Being a Widen DAMster: An interview with Kelsey Bawel, Selection Archivist at Kelley School of Business

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DAMster Interview

Kelsey Bawel is the Selection Archivist at Kelley School of Business in Indiana. After receiving her undergraduate degree in History and International Studies from Taylor University, she obtained her MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) as well as a MA in Public History from Indiana University, Indianapolis.

Kelsey currently works part-time as a dedicated digital asset manager for the Kelley School of Business. We recently sat down with Kelsey to talk about her role there.

What is your role - what do you do each day/what are you responsible for?
I’m the digital asset manager at Kelley, so after our photographers have taken photos or our videography team has completed a video, they put it on a network drive and tell me it’s ready.  I add all the metadata to those assets and make sure everything that should go in the Widen Media Collective gets in there.

Once the assets are there, I manage the system and make selections with the help of our art director for outgoing media.

Approximately how much of your time do you spend using the Media Collective?
I spend about 10-12 hours a week just administering the site. That includes time entering metadata, uploading assets, and making selections.

What was the trigger for needing a DAM system?
Our old DAM system just wasn't working for any of us as the demands for photo and video increased. I was originally brought into the business school's team to help the team find the right match and help choose the new DAM system we should move to. I was very involved in that process.

What were you looking for in a DAM system?
Definitely speed, reliability, and having a workflow that worked for our graphic designers, content management people, and our photographers.

Can you talk a little about the content management people?  What do they use the DAM system for?
We send out all the marketing material for Kelley School of Business, so everything from social media and the website, to postcards and brochures. All of that. And we use assets within the Widen Media Collective to tell our story.

Are you making use of embed codes or other sharing features?
We haven’t yet. We’re focused on getting our team used to a reliable system first, then understanding that it’s okay to use embed codes. We’ve been playing with the idea of using Widen’s API, too.

If somebody asked you what the Widen Media Collective does, what would you tell them?
I’d say the Widen Collective houses all of our digital assets and can be used not only for storage, but as a way to make use of all that information.

When you say “make use of all that information,” what does that mean?
Instead of having a closet full of photographs and videos that you never use, you can actually find the assets. You can add metadata easily in order to take something from being just an asset that’s only used in house or that’s never used, to being something you can actually put into use.

What are you doing with the Widen Media Collective?  Are you uploading, downloading, sharing?
I’m doing all of that. I’m the one who uploads pretty much everything into the Widen Collective, but I also do the majority of the sharing as well.

Do you know how many assets you have in your system right now?
We currently have 25,100 assets today.

And how many users do you have?
We currently have 20.

Are you tasked with controlling access for those users or user groups?
Yes. I manage who gets the users, the permission levels, and who has what permission level. We make sure to control all of that and that’s a big part of my job.

How essential is that control to the Kelley School of Business brand?
As we move forward, it’s going to be hugely important.  We just gave our first contract group a user name for the DAM system. Being able to control what they can and cannot see, what they can and cannot download, as well assigning permission for certain downloads allows us to control what kinds of materials they are going to produce and put out there.

Who is the contract group?
They’re an outside resource we’re using to create the MBA View Book, which is supposed to be the essence of the program. It’s very important that it’s on brand.

Can you talk about being on brand with Kelley School of Business and Indiana University?  How are you achieving that and is the DAM system helping you?
We are able to set guidelines on what kinds of assets go into the DAM system in the first place, so if something is not on brand, it doesn’t make it into the system.  It’s prompted us to create guidelines for photographers and videographers of what we need and what we want from them.

Who are the core users of your system?
I’m the main power user.  Our art director is another big user, as well as his assistant photographer.  Both of our graphic designers use it fairly frequently.  And our next biggest user is the person in charge of writing content and our social media.

Do you know how they’re using the Widen Media Collective to help with social media?
We’re marking certain assets as “social media” if they’re social media appropriate or interesting. And we’re creating a calendar so that we can come up with themes for what we want to do, then go back to the DAM system and look for the assets that would best match the theme on our social media channels.

So you’re actually tagging your assets, in the DAM system, for use in social media?

