The White House Historical Association
29. January 2024
How Digital Asset Management has helped to increase revenue generation and reduce time-consuming manual work with images
— Fotoware has expanded our potential, broadened our user base, and allowed for the rapid growth of our collection.
The White House Historical Association was founded in 1961 by First lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and is a non-profit organization striving to protect, preserve and provide public access to the rich history of America’s Executive Mansion. They do educational outreach as well and work with other non-profits and other organizations to promote understanding and the history of the White House.
In 2016 the WHHA launched their digital library, which contains about 20,000 publicly available assets, over 300,000 internally available assets, and about 4,000 registered users who utilize over 60 descriptive metadata fields. The digital library is supported by the Fotoware Digital Asset Management solution and is in part open to the public.
— The old system was very static and it wasn’t being updated with new material, so there wasn’t any incentive for people to come back more than once.
Multiple Storage Systems
The old system only enabled WHHA staff to upload photos to the public archive. It became difficult to organize the library, and pictures that were not for public-use needed to be stored somewhere else. This made the public archive very static, and difficult to control.
This was a source of great inefficiency in the publishing workflow, and was particularly difficult with staff based all across the world in different time zones, working around the relentlessly fast-paced, 24/7 news cycle.
Manual Reviews and Approvals
Keeping the quality consistent across the entire system required a multi-step review process. Previously, this had been done through excel sheets and email correspondence, which was both time-consuming and difficult to keep track of. There was always a risk of losing important notes, or having a review process stopped due to a human error, since images and notes needed to be sent and retrieved from different platforms.
— Registered users of the Digital Library can now log in and save photos to an album, download images individually and pin materials to save them for viewing later.
A Central Storage Solution
After implementing Fotoware, the White House Historical Association has been able to have multiple archives. Whereas some archives are for internal use, one is also open to the public, and the configuration of the site makes it possible to scroll through photos by using both taxonomies or a search function. This keeps the public archive alive and easy to navigate within. While the internal archives make it easier to work with files not approved for public use.
Automated Approval Workflows
The review process is optimized by using a customized workflow. On the front end, this workflow consists of a couple of ‘set review’ actions, which sends the asset(s) to and from the Historian and Librarian team for approval. Lastly, the asset(s) will be sent to the Digital Library team for final approval. In this way, the entire review process is done within the DAM, tracking every step of the way.
— If someone wanted an image from us we had to do everything via email and then send them the file transfer through something like Dropbox, which was very labor-intensive and cumbersome for employees. Now, it means that something which previously took several days has been cut down to just a few hours.
Shopping Cart Integration
By enabling a shopping cart integration within the Fotoware interface, the White House Historical Association can now easily sell images to members of the public. Now, users can easily request size and format for the image and order it in high resolution.
An API that was built in 2019 links the White House Historical Association’s website to its digital library. In this way, everyone gets access to the public archives when clicking on a photo. The API also helps the marketing and communication departments to work more efficiently with their photos, as their DAM is now integrated with their CMS, which enables employees to simply select the pictures they want to use, removing the need for time-consuming uploading and downloading between platforms.