When it comes to DAM, are you a swan?

August 8, 2018 Elizabeth Cousins

When it comes to DAM, are you a swan?


Image Credit: National Portrait Gallery -D12920 ‘Venus a la coquelle; – or the Swan-sea Venus’ by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey


Just like swans, for those working in digital and rights management at the National Portrait Gallery, they don’t just want to appear graceful – they want to BE graceful, having control over their content both above AND below the surface – or in other words, in the back office as well as on the front end! So at the end of the day, the efficacy of their jobs relies upon an accomplished digital asset management (DAM) system to ensure they swim – and don’t sink. From being able to effortlessly search for content, to managing copyright information and metadata, a practical and practised system is essential. When dealing with millions of precious assets, storing the content in an ordered, structured way that’s easy to navigate enables staff to be streamlined and efficient. Capture makes this happen. But what exactly is it about Capture’s DAM that is so crucial to the National Portrait Gallery’s agenda?

1) Managing Media Effectively 

With their old system, the National Portrait Gallery was inundated with heavy work schedules revolved around the tedious uploading of content to later be published to their website. However, with Capture, this whole workflow – from initial upload to final publication- happens almost instantaneously, with the core MEDIA MANAGER module. Now, employees can work more effectively and efficiently, and there are no gaps in content being digitised and published. “The whole route to market is much smoother” – this ensures that the National Portrait Gallery keeps ahead of the game.

2) Expanding the value of the content

The number of transactions that are served through the Gallery’s site have increased considerably. Previously, around 40% of transactions were conducted online, but since its implementation the Capture system has helped push this figure to 75%. Ever since the National Portrait Gallery has experienced this increase in customer self-service, it in turn has freed up time for employees in the office to focus on alternative projects, such as keywording and promoting their merchandise and licensing programme. Investing more energy into these activities will in time lead to increased sales – benefiting the whole organisation.

3) It’s not all about technology…

A Rights and Images Manager from the National Portrait Gallery has confessed that those working at the Gallery aren’t usually tech whizzes. On behalf of his team, he went on to admit “we are not technical people”, and so for those at the National Portrait Gallery, “it’s really useful to have that human aspect” when it comes to a DAM system. Here at Capture, we consider that the human element is as important as the technology in all our projects.

Capture is proud to have collaborated with the National Portrait Gallery, and the Capture Managed Collections team have played a vital role in assisting the National Portrait Gallery throughout their whole DAM journey. Many of the team at Capture themselves have backgrounds in the cultural and heritage sector, which means their expert advice and industry knowledge is available at the Gallery’s fingertips. Just one example of how the Managed Collections team has assisted the National Portrait Gallery is with their keywording – Capture has just finished keywording around 100,000 images from their digitised collection, broadening its accessibility. For the National Portrait Gallery, a DAM isn’t just all about technology – its about that human support and empathy that comes hand in hand with the Capture system, keeping them swimming gracefully in the digital world.


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