Client: Scottish Natural Heritage

Project: Archive & Access


Connecting people and nature across 40 locations in Scotland.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is the public body responsible for Scotland’s national heritage. It promotes, cares for and improves Scotland’s natural, genetic and scenic diversity, and has an important role in promoting public awareness of nature and encouraging people to enjoy nature responsibly. SNH also works across government and has joint
working agreements and informal partnerships with a wide range of organisations.

The diverse nature of its work includes a goal to inspire people to manage Scottish natural resources sustainably and become enthused about nature.
To support this goal SNH has an enormous catalogue of image, video and audio assets, which are used by more than 700 members of staff spread across 40 locations.

However, these assets were distributed across multiple systems, including two bespoke media platforms, as well as social media platforms such as Flickr. In addition to the problem of duplicating assets, this arrangement made it difficult for staff to discover the assets they needed, which ultimately prevented them from doing their jobs effectively.

SNH needed a solution that delivered best practise digital asset management, unifying their data and media management needs into a single platform that could be accessed quickly and easily by staff in all locations.

The Opportunity

Improved search was a key requirement for SNH. Previously, assets were stored across multiple systems and lacked the detailed level of metadata to accurately catalogue and discover files. In some cases, the relevant content was contained within lengthy video files, which meant manually searching through the video timeline to find the correct segment to clip. Clipping was then done manually, or the entire file was sent. This all led to increased workloads, delay and reduced accuracy in finding the right content for the right situation.

Another problem with SNH’s existing system was its lack of intuitiveness. With so many staff members spread across different locations, each with a different level of understanding of the system, this stifled productivity across the organisation. The bespoke and inflexible nature of the existing platform also made collaboration with other internal departments and external organisations more difficult.

Scottish National Heritage - Highland Ox

The Solution

The Imagen platform solved these key issues by providing a comprehensive search capability of all available assets inside a single platform, with detailed metadata to aid discovery. Crucially, this included the ability to add time-based metadata to mark-up the most important and interesting points in longer videos. Long videos could also be clipped easily within the platform, so that only the pertinent parts were shared, further improving efficiency.

Importantly, staff found the platform very easy-to-use with no need for lengthy training sessions. This allowed the organisation to instantly become more productive and also more engaged with its work, since the process
of finding and delivering assets became exciting and no
longer a chore.

“With the Imagen platform we have now implemented best practice for digital asset management across the entire organisation,” said Stephen Gerrard, Information Management Programme Manager of Scottish Natural Heritage. “Staff have found it intuitive to use and Imagen has been extremely helpful and responsive, ensuring we get the most from the new solution.”

There were even features in the platform that SNH didn’t request but that further aided productivity and helped to make the experience enjoyable, such as the ability to add annotations.

Finally, bringing Imagen onboard also helped SNH to align with its wider business missions of migrating services to the cloud and allowing greater access to and use of publicly-funded assets. For example, Imagen was able to extend the platform to provide a public access service for a Young People in Nature competition, so that entrants could upload their videos to the portal directly.

With powerful search capabilities and an intuitive interface that all staff could access and use effectively, the Imagen platform has allowed SNH to spend less time on admin and more time on pursuing its important work of promoting public awareness of Scottish national heritage.

  • Powerful search capabilities
  • Supported wider mission to migrate to cloud services
  • Intuitive to use for staff across multiple locations
  • Time-based metadata to find key moments
  • Allowed clipping of relevant content from long from videos
  • Curated collections of content
  • Fast downloads of content

"With the Imagen platform we have now implemented best practice for digital asset management across the entire organisation"

Stephen Gerrard, Information Programme Manager, Scottish Natural Heritage

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