When I first blogged on open source digital asset management three years ago, it was a fairly new concept. The digital asset management product landscape was dominated by a few Enterprise-class vendors and a number of middle-tier workgroup solutions. Most case studies on open source digital asset management were for large non-profit university or library collections. Fast-forward to the present and we are starting to see case studies of open source digital asset management implementations for commercial organizations. There is also a growing community around open source digital asset management and a number of product options (14 at last count) in various stages of maturity. As more companies and organizations start to seriously consider open source as an option for digital asset management, it is important to outline a few key factors that should be considered when researching or choosing a system. 1.Core Digital Asset Management Features Prior to selecting or implementing a digital asset management solution, you should first determine what are the critical features that a system must support to meet the needs of your organization or company. Do you need the capability to manage and convert Camera RAW images? Do you need video transcoding and scene detection capabilities? Do you need self-service capabilities or extensive access control capabilities? Defining these critical needs prior to doing any research or viewing any demos will help to keep your selection process focused.
2.Availability of an Online Demo Open source vendors are not represented in Real Story Group’s Digital Asset Evaluation report, so it can be difficult to track down information on specific features. However, unlike proprietary ‘closed-source’ digital asset management products, which can be a hassle to get a try-before-you-buy license for, open source digital asset management systems are there for the testing. Therefore, it is important that you take advantage of that open-ness and test the products that are finalists in your comparative feature analysis. While this might be somewhat time-consuming, most companies that have been burned by spending a small fortune on a closed-source system would attest that product testing, ideally against a demo script that is baselined against your functional requirements, is a smart use of your time. To make testing easier for you, most open source digital asset management solutions have some form of Online Demo available either as an anonymous guest or as a registered user. Once you get your finalist list down to one or two choices, it still makes sense to install the product in your local environment for deeper testing of your use cases and particular integration needs.
3.Extensibility One open source perk is that with a smaller investment on licensing fees, a larger investment can be made on integrating the digital asset management solution with other content technology systems. In researching solutions, check to see if an open API is available. Does the system support RSS or Rest Services? Has the vendor or others in the community already integrated the system with other solutions?