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Digital Media Manager: It Makes Life Easy

Hundreds of photographs appear each year in Marketing and Communications’ myriad publications. They were all being stored on CDs, but the CDs were difficult to catalogue, and they were piling up alarmingly.

Last year, the office signed on to a Web-based repository known as Johns Hopkins Digital Media Manager. Now staff are more easily able to manage the flow of images into their publications. The photos in the newspaper you are reading, for instance, are uploaded by outside photographers into DMM folders. The editor accesses the folders, makes selections and e-mails them directly to the paper’s designer. Images can be archived, retrieved and shared on demand within the institution or with outside media.

DMM is a repository not just for digital photos, but also for documents, design files, PowerPoints, spreadsheets, audio, video—any type of digital content that departments might want to preserve, retrieve, use and share.

As files are uploaded, descriptive information—like subject lines and date created—is added. Files are found either by keyword searches or by browsing through a directory. Search results are returned as thumbnail previews.

DMM subscribers come from across Johns Hopkins. Most are offices involved with communications and design. Most use DMM to archive and manage photos. A few, like the neuro-regeneration group in the Institute for Cell Engineering (NeuroICE), are using the system to move toward a paperless office. NeuroICE stores not just documents but also high-quality images of brain cells.

For 20 gigs of space and unlimited users, members currently pay an annual fee of $3,000. “Pricing is subject to annual review,” says Glen Small, director of communications for HopkinsOne who helped launch DMM when he was with Homewood’s News & Information.

Each member gets a top-level file, then decides who the users will be. Access levels are customized so that images, for instance, can be open to anyone to browse, but not edit, delete, download or upload. Access can be as restrictive as the department requires.

The application runs on a secure server in East Baltimore and is managed by Johns Hopkins IT, which built the system into the HELP Desk and handles the financial end. JHU Training and Education developed an online tutorial and conducted classes on how to use DMM.

“All this work on the front end has built a system with flexibility and scalability. For it to flourish, we need more departments to sign up and share the cost,” says Small. “Where will all the stuff that’s locked in hard drives or on floppy disks be 50 years from now? You have all these videos and images to keep track of. With DMM, you have a digital repository that makes your life a lot easier.”

Anne Bennett Swingle

To log in as a guest, go to and click on “AMA Browser.” Username and password are “guest1.” Info: Alicia Campbell, JHU Communications & Public Affairs, 443-287-9900.


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