OCLC continues its streak of strategic business acquisitions with the August 2006 purchase of Digital Media Management, otherwise known as DiMeMa. This acquisition formally brings the company—with which OCLC has a long-standing business relationship—into the OCLC fold and provides the opportunity for the organization to focus on a number of digitization related activities.
OCLC has distributed DiMeMa's CONTENTdm since June 2002; prior to its procurement, DiMeMa operated as an independent company and employed only eleven individuals—a tiny enterprise relative to its new owner.
The major distributor for CONTENTdm, OCLC had been performing sales and marketing roles for the company before the acquisition, so the significance of this action is not necessarily the business expansion for the Dublin, Ohio-based organization, but it is indicative of a strategy for how OCLC will provide products and services to libraries in regard to local digital collections.
Developed at the Center for Information Systems Organization (CISO) at the University of Washington in Seattle (a lab headed by Greg Zick, a professor of electrical engineering), CONTENTdm is the application that eventually engendered DiMeMa. CISO began a partnership with the Washington University Libraries in 1996, initially, to provide access to a collection of 26,000 images from a collection related to theatre. Following success at the University of Washington, beginning in about 1999, the CONTENTdm application was adopted by organizations outside the university.
To provide support for CONTENTdm, DiMeMa was formed as a company in early 2001, with Zick serving as its president. A year later DiMeMa staffers saw a great boost in interest in CONTENTdm when, in June 2002, OCLC selected it as the strategic product (for managing local digital collections) it would use to market to libraries. CONTENTdm is a digital collections- management system that enables users to manage, store, and access digital content. Although most collections using CONTENTdm are comprised of digital still images, the system is also used for audio and video materials. To date, CONTENTdm has been selected by more than 300 organizations, including libraries, museums, archival bodies, and other organizations involved in cultural heritage, and is currently used to manage over 2,500 individual digital collections.
Within OCLC, this acquisition is part of a larger effort to integrate its services related to digitization. OCLC has formed a new Digital Services division, which Zick will lead as VP. This new division of OCLC is charged with integrating the digital services of OCLC's existing efforts as well as those brought into the organization with the recent acquisition of RLG. OCLC Digital Services will work closely with the RLG Programs staff.
The new Digital Services division in OCLC falls under the OCLC Collection Management Services led by Phyllis B. Spies. The eleven former DiMeMa staffers will become OCLC employees and will continue to work from their offices in Seattle, WA.