Laurel A Calsoni

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Library of Congress to Unveil National Recording Preservation Plan

The library on Wednesday is set to release a plan that contains 32 recommendations to enhance preservation and access to millions of recordings in light of deterioration or outright loss.

By Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times
February 13, 2013


A broad-scale plan to preserve the nation’s cultural heritage captured on sound recordings and to make more than a century’s worth of recorded materials more widely available for educational purposes is being unveiled Wednesday at the Library of Congress in Washington.

James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, was scheduled to introduce the library’s comprehensive National Recording Preservation Plan, the library’s response to Congress’ passing of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000. That legislation chargedthe library with addressing the protection of a vast body of sound recordings that constitute significant cultural and historical documents. The plan contains 32 recommendations, short term and long term, to enhance preservation and access to millions of recordings in light of the deterioration or outright loss of millions more since they were made.

“Our collective energy in creating and consuming sound recordings has not been matched by an equal level of interest in preserving them for posterity,” Billington said in a statement. “Radio broadcasts, music, interviews, historic speeches, field recordings, comedy records, author readings and other recordings have already been forever lost to the American people.”

Among examples of what has been lost: a wire recording made in the cockpit of the Enola Gay aircraft that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan near the end of World War II; recordings made by American composer and pianist George Gershwin; the entire recorded news and entertainment archive of one of radio’s leading networks; important recordingsby performers including Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.

“As a composer who has been both informed and influenced by sound recordings, I feel passionately that they are a heritage too easily lost, and one which requires all due diligence to preserve,” composer Stephen Sondheim said in a statement. “It is important to remember that not only do recordings capture individual performances and arrangements but also a great deal of music which was never written down. Once the recordings are lost, the work itself disappears forever.”

Additionally, the library’s statement noted that “experts estimate that more than half of the titles recorded on cylinder records — the dominant format used by the U.S. recording industry during its first 23 years — have not survived.”

“Songs and music are one of the greatest expressions of a nation’s culture,” said singer and songwriter Paul Williams, who also is president of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the performance rights organization. “Preserving them through sound recordings, which capture the spirit of a time, is important work. The National Recording Preservation Plan is needed to ensure we have a coordinated plan to preserve our cultural legacy.”

Another massive issue the plan addresses besides physical preservation is opening up access to those materials once they have been preserved.

“Many rights holders have not permitted researchers or the general public to listen to the recordings they legally control outside the limited scope of facilities maintained by legitimate research institutions,” the library’s report states.

Case in point: The Library holds more than 3 million recordings made since the technology to record sounds was developed in the late 19th century, but the vast majority can be accessed only by physically visiting the library’s listening rooms in Washington and Culpeper, Va.

“Despite the development of the Internet,” the library’s report states, “few historical recordings can be made available online legally because of aspects of U.S. copyright law.”

Among the recommendations developed by the National Recording Preservation Board, which consists of musicians, composers, musicologists, librarians, archivists and members of the recording industry, is the application of current federal copyright law to all sound recordings made before Feb. 15, 1972, when the first federal law was enacted to protect sound recordings.

Without a federal umbrella, rights are mired in a web of myriad state and local copyright protections.

“While it might appear to be permanent on the surface, our national recorded heritage is one of the most endangered mediums,” said singer Michael Feinstein, one of the musicians on the National Recording Preservation Board. “Even though people love their music, they assume that because something exists in multiple copies that it is safe from the ravages of time, but we are now keenly aware of the rush to save so much popular music, historical events and singular sound documents, that the mind boggles.”

The Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan can be downloaded in its entirety at, and eventually will also be on the library’s website,

posted by Laurel Calsoni at 10:24 am  

Monday, February 4, 2013

5 Ways Marketing Pros Can Manage Their Digital Assets

From iMediaConnection
Posted By Matthew Gonnering
February 4, 2013


Your brand has a story, and it’s nearly impossible to tell that story without some form of digital media. As your brand, your product and service offerings, and your organization grow, so too will your library of digital assets. Images, audio, video, documents and more are all vital tools to marketers.That means that managing those assets effectively is as important a skill as any other. Here are five ways you can step up your digital asset management game and keep the focus on telling your story, no matter how big you are or what kinds of systems you’re using to store and distribute media.

Centralize your media library

Except in rare situations, there’s just too little benefit and too much risk involved to justify having your digital assets spread out across more than one location. Doing so invites redundancy and confusion, especially if there aren’t strict protocols in place that help people figure out what media is housed where. At the very best, disparate storage adds to the time it takes any one person to retrieve the assets they need for a given task.

What “centralization” requires varies from organization to organization. It usually makes the most sense to put all your stuff in some cloud storage location. Whether that’s a digital asset management solution or some consumer option like Google Drive or DropBox, centralization beats letting your assets live on multiple people’s hard drives or various in-house servers any day of the week.

Get a handle on your repurposing processes

Any given asset might end up destined for a wide variety of media. Whether it’s print, web or video, you’ll need to deliver your digital assets according to certain size, color and other specifications to ensure you’re represented correctly and consistently.

Certain systems will enable you to save one master asset and convert it into various formats as needed. Any digital asset management software worth referring to that way will perform these sorts of conversions, for instance. If you don’t have that kind of system in place, you should at least make sure that anybody in a position to use or distribute your media has a thorough understanding of the file conversion options and why they matter in different channels.

Collaborate around your library

These days, it’s hard to imagine any kind of business communication that doesn’t involve digital assets. Doesn’t it make sense, then, that you should keep much of the creative process close to the place those assets live? Having collaboration tools built into or integrated with your system of managing assets will help ensure that your users don’t have to struggle with new learning curves and that you don’t end up with conflicting versions of your assets floating around out there.

