Sheridan has grown from a local college of 400 students in 1967 to one of Ontario’s leading postsecondary institutions, educating approximately 38,000 students every year on four campuses. They help shape the future of our society in the fields of arts, business, community service, health, technology, and the skilled trades. Class was recently in session and we had a chance to sit down with Stewart Dick, senior graphic designer and Britta Charbonneau, eMarketing Technologist with Sheridan College to talk about Digital Asset Management (DAM) in higher ed.
For fourteen years, Stewart Dick has been a graphic designer for Sheridan and is responsible for creating and acquiring visual assets and incorporating them into print designs. He also shares those assets with other departments to maximize their availability and reuse. Prior to having the Media Collective, those tasks proved to be quite difficult as the amount of digital media assets and the number of people that needed access to them increased.
Stewart outlines an unfortunately common workflow for many without DAM of having to search for an image amongst a sea of CD portfolios. “All our assets existed on CDs, in a box, on the floor,” he says, which immediately can send chills down the spine of many other designers.
Not one to give in, Stewart talks about how they proactively tried to find a solution, and tried options like Extensis, CAT Finder, and Adobe Bridge. While each change brought in some increase in organization, nothing really helped beyond the four walls of Stewart’s office. It wasn’t a help to the rest of the organization. If anything, you could even say that it put unnecessary and unrealistic demands on him to have what everyone needed, when they needed it.
Since switching over to the Media Collective, they now have the ability to share assets and grant access to different departments. Everyone now is empowered to search and download on their own without having to wait for Stewart to get back from lunch. Britta states that it’s a lot easier for someone to get an idea of what they’re looking for by actually looking at the assets themselves, rather than having to describe it to Stewart, and expect him to find the perfect asset.
Other than just organizing and searching for assets, Stewart talks about how some of the great features of Media Collective help them improve their workflow, and increase the amount of work they’re able to do. The Collections feature has eliminated them having to put together contact sheets with thumbnails. They can quickly put together a collection of assets and share it with a department that they did a photoshoot for.
Admittedly, being able to get the Media Collective set up and successfully launched was a concern for Stewart, but in hindsight, he shares that it was much easier than he thought. Working with the Widen team, information was seamlessly transferred over from his old folder structure. Users throughout the college felt happy and empowered to have access.
Stewart is one cool, creative cat. The key word there is “creative.” He’s a creative and that’s what he wants to be doing,...not chasing around assets and fulfilling image requests. He highly recommends Widen as it has allowed him and his team to stay focused on creating killer creative for Sheridan College.