Magazine article Online Searcher

The Elegance of 'Life': Vendors Often Launch Feature-Laden Products That Are Either Too Costly for Many to Purchase, Require More Tech-Savvy Know-How Than Current Staff Possess, or Are Designed More for Large, Multinational, For-Profit Corporations Than Libraries or Other Not-for-Profit Organizations. More to the Point, These Powerful Tools, Useful as They Are, Can Be Intimidating

Magazine article Online Searcher

The Elegance of 'Life': Vendors Often Launch Feature-Laden Products That Are Either Too Costly for Many to Purchase, Require More Tech-Savvy Know-How Than Current Staff Possess, or Are Designed More for Large, Multinational, For-Profit Corporations Than Libraries or Other Not-for-Profit Organizations. More to the Point, These Powerful Tools, Useful as They Are, Can Be Intimidating

Article excerpt

There are always lighter versions that can help libraries achieve their goals, if only we knew where to look for them. These tools, frequently newly launched, are thus unburdened by legacy technology. Think how websites have evolved through the years: What looked modern just a couple of years ago now appears dated. The same is true for tech tools. "Lite" may be just what you need. In fact, "lite" may be a misnomer--how about "smaller footprint"?

I've selected a few tools to profile in this article that offer lite versions for digital asset management (DAM), social media marketing, open data APIs, content marketing, and digital advertising. You might ask how I hear about these tools. Sometimes, it's a client who asks what I know about the tool or vendor; sometimes, I see a name mentioned in an article; and other times, it's an award winner, such as with the SIIA CODiEs (siia.net/codie). When I want to know more about these tools, their origins, founders, and investors, I have some favorite websites I explore. All of the following allow me to search for the name of a product or company or browse by software category:

* Crunchbase (crunchbase.com)

* Capterra (capterra.com)

* Software Advice (softwareadvice.com)

* G2 Crowd (g2crowd.com)

* Owler (owler.com)

I often use Crunchbase's company profiles as a starting point, but you can also search by people, investors, funding rounds, acquisitions, schools, and events. Capterra, Software Advice, and G2 Crowd display software reviews by users. Owler is useful when the company's product is in the earlier stage of development and seeking investment. It's crowdsourced, so some of the datapoints, such as number of employees, should be viewed with skepticism. Still, it's useful as a starting point for my investigation.

With Owler, I can build a set of companies to track. When viewing an individual company profile, a list of competitors appears on the right-hand side of the screen. Recognizing the crowdsourced nature of the product, it's not surprising that some of those competitors may be out-of-scope for your purposes, but it's no worse than clicking on the SIC code in other databases to view "competitors." D&B Hoovers (hoovers.com) does moderately better in this respect, but Owler is free and much more 21st century in look and feel. Hoovers feels frozen in a bygone era.

Lite versions I've recently discovered include the Widen Collective, zAPIness, DrumUp, comScore Viewability, and Real Magnet.

WIDEN COLLECTIVE

Winner of the 2017 SIIA CODiE award for Best Digital Asset Management Solution, the Widen Collective cloud-based platform (widen.com) supports content across its lifecycle--from ideation, planning, and creation/capture through to tracking/analysis, preservation, and archiving. Five applications--workflow, assets, portals, templates, and insights--support four functions essential to DAM: creation, management, distribution, and analysis. A few years ago, the final function highlighted by Widen was "preservation," but enhancements made recently focus on providing greater insight into the use of digital assets by the organization and others.

Controlling disparate content types--photos, videos, logos, graphic art, audio files, PDFs--is particularly difficult when the content is dispersed throughout your organization. It could be located on shared drives, external hard drives, CDs, Dropbox, and who know what else? A single repository for digital assets makes intelligent storing, organizing, managing, searching, sharing, and tracking usage possible and scalable. Widen addresses this problem, often overlooked by other DAMs, through metadata and user governance of images. In early November 2017, Widen announced the integration of its DAM platform with four image recognition services that use artificial intelligence to autotag metadata: Amazon Rekognition, Clarifai, Cloud Sight, and Imagga. …

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