The Grange was founded - in part - on the idea of embracing technology and technological advancement for the betterment and ease of farmers and Grangers everywhere. With 150 years of archived materials to manage, and new Grange documents being created every day, the need for a robust organizational system has never been greater. In order to address this issue, the State Grange of Minnesota (SGMN) will be introducing a new cloud-based digital asset management system (or DAM), called the SGMN Digital Archives. This technology will allow our fellow Grange members to easily locate, share, and utilize our many digital assets.
In addition to housing our collection of historical objects, this archive will also serve as a central location to store important contemporary documents and other media files such as forms and photos. Our new archive's advanced search and metadata capabilities will allow for easy access to all manner of different files, with instant previews available for images, videos, and document formats, including page-by-page browsing of PDFs and automatically generated web-ready video previews. Precision access control and various levels of permissions mean that the digital archive will be both customizable and secure for each specific user and user group. Users will have the ability to create their own custom dashboard, with various tiles linked to your most frequent used searches, resources, and collections. Pre-built dashboard tiles can be created and displayed automatically to specific groups from the archive administrators. Should other State Granges also wish to utilize this asset management technology, separate user groups can be set-up for each of them, with every group able to have their own distinct branding and settings.
Better organization and categorization of Grange assets will help greatly increase our overall efficiency, with auto-tagging technology such as Google Vision image recognition, Open CV facial recognition, and optical character recognition (OCR). These features will allow for one to easily access the Grange's catalogue of previous work, reminding each of us what has gone before and what resources are now available to you. The advanced search functionality and centralized assets of the archive will also allow individuals to browse for previous work that can be reused or edited, saving time and money over producing new imagery, video, and documentation from scratch.
These tools are especially important in regards to the State Grange of Minnesota's important and growing marketing efforts, as they will allow us to ensure cohesive branding and messaging across the organization. Marketing materials can be made easily available on the archive by providing users access to standardized templates for items such as headers, newsletters and other administrative documents. Individual access can then also be controlled over any previously produced work, ensuring that only the latest versions of assets are being used. In this way, each member of the Grange can contribute to our larger marketing efforts with up to date, and professionally branded materials, without having to create all that content themselves.
Better working processes such as these will enable more effective collaboration within the Grange, and with external partners across the nation. By managing our various assets digitally, there will no longer be any need to spend time emailing files back and forth, or searching for items from the depths of the archives.
Format conversion, editing, and the resizing of asset can all be done quickly from within the archive. Simply upload one high-resolution file, and the system will automatically generate a variety of different sizes and formats. This allows each of us to select the custom format and quality appropriate for the needs of our specific project, whether that's print, online, or for use on social media. Each user has access to exactly the type of assets we need, as we need them, and miscommunication is minimized as we all work from the same assets, using the same system - For the favor of Kelley!
- John Zimmerman holds degrees in Art History and Digital Media from the Uniersity of Minnesota and is an SGMN Curatorial Intern and Kelley Fellow. He is a member of the Oliver Hudson Kelley Grange and lives in St. Paul.