Are students lazy researchers?

August 28, 2018 Elizabeth Cousins

Are students lazy researchers?

….Or are they just being very smart? With many students starting a new term this September, perhaps using digital asset management (DAM) in their upcoming studies will cleverly allow them to save time sifting through masses of material in the library – and spend more time partying!

As the ‘newbie’ at Capture having joined in July and having recently graduated from the University of Exeter, it’s taken me a while to fully grasp the world of DAM. But now, I recognise just how much DAM helped me during my time at university. Like most students and researchers, I had pressing deadlines and needed access to a range of images, videos, audio files and PDFs. At the time, I didn’t realise I was working with the Capture system most days!

Searching Made Convenient

When it comes to larger research projects, such as dissertations, most student research is made possible through the access of various archives – for example, the National Portrait Gallery and The Wellcome Collection.

The state of the art keywording tool that Capture provides allows users to enrich metadata across thousands of assets quickly and accurately, making the content needed much more locatable. In my experience, this facilitated the instant arrival of relevant results. Just like magic, hundreds of hits would come flooding back. I had no idea that when I inputted a word into a search bar it was the power of the Capture keywording module that made this happen.

Metadata = Time Saver

I now appreciate that the time I spent on my dissertation and other projects were optimised because of the rapid access I had to so many historical archives. When I was writing an essay on Shakespeare it was metadata that enabled me to pinpoint the exact reference I needed within a multi-hundred-page document. Without this power, it would have taken me an age to trawl through all the information. Metadata was my new best friend – the fact I could stipulate the publication date, descriptive labels, the author and where it was published all accelerated my ability to produce my work and hit my deadline.

Licence Protection

The Capture platform also helps indicate which assets as students we could and could not use. Powerful configuration capability enables researchers to have the option to select assets that are ‘free’ to use for educational purposes, rather than unintentionally picking an asset they may have had to pay for. For ‘cash strapped’ students, it is a real bonus to have this information to hand.

I now appreciate what great resources and incredible historical data I had access to, all through the power of digital asset management. It does make me wonder – how many other archives are still out there waiting to be digitised and made available for the next generation of students?


In the mean time, I wish all the new students a great year ahead – as well as achieving that perfect work/party balance!


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