July 26, 2022 • Sam Grabel
A recent survey of archivists, archive users and budget and tech decision-makers revealed some troubling statistics about the state of archives management and software systems.
Most archives users were frustrated by the shortcomings of existing software when it comes to accessibility and searchability. Half of all archives managers believed that data protection and security are the biggest challenges in establishing or maintaining an effective archives program. And budget and tech decision-makers were concerned about the difficulty of bridging the access gap between physical and born-digital assets.
The way archives are stored, managed and used needed to evolve. So we made it happen.
We recently introduced History Factory AMS. It’s a first-of-its-kind archival management system that combines access to and use of your digital and analog assets in one place.
But that’s not all it can do. In fact, it solves some of the biggest challenges for archives users today.
If that sounds like a big deal, it is. Here’s why.
Until now, if you wanted to search your company’s physical and digital assets at the same time, you simply couldn’t. Your digital and physical assets were separate, requiring you to search at least two different, non-integrated systems. Talk about tedious.
Perhaps you’ve searched your digital archives management system (DAM) for vintage advertising to inspire a nostalgia-based campaign, only to discover that the asset you had in mind wasn’t digitized, extending your search process as you requested the assistance of an archivist—if you’re lucky enough to have one on staff or for hire.
Or maybe you’ve searched for something specific—such as an original product prototype—in your physical archives, never knowing that a digitized 3D version also existed and never thinking to look.
All this time, you’ve only been getting half the story.
Without a system that pulls together all possible assets during your search, you’ve only been seeing part of what your company’s archives have to offer.
Now, you can go into your AMS, type in what you’re searching for, and all the relevant results from your entire archives will appear.
You will see:
Not only can you see what’s possible, but you can also get more information and context about each asset. With the help of metadata input by professional archivists, you get the complete story, making your archives that much more effective.
Your archives might house some pretty sensitive information—such as sensitive internal documents, financial data or high-level memos that should require restricted access.
In the past, securing these assets was more difficult—and more worrisome as a result. What if a confidential document landed in the wrong hands? With AMS, archivists or other information administrators can easily install and manage restrictions on such material.
But it’s not just the sensitive stuff that you can cordon off. You can also restrict assets to certain teams—for example, you can make some materials available to legal but not to marketing.
What’s more, AMS also protects assets’ data. Professional archivists input metadata that allows assets to be found in the first place. Without a standardized taxonomy, your assets are as difficult to find as a business card in an overstuffed filing cabinet.
With the protections AMS provides, no one else can mess with that data, ensuring its integrity. After all, the effectiveness of your archives is only as good as the data behind it.
Besides internal security and data protection, it’s also important to protect your archives against external threats such as data breaches. We built History Factory AMS with industry-standard security, including end-to-end encryption and globally replicated storage using AWS to keep your assets safe.
As we mentioned earlier, digitization is at the front of every executive’s mind. But the truth is, it’s rarely advisable—and not always possible—to digitize all your assets. That’s why it’s necessary to maintain a combination of a digital and physical archives.
The process of digitizing an asset is more involved than just scanning and uploading an item. Some 3D artifacts such as products or memorabilia, for example, can’t be scanned. They have to be photographed—from multiple angles. As a result, when you factor in the additional labor costs of preparing materials for digitization, things start adding up—fast.
To achieve a sustainable archives solution, you need to prioritize the digitization of some assets over others.
With AMS, you can access your digital assets just as easily as your physical pieces. That means you can prioritize the digitization of your most important items without compromising when it comes to storing and having access to your physical materials as well.
Understanding where you’ve been is vital to charting a path to where you’re going. But if you can’t see the full picture, then what?
With History Factory AMS, you don’t have to linger on hypotheticals anymore. Just ask us how to get started—we’ll take it from there.
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