manually in order to find specific content. This paper demonstrates how the application of artificial intelligence (AI) image analysis offers an alternative to the traditional labour-intensive manual approach and provides important identifications within collections that allow for further research, collaboration and accessibility. The paper describes how, in partnership with the National Archives of Estonia, we digitised over 100,000 film frames and glass-plate negatives, collected from 22 different institutions around the country, and applied AI image analysis to the digital assets in order to take the first step in successfully identifying individuals within the collections, unlocking their stories, interconnecting these institutions’ collections and the broader cultural heritage community.
    Keywords: artificial intelligence; natural language processing; computer vision; descriptive metadata; cultural heritage

  • The 6K restoration of Orson Welles’ ‘Chimes at Midnight’
    Michael Dawson, Cinedustrial, et al

    This paper provides a short history of the circumstances and motivational factors regarding the restoration of Orson Welles’ ‘Chimes at Midnight’. The paper includes a brief history of the film’s picture and sound degradation and the pursuit of superior first-generation elements. It then goes on to discuss how the latest software systems were employed in the restoration process.
    Keywords: HDR; high dynamic range; Izotope; Arri scanner; Orson Welles; Chimes

  • Magnifying Gwendolyn Brooks: Creating a digital collection at the University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign
    Ana D. Rodríguez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, et al

    The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library is describing and digitising the Gwendolyn Brooks collection as part of the Saving America’s Treasures grant. This project began in the autumn of 2021, with the goal of making Brooks’s work visible and accessible. This paper discusses the first two stages of the project — the Red Album and the Black Scrapbook — objects that are full of mementos from Brooks’s personal and professional life. The paper focuses on the workflow and digitisation practices that the project team employed to create the first digital representations. It also reviews the team’s decisions, which would set the procedural policies and standards for all the remaining materials in the collection. The Red Album and the Black Scrapbook contain a variety of physical formats and materials, resulting in display issues for the digital collection. Collaboration between stakeholders from disparate units allowed for a streamlined approach from the initial description of the material through the hosting of digitised materials on the institution’s Digital Collections platform. This paper discusses challenges, the curatorial process, metadata, the process of description, digitisation, technical aspects and lessons learned from this project. Due to delays from the COVID-19 pandemic, the project’s expected completion date is summer 2023. This paper reflects on the processes and lessons learned throughout the project. It also discusses the most valuable lesson from this project, which is that the digitisation of large and complex collections must be adaptable in order to successfully meet the challenges that such materials offer.
    Keywords: digital library; digitisation; Gwendolyn Brooks; metadata; photo album; scrapbook

  • Making African Academic Resources Accessible at the University of Ghana: A sustainable collaborative project
    Judith Opoku-Boateng, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana

    This paper discusses the Making African Academic Resources Accessible (MAARA) Project — a collaboration between the Audiovisual Preservation Exchanges at New York University and the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana. Since the project launched in 2014, archival staff at the Institute of African Studies have been physically preserving endangered audio assets deposited on quarter-inch open reels, and have digitised thousands of hours of digital audio files to make them accessible to the university community and hence support academic research and creative engagement. This paper describes how MAARA has created a model for audio preservation in the region, with a number of training and mentorship projects emerging from the project. It is hoped that the results described in this paper will pique the interest of potential funders and enthusiasts of cultural heritage preservation as to the possibilities of engaging in sustainable cooperative projects in less-endowed heritage institutions.
    Keywords: audio preservation; African archives; cultural heritage preservation; tape degradation; academic resources; preservation; accessibility; collaboration; sustainability; digital preservation