Frequently Asked Questions

About the Widen Collective


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 General Information

Does Widen offer a free trial?
Yes. You can try the Widen Collective for free at www.widen.com/see-a-demo

What technology partnerships does Widen have?
We support partnerships that add shared value. Those that involve referrals, integrations and/or consulting.

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What is Widen’s track record / longevity in business?
Widen is a privately-held corporation in Madison, Wisconsin, that develops software solutions for marketers who need to connect the assets in their visual content – like graphics, icons, videos, photos, logos and more – with other people and systems.

Our software business is built on more than 65 years of rich media and creative workflow experience. With 110 employees, over 450 customers and more than 200,000 users in 187 countries, we serve an international market.

Our flagship DAM solution is a Software as a Service (SaaS) product called the Widen Collective. It features web-based uploading, multiple search methods, version control, conversion options, permission-based, user access controls and analytics tools for asset tracking and reporting.

Does Widen offer discounts for non-profit organizations and educational institutions?
Yes. Please contact advisors@widen.com for details about discounts for non-profit organizations and educational institutions.

What are the contract terms?
The Widen Collective has an annual subscription with no long-term requirements or departure penalties. The Master Service Agreement contract terms are available upon request.

What are the hosting/installation options for the Widen Collective?
The Widen Collective is a proven leader as the top-ranked hosted, web-based solution that uses the unmatched security, scalability and sustainability technologies of the Amazon Web Services suite.

What is the Widen user model? Is there a limit to concurrent users?
A user is defined as an individual (e.g., administrator, uploader/contributor, power user or general user) assigned to a role or multiple roles within the Widen Collective. There is not a system or performance limit to number of users. There is no premium paid for concurrent users, administrators, uploaders or power users.

Is there a bandwidth cost for uploads or downloads?
Widen does not charge for data transfer (bandwidth) used for ongoing uploads, downloads, video previews or streaming from the system.

Does the Widen Collective work on mobile devices?
Yes. The Widen Collective mobile application works on iOS tablets and mobile devices. The mobile site works on iOS and Android tablets, and mobile devices. The mobile app is not supported on iOS 5 or iPad 1 devices.

Can the Widen Collective be branded for my organization?
Yes. Site branding is an included feature for all Widen Collective customers.

What is the governance model for user roles and permissions?
The roles and permission structure for the Widen Collective is granular and highly configurable. Users can be assigned one or more roles, defining specific permissions for each area of the application. For example, having the ability to view and/or download assets that are unreleased (until a future specified date), released (approved and current) or expired.

Permissions determine which conversion formats are available and whether administrator approval is required for users to do certain things. Assets are assigned into asset groups and the amount of interaction between users and assets is controlled by permissions. There are no limits to the number of roles or asset groups.

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 Functionality

Does the Widen Collective let you read/write embedded metadata?
Administrators can create metadata imports to automatically import IPTC, XMP and Exif metadata when assets are uploaded to the Widen Collective. Custom metadata updates after upload are written back to assets and embedded with the image during download.

Does the Widen Collective allow for custom metadata?
Yes. Metadata fields can be customized for your Widen Collective site. Metadata fields can be customized for different groups of assets, such as file type, and offer different fields for image files, video files or different brands and product lines. Metadata fields have the option be open ended, like a text field, text area, date field or numeric field.

They can be a controlled-vocabulary field with predetermined values in a dropdown list, checkbox group or multiple select palette. There is no limit to the number of metadata fields or schemas. All metadata fields may be permissioned by user roles, including viewing, editing, searching and sorting.

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Can files have a watermark to protect usage rights?
Yes. Your custom watermark can be added to all asset previews on your Widen Collective site and downloaded files. Watermarks are added to preview images at upload, then to converted files when downloaded or sent. Watermarks may be placed with respect to user role and conversion format.

For example, a user in one role may only download a low-resolution watermarked file, while a user in another role may download the same file in multiple formats without watermarks. Original files are not watermarked.

What rights management controls are available?
The primary elements supporting rights management are asset expiration dates, order approvals, required metadata fields for usage requirements, watermarks and permissioned access. Administrators may run reports by date to determine which assets are approaching expiration. Users may also watch assets via alerts and email notifications to track expiration status.

What kind of support does Widen offer for audio and video files?
Full-length previews and transcoding are enabled through the Video/Audio Management feature. Video and audio files automatically generate previews upon upload, regardless of file size. Video files may be viewed in HD.

For download or sharing, video and audio files may be transcoded on the fly. All popular codecs and formats are supported, including avi, swf, flv, mp3, mpeg, m2v, m4v, mov, wav, wma, and wmv, among others.

What upload methods are available?
The Widen Collective upload options make it easy for anyone, anywhere, to ingest assets. Depending on the frequency of uploads and any restrictions on your network, you may find one option more convenient than others. 

