By Trent Batson, Mary Grush
Visual imagery is inundating us: Everyone, it seems, has at least a mobile phone with a camera. The photos don’t stay on the phones of course, but flood out on the Internet through e-mail or social media and end up in photo archiving applications like iPhoto or Picassa, or in Web-based photo archives like Flickr. Images are becoming as common as text-based artifacts, yet in academia the expertise and systems to organize visual images into properly managed asset collections have been limited to a few people in a few departments. And that can mean that potentially valuable visual digital assets are at risk.
It’s not merely the location of image collections or who “owns” them that can put the future of these assets in question. Metadata and procedures for maintaining collections can help ensure their ongoing curation and enable sharing both now and far into the future—whereas a lack of an asset management strategy could eventually render them inaccessible.
Individuals and groups on campus need to be able to maintain their own image collections in ways that both protect their digital visual assets and benefit the institution as a whole. If every person or department on campus is using an idiosyncratic approach to maintaining their own image collection, it’s hard to share images and may be unlikely that the assets will be maintained over time. But individuals and groups should be able to manage their own collections in a manner that reflects the institutional asset management strategy.
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