DAM, in this context, stands for Digital Asset Management. DAM refers to everything that happens to the pictures (files) from the moment you transfer the pictures to the computer on.
In my opinion DAM never ends. Even if you print your pictures you still have to manage the files stored in the computer or external media.
Have you ever look for a pictures for minutes and minutes, hours and maybe days? If the answer is yes, you may want to keep reading.
To me, DAM is a must. With thousands of pictures in my HD the folder-based filling systems was proving to be ineffective. I was getting particularly frustrated by the amount of pictures I was accumulating compared to the few ones I was actually uploading to Flickr/Facebook – let alone printing.
I looked around and there are many approaches to DAM, but almost all coincide on the main steps: transferring files, rating files, applying tag/captions to files, and storing the files.
However, after reading few different articles on the topic I realized that to get down to a standard operating procedure (SOP) level of detail DAM depends on the programs you use. I confirmed this after reading Paul Burwell’s article in the Outdoor Photography Canada. I use nothing but Open Source software, so Paul’s excellent explanation (based on Adobe Lightroom) was only used as high level reference.
I started to do some research into the Open Source world of Linux compatible programs, and I actually found few ones: digiKam, RAWTherapee, blueMarine, and F-Spot.
I compared all the programs and I decided to stay with digiKam for the time being. I am still learning how to use it and it looks promising. I use digiKam as my main DAM program. I use UFRaw for RAW files handling and the GIMP for PS-like modifications. The combinations of these 3 programs is amazing. And as I always say, the best part: they are all Open Source programs.
In my next post I will go into details as to what my DAM SOP looks like.