  1. Upload Wizard that includes an upload tool on the site. Drag and drop files from your desktop into the web browser. 
  2. Use FTP to send files to the Widen Collective. Generate your user specific FTP folder on our FTP server and send files for immediate upload. 
  3. Use the Dropbox integration with the Widen Collective and add files to a folder on your Dropbox account via desktop tool, browser tool, or mobile plugin for automatic uploads. 
  4. Upload using our REST API. 
  5. Use the Zapier integration to create triggers that will upload your files directly to the Widen Collective.

Basic image editing functions in the Upload tool include rotating, cropping, resizing and applying filters. Users with permission may crop assets already uploaded to the Widen Collective site. Cropped assets are maintained as thumbnail views for other users to download in any format, dimension and color space they have access to.

What formats / asset types are allowed?
All digital file types are supported by the Widen Collective. These asset types automatically generate thumbnails – EPS, TIFF, JPEG, PSD, PNG, AI, DNG, PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and video files – and are called convertible assets.

Along with audio files, convertible assets can be converted on-the-fly to other file formats. Non-convertible assets (i.e., any other file type uploaded to the Widen Collective), while not automatically having a preview generated, may have an alternate preview associated. For more information about formats, refer to the Widen Collective Supported File Formats.

What is meant by on-the-fly file conversions?
File conversion is on-demand (i.e., on-the-fly) per your custom settings. For images, this includes file format, resolution, dimension and color space. For video transcoding, this includes format, resolution, dimension and bitrate. As a standard feature, this applies to any convertible asset format. Non-convertible assets may be uploaded and downloaded in their original format.

What versioning capabilities are available?
The Widen Collective supports versioning of all asset types. Watch this video to see the main features of version control. Rollback is included and available to individuals in any role and may also interact with prior versions. The most recent version is referred to as the finalized version. The original file is always maintained as the first version.

Are there any file size limits?
There is no limit on the number of files that can be uploaded and stored in the Widen Collective. There is a single file size upload limit of 100GB. 

What search methods are available?
Multiple search options are offered. Each Widen Collective site can be configured with different search functionalities at no additional cost. Only permissioned assets will be returned in a user’s search results.

Quick Search, Category Search, Faceted Search, Advanced Search, All Assets Search, Predictive Search, Collections Search, Archived Assets Search, Saved Search, and Spotlight Search. The Quick Search can handle simple and advanced searches. For simple searches, enter your search terms separated by spaces in the search box. All file names, metadata fields, and categories will be included in the search.

Are Single Sign-On (SSO) integrations supported?
Federated, non-federated and custom Single Sign-On (SSO) methods are supported. For an overview of SSO methods, refer to the Widen Collective Single Sign-On Integration article. User permissions are maintained within the site, though role assignment may be transferred with credentials during an SSO authentication.

Do people need to be registered users if I want to send or share files with them?
No. A registered user may send a download link or share a collection (portal) with anyone. If the person receiving the assets is not a registered user, he or she will be brought to a download or collection share page after clicking the link in the company-branded email.

Non-registered users will not have access to the site to search or see any other assets besides the ones sent to or shared with them.

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 Service

What does Widen offer for implementation support?
Full, professionally guided implementation and ongoing support is a significant differentiator for Widen. Every new customer gets a dedicated Customer Experience Manager for the site setup phase and continued guidance with the Widen Collective. For more information about our implementation process, refer to the Widen Collective implementation steps.

How do you manage initial (or ongoing) bulk uploads of large volumes of assets at a time?
Widen supplies a hard drive for customers to transfer an initial bulk upload of assets. The initial upload might be a few hundred gigabytes or multiple terabytes.

After assets are uploaded to the hard drive, the files are run through a series of scripted routines to find any duplicate (“conflicted”) files, which are then placed in a queue for review and resolution. The folder structure is also replicated as a metadata-based, browsable category structure with assets assigned to the structure. Embedded image metadata is mapped to searchable fields under the customer’s direction.

Header information (format, size, dimension, date, and for video/audio video track, FPS, sound track) is also captured. More detailed information about the deduping process may be reviewed in the Widen Collective bulk uploads article.

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Can Widen migrate metadata from other DAM systems?
Yes. Our team seamlessly handles migration of metadata from other DAM systems into the Widen Collective. As long as you can export the metadata structure to XLS, CSV, or XML, we can script to import it. Learn more about data import file format rules from the Widen Collective metadata migrated from other systems article. For very large metadata sets, XML is the preferred export/import format.

Does Widen have a user community?
Yes. Widen has a Widen Collective User Group on Linkedin and a DAM admin community on WidenUniversity.com. Widen also hosts an annual User Summit each Fall. Learn more about the Widen Summit at www.WidenSummit.com.

Does Widen provide 24/7 technical support? If so, is there an additional cost for this?
Technical and infrastructure support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is no additional cost for technical support, though it is not directly customer-facing. Help Desk hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. All customers have unlimited access to our Help Desk staff via chat, phone and email.

Does Widen have a support website?
Yes. Our online knowledge base, support.widencollective.com, includes context-specific, searchable articles, screenshots and videos. The website is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What consulting services does Widen offer?
Widen offers consulting services from DAM Strategy to Digital Content Production to user engagement and adoption.