How are your users using the Widen Collective?
The majority of our users are in-office. They have access to look at and download almost everything. This helps to make sure we’re on brand and that we’re using our own students. In terms of roles right now, we only have three users who aren’t the next level down from a global administrator.

What kind of training did you provide when you rolled out the DAM system?
I worked really closely with Craig Eich, the person who was in my position before me. We wanted to make sure that the Widen Collective was something everyone in the office was on board with. If they didn’t believe that it was going to work – right from the beginning – they weren’t going to use it.

We talked closely with those people who would use the Widen Collective, to make sure their needs were met. Once we found a product we thought would best meet their needs, we had them do a lot of testing with the system to make sure it did. Then we did an in-house training session.

We also created a custom training video, with the help of Widen. It’s really great and we still send it out to everyone who becomes an end user and can’t be there for the actual training session.

What questions did you ask your users to find out what they needed from a DAM system?
We started with what they disliked the most about the old system because that revealed what was most important to them. We knew that reliability was key because we lost a lot of images through corruption with the old DAM system. People also never knew how long things were going to take to download and that was frustrating.

The core group tested many different DAM systems before we decided that the Widen Collective was going to work, so they told us what they liked or didn’t like about each system as they tested. So we had a good idea which systems even had potential for being something we could use. The selection process built from there. If the core group liked a certain system, then we’d build on that by testing another system that had what they liked first, but also offered more.

Is there anything your team is doing with the Widen Collective that you didn’t realize you could do initially?
Not right now.  I’m hoping that the team will start making use of things like the cropping mechanism and downloading, and being able to do conversions. But for now, everyone’s still trying to get on board.

What is your favorite functionality of the Media Collective?
My absolute favorite is uploading into the system because of the upload wizard. It’s really straight-forward and you can configure it to match how and where you want to upload an asset. It’s also really reliable. We rarely have a failed upload.

Is your team collaborating in different ways because of the DAM system?
We definitely share whole collections more than we used to, so there’s more back and forth of what images work or don’t work because it’s easy to send more images, or new images, and change what’s in a collection.

What is the single greatest value the DAM system has brought your team?
It’s allowed for more collaboration of our team while saving us time.

When you say collaboration, what does that mean?
Everyone is now able to see the assets we have, so it can be used as an inspiration board or someone can suggest a specific image to create or add. Before, no one wanted to log into the DAM system because no one knew what was going to happen when they did.

Where do you go for more information about content marketing or digital asset management?
Google is my friend, definitely.  So if I ever have a question, I Google. And we have a really great team here that has a wide knowledge base. I’ll always ask them, and if they don’t know the answer, they’ll know where to look for it. The Widen support page as well as the Widen University page are also key sources, especially when I'm trying to find Widen specific information.

What advice would you give other organizations who are just starting to look for a DAM system?
I would say make sure that the system you choose has a support team that will respond quickly to you and actually care about whether the system is working for you or not. If they don’t care about you when you are choosing their system, they’re definitely not going to care when you’ve bought the system and are using it.

What was the implementation process like at Widen to get the system up and running?
Before implementing the system, we spent a lot of time going through our assets and only keeping the ones that were useful. We eliminated duplicates, then added metadata that was actually useful. Because even though we had a DAM system before, there was very little management of the resources. We may as well have had a closet full of CDs because no one used it (the old system).  

How long did it take to implement the Widen Collective?
About 2-1/2 months.  

Who was involved in that process?
I headed the project, but Craig Eich, the person who previously filled my role within the department, played a huge role in teaching me what was going on, and helping me choose a system. Other than that, it was mostly just those who did testing and decided if they liked the new DAM system or not.

How helpful was Widen during the implementation process in terms of getting the site structure where you wanted it to be?
Widen did a great job of helping us get started with the new system. They’d been through it many times before, you could tell, and they anticipated any problems we might have.  They made sure that we knew what the timeline was going to be, and were very responsive whenever we had questions.

What does it mean to be part of the Widen experience?
I would say the Widen experience is having a team outside of your own team who is rooting for you and trying to make your system and your office and your product better.

Topics: Photography, Marketing, DAM, Workflow

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