Texas Digital Library Conference System, 2017 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries

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The DAME (Digital Asset Management Ecosystem): An Emerging Approach for Modular, Extensible Library Software
Jeremy Huff, James Creel, Micah Cooper, Jason Savell, William Welling, Simon Frazier, Ryan Laddusaw

Last modified: 2017-03-22


In 2016, the Digital Asset Management Assessment Task Force released its initial report over various approaches to asset management.  The task force was charged with an assessment of the relative fitness of digital asset management systems (DAMS) for the purpose of selecting a system that most fits the needs of our institution. During this process there was much discussion and investigation into what specific needs our institution has, and what a DAMS which effectively addressed those needs might look like. Many of the monolithic software solutions to digital asset management failed to comprehensively and sufficiently address our institution’s requirements. Of the many individual systems that were assessed, each one exceled in some areas but fell short in others, and some of the desiderata were not provided by any DAMS considered.  The initial findings of this investigation were that the best system to address our needs is not merely a Digital Asset Management System, but a Digital Asset Management Ecosystem (DAME).


A DAME would provide a comprehensive array of institution-specialized asset management capabilities through a set of disparate but connected application and service solutions on a network.  This architecture is inspired by the trend toward microservices in software development and would allow for the specific components which most effectively address any given need to be employed selectively or in concert.  A distributed architecture appeals to the software design principle of separation of concerns, whereby specific functions can be re-implemented without breaking other parts of the system.


Though the specifics of any given DAME would be unique to the institution it serves, there are some key functional layers associated with the most common use cases.  Each layer could consist of one or more services or applications in the network.  A Management Layer, for the creation, updating, reading and deletion of digital asset records and their associated metadata; A Persistence Layer for application level retrieval of those records; A File Service Layer for the storage and rapid delivery of the assets themselves; A Preservation Layer for the long term preservation of these assets; A Presentation Layer to provide an engaging and pleasant user experience browsing and discovering assets; and finally an Authentication and Authorization Layer for brokering the request from the user interface to the various web service components.  In a DAME these many components work together in concert to provide users with different roles the powerful digital asset management features they desire. Though no monolithic system may ever fully be able to address the complex and diverse feature set needed for digital libraries, an ecosystem may be the answer.  In this presentation, we will explore the software implementations at Texas A&M Libraries that are helping us realize such a system and present our plans for next steps.


Digital Asset Management, DAMS, DAME, microservices architecture