How does Widen handle customizations?
The Widen Collective is a highly configurable, permission-based service with monthly feature updates at no additional cost. Customization requests are reviewed by our product teams. If approved, they are incorporated as universal features available to all customers.

How does the Widen Collective handle upgrades?
The Widen Collective includes monthly upgrades as part of the service. Feature changes are announced through Widen’s newsletter and the top-line messaging notifications within the Widen Collective application.

Webinars explaining new features are hosted by Widen and all customers may attend. Release notes with instructional videos are distributed to site administrators, and a system message is placed within each customer site for all users to review.

Site administrators are notified in advance of their specific upgrade time. All upgrades are scheduled to occur during off-peak hours. Each customer site is typically unavailable for 15 to 20 minutes during the upgrade procedure. Sites are upgraded in waves, occurring over a 30-day time period.

Ideas for upgrades and changes are gathered from customers, prospects, the competitive landscape and Widen’s development brain trust. Customers are encouraged to submit ideas through our Ideas Page, which is accessible on every customer site. Customers can see an entire Change History anytime on our support site.

What kind of training does Widen offer?
One administrator and one general user training session is included with site setup. There is no limit to number of attendees. Training sessions are web-based with a conference number. The administrator training sessions focus on the needs of the global administrators while the general user sessions focus on the basic needs of the end user.

Training sessions may be recorded and made available on each customer’s site. Customers may create branded training videos for users to view upon login. Administrator and general user manual training materials can be provided in addition to the videos. Widen demo tutorials and Quickstart resources are available for all customers, anytime, at our online training center, WidenUniversity.com.

What is the implementation timeline?
An average implementation takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks, depending on customer responsiveness, size/complexity, if Widen does the initial asset upload and if there is a custom Single Sign-On.

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 Technical Information

What programming language does Widen use?
The Widen Collective is programmed with numerous Java-based open source tools.

What browsers are supported?
For full support of features, please access the site with one of the following browsers: Microsoft Windows – Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Macintosh OS – Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari Specific browser versions supported. For additional information read the supported browsers article.

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Does Widen have an application programming interface?
Yes. Prospective customers have access to all technical details of the application programming interface (API), and may conduct Widen-supported tests in a live environment. Customers using the API also have Widen development staff support for any questions. For demonstration examples and full technical documentation, visit our Web Services API page.

Do I have to give my personal information? Is the site secure?
The minimum requirement to have an account within the Widen Collective is to provide a first and last name and a valid email address. The site is secure and requires each user to have their own account, accessible with a unique username and password. In addition, the site is secured using the SSL (HTTPS) protocol. Widen adheres to the latest European Commission rulings on personal data.

Where is my data stored?
All Customer data is redundantly stored in Amazon S3 on multiple devices across multiple facilities in an Amazon S3 region. To help ensure durability, Amazon S3 synchronously stores data across multiple facilities and maintains that durability by detecting and repairing any lost redundancy. Designed to sustain the concurrent loss of data in two geographically separate facilities, Amazon S3 also regularly verifies the integrity of data stored.

If corruption is detected, it is repaired using redundant data. For more detailed information about Amazon S3 services, go to http://aws.amazon.com/s3.

Amazon AWS has lots of different services, which ones are you using?
Widen uses many of Amazon AWS’s services. For data storage, Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is used for 99.999999999% file durability and backups. MySQL databases are used with Amazon’s Relational Database Services (RDS) and the multiple regional database synchronization is enabled.

Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) services is used for all servers with autoscaling configured for failure over and load balancing needs. See architecture and failure overview for further details.

How does Widen handle backups?
Backups of files are stored in Amazon. Backups of databases are managed through the Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), which consists of snapshots with transaction logs so we can restore a database to any point in time.

Can I get all my data back once it’s in the Widen Collective?
Yes. There are procedures in place to export all your data out to a drive and have it shipped back to you. All your files and metadata can be exported at anytime if requested for a small cost.

How frequent are upgrades and how are the managed?
Upgrades occur monthly, depending on the feature set being released. Administrators of the site are notified prior to the upgrade with a list of new features and a tentative time frame. When the upgrade is ready, Widen works with each client at least a week in advance to schedule their upgrade. After the upgrade is complete, Widen hosts a webinar for all administrators to attend and review new functionality.

How do the end users get support?
Service and user experience is top priority. Support is available to all users of the Widen Collective. Live chat and phone support is available from 7a.m. to 5p.m. CST, Monday through Friday.

An online knowledge base is also available 24/7 at our support site. Escalation procedures are in place if necessary to Widen infrastructure staff and development staff to work directly with end users to find quick resolutions.

Are there bandwidth/transfer volume limits (hosted service)?
No. Bandwidth and transfer volume is included with the subscription.

What are Widen’s security certifications?
Widen follows the ISO 27001 Information Security Management Protocol. Amazon’s commitment to customer data safeguard processes and controls is detailed in their certifications and accreditations, which include SOC 2/SSAE 16/ISAE 3402, ISO 27001, FISMA Moderate, PCI DSS Level I and FIPS 140-2, among other compliance initiatives. For more information about AWS security, go to https://aws.amazon.com/security.

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