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Digital Asset Management-On the Cheap

(May 2006) posted on Fri May 19, 2006

DAM products to help graphics producers on a budget.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Stephen Beals

A bit more punch

FileMaker Pro ( has long been the database
that Mac users have turned to, and developers have been
eager to use the program as a base to build software for many
different purposes. With the release of 8.0, there is a free addition
called Creative Pro starter Kit, which goes a long way to
helping users create their own DaM software. The kit includes
many preprogrammed functions including writing HTMl, PDF,
and Excel file formats natively. FileMaker Inc. offers several
versions of its FileMaker Pro 8, with the base version priced at
$299 and an advanced version at $499 (there"?s also a server
version for $2499). The caveat here, however, is that even
though 8.0 features new and very useful preprogrammed functions,
no specific DaM software is included; it"?s up to the user to
configure the software appropriately for DaM. FileMaker Pro 8
is available for Mac and Windows.

Stockview from Hindsight ltd. ( was
originally designed to track stock photo images, but it actually
does a lot more than that. like FileMaker Pro 8, for instance, it
can write the catalog page files out in HTMl for posting to the
Web. Because the product was really designed for agencies
and professional photographers, a lot of energy has been put
into labeling and caption capabilities, many of which are unique
to this product. stockview can also do things like generate bar
codes and user-defined serial numbering systems. Price: $395.

ThumbsUp from Graphic Detail ( is
available for a wide range of users and shop types. The image
and multimedia database solution comes in single-user Pro
($495) and Enterprise ($995) versions; the latter version has
a variety of capabilities not found in the Pro version, including
export functions, complex search functions, and auto-attach
capabilities for high-res images. Client-server versions also
are available. To ease the pain of migration to higher levels of
DAM capabilities, the data file is upgradeable at no cost from
single-user to client-server. The company also allows users to
upgrade during the first year from Professional single-user to
Enterprise single-user for $500 (no price penalty).

Web server power

Last, but certainly not least, is a relative newcomer to the DAM
game, SeeFile ( SeeFile"?s $695 base product
is essentially Web server software that is designed to run on
a Mac platform. SeeFile is packaged with a Mac Mini for $995,
and is ready to go at that price (MySQL is included). The price
structure is based on how many personalized sites you want to
generate and how many log-ins you need to be able to handle.

On the high end, the Corporate edition is priced at $3995
and allows 25 unique personalized sites and unlimited logins.
Knowing that many of its customers may not have 24/7
high-speed Internet capability, SeeFile has also teamed up
with MacMiniColo ( to offer colocation
services with redundant protection and high-speed services
starting at $29.95/month.

If the tool fits

Can you get a good DAM system on the cheap? Although none
of the systems mentioned here will match a Media Beacon,
WebNative, or other similarly full-featured system, they may
well give you all the power you need, for a lot less money. And
if the tool fits your shop"?s needs, you may not have to dig too
deeply into your budget for an asset-management solution.

Stephen Beals (, in prepress production
for more than 30 years, is the digital prepress manager
with Finger Lakes Press in Auburn, NY.