CONTENTdm is a commercially available digital asset management system (DAM) primarily used by libraries and archives. CONTENTdm software supports the upload, description, management and access of digital collections.
CONTENTdm was originally conceived by CISO, the Center for Information Systems Optimization, at the University of Washington. The University of Washington's digital collections were expanding, and there was an increasing demand for online access to those collections. The University of Washington started to use CISO lab software to display their collections on the internet in 1999.
In 2001, DiMeMa (Digital Media Management, Inc.) was formed to support the increasing user community and to accelerate product development. After extensive field testing, the software was made available outside of the University of Washington. It was named CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software. The name is not an acronym, CONTENT is capitalized to distinguish the software from items in a digital collection. The letters dm stand for digital management. Since CONTENTdm grew collaboratively based on feedback from users, the goal was to design CONTENTdm to be easy to use and powerful.
In 2006 OCLC acquired DiMeMa.
CONTENTdm has evolved into a digital collection management solution that offers scalable tools for archiving collections of any size. More than 2,000 libraries, archives, museums and other cultural heritage organizations worldwide use CONTENTdm software.
When CONTENTdm was created, there were five goals:
- Search efficiency: the digital assets had to be easily searched (by the textual metadata entered during the file upload process).
- Scalability: projects had to be able to grow in size seamlessly.
- Features: product development had to be on-going and able to keep up with digital demands. Some examples of these developments are the ability to upload JPEG 2000 files and use optical character recognition (OCR) on text documents to allow for full text searching.
- Web compatibility.
- Interoperability: especially within formats and across systems and platforms.
CONTENTdm is standards-based and supports a number of industry standards including Unicode, Z39.50, Qualified Dublin Core, VRA, XML, JPEG2000 and OAI-PMH. The metadata is based on Dublin Core, an extensible metadata standard created by OCLC in 1995.
Discovery through WorldCat
In order to enhance discovery on the Web, CONTENTdm users may upload their collection metadata to WorldCat using the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway. The Gateway now makes it possible for any OAI-compliant repository, including CONTENTdm, to contribute metadata to WorldCat. Once the metadata is in WorldCat, digital collections are more discoverable by Web searchers through WorldCat.org and WorldCat Local, as well as Google, Yahoo! and other popular Web sites.
It is Unicode and Z39.50 compatible. CONTENTdm can handle documents, PDFs, finding aids (including Encoded Archival Description, or EAD), images, videos, and audio files. It can also handle content so that multipage documents, scores, or books can be uploaded and organized into chapters, books or by page number. CONTENTdm is also able to display six-sided, multidimensional objects. It is mostly used by universities, libraries, archives, museums, government agencies and historical societies. Digital items can be added to a CONTENTdm digital collection (1) using the CONTENTdm Project Client, which can be distributed among staff and collaborating partners, (2) through the OCLC Connexion client using Connexion digital import, or (3) through a Web browser using a Web form. The digital collections reside on a CONTENTdm Server, either installed locally or on an OCLC-hosted server.
CONTENTdm enables collection management through a Web interface, allowing users to edit live collections, perform global search and replace operations, create a new collection and customize collection queries. There also are a variety of choices to protect copyrighted or other restricted materials with security options.
Additional collection management functions are available such as creating and editing metadata templates, administering the use of controlled vocabularies, importing metadata (tab-delimited text), exporting metadata in XML, generating OCR during the import export using the OCR Extension, and viewing statistical reports.