Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

CONTENTdm and Content Pro: A Comparison and Evaluation

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

CONTENTdm and Content Pro: A Comparison and Evaluation

Article excerpt


This paper examines two Digital Asset Management Systems (DAMS) to determine their suitability to provide access to digital photographic surrogates from a library's archival photographic collection. The two DAMS examined are OCLC's CONTENTdm (CDM) and Innovative Interfaces Inc.'s (III) Content Pro (CP). While both have been widely adopted, a literature review reveals that very little has been written about CP compared to CDM. Both use metadata schemes that are interoperable, reusable, and extensible and it is determined that both CDM and CP's DAMS' attributes recommend them. However, further work is needed to select one over the other. This includes consulting with institutions who have adopted each for further information, evaluating costs, and consulting with in-house technical services support.


The purpose of this paper is to examine OCLC's CONTENTdm (CDM) and Innovative Interfaces Inc.'s (III) Content Pro (CP) to determine which would be more suitable for a library's archival collection's digital photograph surrogates. The first issue is to determine which factors contribute to a good digital collection in a library. Next is to examine what general features would be most beneficial in a library's Digital Asset Management System (DAMS). Both CDM and CP are widely adopted in libraries. Their vendors and the products are examined as well as how they are being used.

Literature Review

A literature review was undertaken to determine what has been written about DAMS selection, about the vendors III and OCLC, who is using CDM and CP, and how they are using them.

There are a few good resources on the topic of materials selection criteria. First is NISO's A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections (2007). It thoroughly covers the topic and emphasizes such necessary elements as workability for the user, interoperability, and sustainability. Another source of information is Mauthe and Thomas' (2004) Professional Content Management Systems which has a chapter on content management system (CMS) hardware and software requirements. Krogh's (2006) The Dam Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers also has an excellent chapter on digital asset software and a helpful section on its evaluation.

Further, with respect to evaluating the metadata side of the equation, Zeng and Qin's (2008) Metadata has a section that covers that topic. Also, a summary of the most commonly used metadata schemes can be found in Park and Tosaka's (2010) Metadata Creation and Practices in Digital Repositories and Collections.

Information about the vendors OCLC and III is mostly gleaned from their respective websites. OCLC's documentation about their products is thorough and informs on features, collection building and management, end user experience, and system requirements, as well as who uses the products. On the other hand, III's website is sparse, limited to overview pages of their products. It was necessary to search elsewhere to discover who is using III products as well.

There are some resources that show what organizations are using CDM and CP. On OCLC's website there are direct links to CDM repositories. Also, Saginaw Valley State's Zhanow Library has a page that lists CP and CDM libraries. Further, III has a press release which lists the first six libraries that are going live with CP IRX.

With respect to how CDM and CP is being used, Breeding (2010), who maintains the Library Technology Guides, has a paper discussing trends in integrated library systems, including OCLC and III. There is a discussion about a project of digital surrogates of threedimensional objects at Oklahoma State University. This project uses CDM. Another CDM project, described by Higgins (2012), is one at San Jose State University. This paper is helpful because it describes the metadata scheme, image creation, cataloguing and further steps. …

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