Alex Cooper, Lighting Designer, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution Isabel Meyer DAMS Branch Manager, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Smithsonian Institution
Born digital Time Based Media Art (TBMA) works are an emerging and rapidly growing art form which pose significant technology challenges to art museums and other collecting institutions across the globe. Within the Smithsonian Institution (SI), the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) are working together to address the unique challenges inherent in preserving works of this kind. Born-digital works are generated in real time using digital information stored in the form of binary data. As such, they are vulnerable to the same integrity (data corruption) and obsolescence concerns of any digital file format or software. The preservation of born-digital works requires both IT-based infrastructure to safely store and organize this data, as well as an organizational method to document, describe, and categorize information related to the artist’s intent and the work’s provenance.
To meet these needs OCIO has developed the Digital Asset Management System (DAMS), and the NPG has created the TBMA Archival Package. The DAMS is an enterprise-level Digital Asset Management System used to store, manage, preserve, and share the Smithsonian’s rapidly growing collection of digital assets and related information.
An enterprise digital asset management system is essential to meeting SI’s objectives for:
• Preservation and stewardship of objects and specimens. • Organizing, classifying, and locating digital assets. • Delivery of digital assets in multiple formats. • Public outreach and education and electronic commerce. • Participation in external cultural heritage, library, and science initiatives.
The Time Based Media Archival Package is a method used to organize TBMA assets including the digital essence of the work, as well as related curatorial, exhibition, and collections management related documents. This presentation will include discussions of the DAMS system architecture (hardware, database, application software, storage, staffing resources, and operational procedures) as well as functional aspects of the DAMS (user roles, asset security policies, ingest methods, metadata models, and transcoding) as well as the structure of the TBMA Archival Package, and its various components.