Inventory of Current Technologies & Needs Assessment Edit

In terms of Digital Asset Management technology, PHSU does not currently have a dedicated DAM system. The technology that is used include:

  • Alma by Exlibris for the library ILS. This is a new system and consortium wide, so an ideal DAM will allow for discovery of the HIstory of Medicine collections
  • Digital Commons by Bepress for an institutional repository. This is appropriate for articles and other PHSU publications, but not appropriate for research or archival collections.
  • ArchivistToolkit for archival data. This system is soon to be not supported and has limitations including interoperabilty with the ILS.

The Library has a vested interest in being able to archive and manage the digital assets. At this time, we are unable to be sufficiently cataloged and showcased our digital assets in our archival collection and assist our patrons through the secure storage of medical images and big data files . The DAM we choose to implement must meet our fundamental requirements particularly in those two areas.

Investigate Options & Opportunities Edit

PHSU library librarians and staff came together after performing the initial needs assessment and inventory. From this meeting, a small team made up of librarians and library paraprofessionals from each of the major departments of the library: access services, cataloging/metadata, electronic resources, and reference was created. With at least one representative from each of the major parts of the library, there was greater input and perspective available from which to assess, evaluate, and choose a DAM.

Priorities Edit

When evaluating vendors, the team is particularly prioritizing:

  • interoperability in terms of integration with preexisting systems (ILS/IR/etc.) and a measure of future-proofing if possible
  • extensive coverage so that many different types of data and materials might be integrated, particularly the archival and medical data
  • security the nature of the data requires that we make security of our data, particularly as it relates to human test subject a high priority
  • authority controls we have the personnel and experience to provide deep metadata and cataloging work to our digital assets
  • user-end accessibility the product we choose should have optimal searching and layout options for our end-users as fundamentally necessary characteristics.

Vendors Edit

Click here to display the research table:


Benefits Edit

  • Omero is a top notch DAM for medical research and is used by similar institutions to PHSU including
  • It supports over 140 image file formats, including all major microscope format and tissue scanner
  • Easy to transfer interface that includes 3D imaging and high quality tools to analyze research
  • Exports in original file with metadata or presentation format

Challenges Edit

  • Omero is not designed for archival materials
  • Using Omero would require a solution with two DAM systems and a longer launch timeline

Records Manager Edit

Benefits Edit

  • Content Manager, previously TRIM, is a very robust DAM with a high degree of scalability.
  • Uses a "in place" records storage framework to reduce the need for migration
  • Secure and streamlined process that is appropriate for archival records and limited retention institutional records

Challenges Edit

  • Designed for Windows operating system. It has a web application for most other operating systems including mobile, but main system is limited to Windows.
  • Feedback on web forums point to some disruption to the end user experience after software upgrades.

Dspace Edit

Benefits Edit

  • Dspace has several extensions to improve Web 2.0 capabilities; this is particularly important given that one of our priorities is the user-end experience and informal scholarly communication in this way
  • Unlike several of the other open source DAM options we examined, Dspace has field-specific and Boolean search options available as well as other facet options and limiters for the user search options

Challenges Edit

  • According to a survey performed, Dspace lacks some of the flexibility in terms of metadata records and does not support MARC records, particularly important for our priority of authority control
  • Other open source options had a better capabilities for converting files, particularly as it pertains to converting PDF

Islandora Edit

Benefits Edit

  • Islandora's support system is quite vast and nuanced, the benefits of free software, and creativity and troubleshooting by the developers are also one of the characteristics we appreciate for our consortium
  • Has more Web 2.0 capabilities than the several of open source options to improve user-end contributions and increase the level of interaction

Challenges Edit

  • A large support base with a large variety of projects and stakeholders with differing experiences; may not have the specific support (training,IT, etc.) the institution needs. The case-studies listed on the website, do not seem to have a similar enough example.
  • It does not appear that the level of security would be available for the needs of our institution in terms of human test subjects and other extremely sensitive medical research information.

Cumulus Edit

Benefits Edit

  • A vendor of this size offers extensive implementation support, training, and IT support for the products they sell.
  • Given that the vendor has supported many different types of companies, non-profit, and government.

Challenges Edit

  • Frankly, the price is a major hindrance to integrating this system more thoroughly. When evaluating the vendor homepage there consumers had made mentions about IT support and customer support being below their expectations or slow in coming.
  • Designed with the corporate user in mind. Very few academic institutions use this type of DAM.

Collective Access Edit

Benefits Edit

  • Provides a high quality end-user experience for archival materials particularly art and cultural artifacts
  • Diverse types of institutions use Collective Access: Religious organizations Research institutions and Film Archives.

Challenges Edit

  • Difficult to install and the open source software can be difficult to make modifications
  • User community does not seem as active as some open source options


Benefits Edit

  • A high level of support from OCLC.
  • Many academic institutions and universities use Contentdm. Online community has similar needs to ours and is active.


  • Expensive monthly fees with likely yearly increases
  • Limitations on operating systems and medical research file type storage

Invenio Edit

Benefits Edit

  • Invenio can act as an OPAC.
  • Handles a lot of data and was developed by CERN to handle physics data.
  • Used by very large organizations with large files

Challenges Edit

  • You have to download extra software to get all the features.
  • This DAM can do many things, but does not have exceptional features for archives or medical research specifically

Selected DAM for PHSU Technology Plan Edit

Based upon the information learned from a careful analysis of the available DAM systems, PHSU will implement a technology plan that incorporates two Digital Asset Management systems to meet the needs of our users.

  • OMERO: This open source DAM is the absolute best option for handling medical research for a medical and research institution. It was the only option that included all of the microscope files, tissue imaging, and analyzing features that are needing in the coming years as the university participates in long-term research projects and increase the level of library support for the research mission of PHSU.
  • HP Records Manager: There are a variety of quality options for meeting the needs of the university archives. Content Manager is an expensive option, but the investment will pay off based on the degree of interoperability with our ILS and the scalability the it provides. Content Manager has the additional benefit of security and workflows that are needed to allow for use with limited retention digital assets in addition to permanent assets.

The search for a DAM that could satisfy the needs of our research and archival for years to come ended with the realization that while we could select a system like Islandora and attempt to design a custom version that would suit our needs, it would not satisfy the needs of the institution in the long term. By selecting two DAM approach PHSU can satisfy all of the objectives of our diverse library community.