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MediaWay Managed Access to Image Libraries Over the WWW Available for Mac


MediaWay, Inc. announced MediaAssets 1.5, the latest version of the company's image and multimedia asset management software. The enhancements to MediaAssets 1.5 provide the industry's most advanced capabilities for storing, locating and sharing digital images, sounds and video. MediaAssets is the first product to enable companies to automatically provide controlled, secure access to image libraries over the World Wide Web, improving the workflow between the company and its suppliers and customers. MediaAssets 1.5 is also the first solution to locate images based on their usage in layouts, speeding retrieval time. In addition, the new software automates image archiving and retrieval to both off-line and near-line storage, greatly reducing labor costs. The product will be shown next month at Seybold Seminars in San Francisco.

MediaAssets allows publishing and creative organizations to securely store, organize and retrieve valuable images, document layouts, sounds and video. The software's multi-user, client-server architecture enables users of Apple Macintosh, Microsoft Windows and now Web browsers to share images and other assets. To further enhance collaboration, MediaAssets also provides capabilities such as version management, check-in/check-out and annotations. MediaAssets is fully extensible, using open, standards-based APIs to adapt to individual business practices and grow with organizations' needs.

"Our software contains tens of thousands of images, sounds and animations," said David Rubin, vice president of development tools and technologies for The Learning Company. "To manage them efficiently we have chosen MediaWay's MediaAssets software because it is expressly designed for storage, manipulation and inspection of multimedia data. Its client-server implementation supports the Macintosh and Windows clients we use while also allowing us to customize the user interface to our needs."

Secure, Managed Web Access

Many firms, such as ad agencies and prepress companies, maintain large libraries of images for their clients. With MediaAssets 1.5, for the first time these companies can automatically provide their customers with controlled access to image libraries over the World Wide Web. From their Web browsers, users must log in to the system, providing a password. MediaAssets gives the administrator complete control over which images the users can access, ensuring that one client does not see confidential images belonging to another.

MediaAssets provides several mechanisms that enable users to rapidly locate assets over the Web. First, MediaAssets organizes the images in hierarchical folders. Users can browse through these folders, viewing thumbnails of the images they contain. MediaAssets also allows users to store unlimited sets of business information with each asset, including keywords, text descriptions, dates, strings and numbers. Users can perform queries on this information over the Web to locate images that meet their criteria.

Once users locate their desired images, they can download low resolution versions for placement in documents and layouts. Further, users can send messages containing image thumbnails to other users of the MediaAssets system. From the message, the recipient can directly access the original image to, for example, write a CD containing the high resolution version of the image.

Simplified QuarkXPress Layout Management

Users frequently want to locate images based on where they have been used. For example, a designer may wish to find the picture used at the bottom of page 5 of a brochure that was created last year. MediaAssets 1.5 is the first system to incorporate advanced support for QuarkXPress documents to make this type of operation possible. MediaAssets allows the user to preview every page of an XPress document within the system. The system will list the fonts, colors and images used on each page. Further, by clicking on an image in the preview of the layout, the user will jump directly to that image in the system.

MediaAssets also allows users to check layouts and their associated images in and out of the system in a single step. Users can automatically switch between the high and low resolution versions of the images: the XPress documents can be edited using low resolution images, and then the completed documents checked out of the system with high resolution images to go to production.

Automated Archiving and Retrieval

MediaAssets 1.5 introduces sophisticated capabilities to automate the archiving and retrieval of images and multimedia, reducing the cost of this often laborious task. Users can drag assets within the system to archive "jobs", which can be run unattended from the server at a scheduled time. MediaAssets automatically gathers the files needed and moves them to the archive. Both off-line storage such as tape and near-line storage such as CD jukeboxes are supported.

Over the course of development, designers frequently create numerous files containing different versions and resolutions of an image. MediaAssets automates the laborious task of identifying these different files and determining what should be done with them. MediaAssets can be set to archive all versions of an asset or to archive only the final version and delete earlier versions. Users can also use MediaAssets to free disk space by archiving early versions of an image while keeping the current one on line.

MediaAssets retains the thumbnail of the image and its associated asset information on-line, allowing users to browse and search for archived images. MediaAssets tracks the location of the image in the archive and will automatically restore it at the user's request.

MediaAssets 1.5 will begin shipping in September, 1996. Prices start at $1,000 for each concurrent user of the system. The concurrent user pricing enables companies to provide affordable access to internal users, suppliers and customers who may only access the system occasionally.

The MediaAssets server is available for Sun Solaris, Microsoft Windows NT, Apple Network Server and IBM AIX-based systems. MediaAssets supports clients running on both Power Macintosh and Microsoft Windows systems.


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