DAM, PAM and MAM are three acronyms, which may be casually referenced in your office, with the assumption that everybody knows not just what they mean, but what the differences are.
So, what are the finer points?
A DAM, or Digital Asset Management system is designed to store digital assets, simply meaning files of any type. These systems are all-purpose and while they cover a wide range of files in a basic fashion, they have normally been designed for text-based Word-document-type files and often struggle to cope with larger media-type files and formats. If your main requirement is to store documents (e.g. Word, Excel) in a searchable system, you need a DAM.
A PAM, or Production Asset Management system is designed for the production workflow, often in digital media production such as films, video games and animation. These systems focus primarily on the regular fast movements of assets in various workflows with revision control, where the contents frequently change when edits are made. If you need a system to catalogue files that you frequently need to edit and keep multiple revisions of, you need a PAM.
A MAM, or Media Asset Management system is a subset of DAM, with the focus primarily on archiving media files. These systems are designed from the ground-up to cope well with the rigours of large media files, especially where video is concerned. You would use a MAM (instead of a PAM) where you need to archive any media files, including very high quality files, securely, for long-term preservation.
Many organisations are only just waking up to the realisation that there is an increasing need to store and catalogue a growing number of video and other media files in a system that has the capacity and processing power to cope, without overwhelming a basic DAM system. Just one minute of video from an iPhone takes up around 80MB of disk space. A corporate meeting of 30 mins at that quality is 2.4GB, and if you work in the media-space you might be recording at 50Mbps, where a one hour video requires over 20GB of space.
Our Imagen system is an excellent solution to this issue. Imagen is designed for the secure, long-term archive of media files. It is not designed for a production workflow environment, but once you have sweated for hours over the finished product, we can safely store that for the future.
A MAM system should enable you to store a multitude of different media types and formats and make them all simply searchable with easy reviewing and retrieval.
Imagen does just that. There is no software for your users to install, you just simply login through a web browser, search for the content and then, given the right permissions, you can download the content from the system. All of the renditions and thumbnails are created automatically and provided to your browser in an HTML5-compatible way – so you can even use a smartphone.