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The Mariners’ Museum and Park connects people to the world’s waters. They believe that through our shared maritime heritage, we are connected to one another. The Museum’s collection includes approximately 32,000 objects, 110,000 books, 800,000 photographs, and over one million pieces of archival material. The massive number of assets generated each year calls for a solution that helps staff store, organize, search, view, and share content quickly and efficiently.
The Mariners’ Museum and Park is home to one of the world’s most extensive maritime collections, including objects, books, photographs, and archival material. Items from every part of the collection are digitized and made available in a searchable online catalog that is accessible anywhere in the world.
Before they had a digital asset management (DAM) platform, these digital assets were stored on numerous hard drives, CDs, servers, and desktops across the organization. Additionally, individual teams indexed items differently within each source. Marc Marsocci, Director of Digital Services, said that “finding the needed asset was nearly impossible.” It could take days — or even months — to track down a specific file!
Further, items often had to be re-digitized because the existing file simply couldn’t be found. And staff were using low-quality images from the web, because they were able to find them on their own. “This killed me because we have such rich content, but needed a better way of getting it to everyone,” Marc said.
They knew this situation was unsustainable, and after a search for a DAM system they selected and implemented the Widen CollectiveⓇ in 2017.
Create a single, searchable repository
Use metadata to organize the entire collection of digital assets in a central location.
Give Museum staff access to the assets they need quickly and easily.
Enhance global reach
Make collection-related assets available to anyone, anywhere in the world.
A single source of truth
The Collective eliminated the Museum’s siloed storage of digital materials, allowing staff to have a comprehensive understanding of institutional content. Further, consistent and thorough metadata now powers search tools that make asset retrieval a breeze. “We went from a boat with no engine, to a boat with a jet engine,” he said.
Ease of use
The Collective’s intuitive user experience has driven successful adoption across the organization. “People are organically using the system,” Marc said. “They have migrated to it because it’s the easiest way to get the assets they need.” He shared that nearly 100% of Museum staff use their DAM system! “The more access our staff has to our assets the stronger we are as an institution.” Additionally, Marc has trained a team of volunteers to help with metadata entry. “It only requires an hour-long training to get them going,” he said. And their support has been incredibly valuable — he estimates that they contribute about 60 hours of manpower, every week.
Powerful analytic tools
Data captured in the Collective’s Insights app helps Marc’s team make informed business decisions. For example, asset download activity confirms that their content is being used in nearly every country across the world. “Having these analytics helps us when we are looking for grants and we’re looking for donors — we can show the impact of our work,” Marc said. Download activity also helps them understand content needs and trends. By leveraging these data insights, “we are connecting with the world better than ever before,” Marc said, “and we are positioned to innovate.”
“DAM has been really effective in facilitating access to our assets both internally and externally. We are connecting with the world better than we have ever before.”
The Director of Interpretation,
The Mariners’ Museum and Park
Easy, self-serve access to content has combined and streamlined workflows. “DAM is breaking down barriers within the Museum,” Marc said. “It’s given us a central point to manage and share assets with less friction. And this allows us to create richer experiences for our visitors, our community, and researchers — both onsite and remotely.”
Enhanced customer service
The Collective has refined and improved workflows across the Museum. Image requests that previously took days now take minutes. “Patrons are stunned with the speed of response times!” Marc shared. And photography from events is available within 24 hours, to support their web activity — they have 17 websites and a robust social media presence — and donor relations. “Anyone working on content can grab it and push it out to the world,” Marc said. “And our development department can now go through and tag donors in the images to connect donors to events and thank them for their involvement.”
The workflow efficiencies made possible by DAM have extended the value of the Museum’s content through reuse and repurposing. What’s more, staff across teams are now able to spend less time on searching and routine tasks, and more time on work that benefits the organization. For example, the e-commerce and licensing arm of the business is receiving the support it needs to grow. “We see our revenue increasing 20%,” Marc shared, “and we really do say it’s due to streamlining the process and having DAM in place.”