Know the numbers

Like Web traffic, ad conversions and view counts, there are numbers you should be following to better understand your digital assets and the effectiveness of your DAM system.

Having a way of tracking those numbers, therefore, is pretty important. If you know how frequently a product image is downloaded by users or staff, for instance, you might make different decisions when it comes time to shoot an updated set or photograph a new line (or when it comes time to request imagery from your suppliers).

Get people excited

You need to make sure you get your teams to buy into the use of your software, systems and protocols. Otherwise, your efforts will have been for naught.

Depending on what kind of system you’re promoting, the size of your organization and who the users are supposed to be, the methods you use to get stakeholders on board will vary. Sometimes it’s as simple as a clear, concise email. Other times, it’s a full-blown media campaign. Whatever it takes, though, is worth it. It’ll all pay off when you see your marketing operation running like a well oiled machine.

posted by Laurel Calsoni at 8:33 pm  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Five Ways to Better Manage Digital Assets

From EContent
By Eric Fulmer
Jan 29, 2013

Despite over two decades of awareness that digital assets present a unique and critical challenge for organizations of every size and shape, effective Digital Asset Management (DAM) remains more fantasy than reality. Some organizations have invested significant resources with mediocre results, while many others limp along with folders on a server and the never-ending problem of too many versions in too many places.

Rather than throwing in the towel, here are five tips that bring a new perspective to battling the “asset proliferation” monster.

Take a project-centric approach

Digital assets have little intrinsic value except in the context of how they serve as components of a marketing campaign, product launch, catalog, or other project. But traditional DAM takes an “asset-centric approach,” placing the asset at the center of the user experience.

Approaching asset management in a project-centric context keeps the focus on the bigger picture. How do all the components (including digital assets) meet the overall project goal? How can my organization make sure the key elements of each project are easily located, reducing wasted time chasing content? Is there a process to speed up approval to meet deadlines without eleventh hour Hail Mary passes of creative flurry? I think we can agree that those late nights are only fun once.

Project management software tuned to the creative workflow and integrating work-in-progress DAM is the right toolset for the in-house creative team. Creatives need management, but often resent processes with perceived bureaucratic burden. By making the project management component as transparent as possible and focusing on the creative tools that drive it, the team can become more efficient without feeling smothered. The project is the central metaphor of the creative process, and it remains missing in action from most creative production and asset management tools.

Make metadata work by making time to manage it

Metadata is the key to successful asset management, yet it’s the bane of asset managers and the whole creative team. There is an inverse relationship between an individual’s personal knowledge of the metadata associated with an asset and their need to document that metadata. Consequently, metadata management is one of the least developed disciplines in the organization.

Often the largest repository of relevant metadata lies in the brains of the creative team, who may have the least use for it and are legitimately overburdened with more urgent work. Making metadata management a priority means dedicating time for the process within the creative team, which will not be possible with a staff already struggling to meet deadlines due to thin organizational structures and a lack of project management tools.

This initiative is critically dependent on the first tip. Get organized enough to actually have time available for strategic imperatives – like metadata management – that are most susceptible to landing on the back-burner.

Differentiate strategic assets from tactical assets

Not all assets are created equal in terms of long-term value to the organization. A “one size fits all” approach to managing digital assets using an Enterprise DAM is like dumping every piece of printed paper in the company vault with the assumption it will be needed someday. Sorting through hundreds of images of the same can of soup trying to decipher what’s different about each one is not for the faint of heart.

Implementing a simple review and approval process within the marketing team can quickly weed out the large percentage of assets than can continue to live in a “work in progress” DAM, only accessible by the creative team, and push the handful of approved assets to the Enterprise DAM for wider availability. Again, we see the critical importance of a true workflow process within the creative team that will serve as a filter to avoid “asset glut.”

Keep creatives focused on creativity

Turning your most creative resources into file managers and “process cops,” tasked with policing how the rest of the organization uses assets, is not only poor resource allocation, it also reduces the quality of creative output by interrupting creative focus. Keep the creative team focused on what they do best by minimizing their administrative burden. Here are two methods: hire a dedicated ‘trafficker’ for review and approval of projects originating outside of the creative team, or invest in an automated approval workflow that reduces the demand on the creative team by eliminating meetings, endless email exchanges and “version mania.”

Data-driven insight via usage tracking

There is a fine line between brand consistency and snooze-inducing redundancy. A favorite image asset, for example, can easily become overused by the organization, resulting in reduced impact and a stale market perception. It’s critical to keep track of how often an asset is utilized and in what context. No one wants to see the same picture of Snuggies in the Sunday newspaper ad every week.

Many DAMs provide historical data on the number of times each digital asset in the repository was downloaded and by whom. But that information is only a clue to the mystery of where the asset actually ended up (if anywhere). The ultimate fate of the asset remains unknown unless manually tracked by some other process.

This speaks again to the value of a project-centric system. If a user can instantly see that a particular asset is linked to six separate projects, including the last four quarterly catalogs, it’s likely time to freshen the look of this particular element.

Asset proliferation has consistently outstripped the pace of adopting new management tools. But many DAM offerings remain pricey and anchored in legacy architecture. The arrival of new development environments enabling rapid deployment of web-centric, platform independent applications brings a new opportunity to address asset management as an integrated element of creative business processes, not as a static vault set apart from them. Here’s a simple litmus test: If your organization’s digital asset management system doesn’t work on an iPad, it’s time to consider what modern digital asset workflow tools can offer.


posted by Laurel Calsoni at 2:22 pm  

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