October 7, 2019 • History Factory
In this month’s excerpt of Start with the Future and Work Back: A Heritage Management Manifesto, we take a look at how the use of technology in heritage management can streamline processes and help make archival assets more accessible.
“As websites began to utilize richer imagery and navigation options—differentiating their front-end user experience from their mundane back-end coding—I decided it was time for an update.
Intent on staying ahead of the technological curve, we had to make sure our new archival software did more than look good. It had to offer search capabilities that could accurately catalog and scan a growing array of digital formats (PDFs, JPEGs, AVIs and MP3s) that were coming onto the scene.
Fortunately, The Second City comedy troupe approached us in 2005, looking for help with a massive archiving project, laying the foundation for our next archival software package.
The Second City was an interesting client because its archives were being filled with the same kind of content year after year. Since the troupe’s inception in 1959, it had banked scripts, tapes of live performances, performer bios, posters and headshots.
By the time we got there, the troupe had expanded north to Toronto and west to Hollywood and possessed the most impressive alumni list this side of Saturday Night Live.
If a request came in for video of Gilda Radner from 1974 or a headshot of Stephen Colbert from 1991, The Second City was likely to have it, but it struggled to find it fast enough. The troupe also lacked a system for quickly archiving the headshots, scripts and shows of the performers who were currently working for The Second City, any one of whom could turn out to be the next Tina Fey or Bill Murray.
Our solution was to build The Second City an archival database that preserved and shared its content in real time. In some ways, the system closely mirrored the real-time archiving system that we’d built for Vic Millar at Saatchi Consulting two decades earlier. But this time, the technology was sufficiently powerful for the concept to work.
On a day-to-day basis, managers from all three locations could drag their revised scripts, videos, updated headshots and directors’ notes into our database, click a button, and centralize the materials in a single shared archival hub. Our archival database not only allowed each satellite location to see and experience what the others were doing, it also allowed The Second City to harness a potential new revenue stream by licensing original proprietary assets.
Our work with The Second City led to the creation of our next-generation archival database, which we called LuminARC®.
The system worked beautifully from day one. It’s our primary archival processing tool, a cloud-based system that can be customized to meet the needs of any client. It manages every format and material type available, from fading photographs and YouTube videos to old sound recordings and Twitter feeds. It also allows our clients to determine exactly who has access to their archives at any given moment in time, whether it’s the entire company or a single user.”
To read more of CEO Bruce Weindruch’s book, click here.
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