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Inside Canto

How organizations breathe new life into their archives with Canto

by Catherine Chiang  |  January 6, 2020

4 min. read

Archives from an organization’s history are a gold mine of content that help marketing, communications and creative teams tell their organization’s unique story. To realize the value of historical assets, teams need the ability to see what they have and access it easily.

Check out how these three teams use Canto to wipe the dust off their archives and showcase their organizations’ incredible history to the world.

New World Symphony

A screenshot of the NWS digital library.
New World Symphony (NWS) is an orchestral academy that prepares emerging musicians for a career in classical music. Their archive of historical documents and photos is instrumental in helping their communications team tell their unique story to the press, prospective students and donors.

“I want to make sure that we breathe new life into where we’ve been and who’s helped us get here. That means presenting our collection to the public as often as possible. It can be really compelling for multiple uses throughout the institution,” says Joe Monticello, archivist at NWS.

Since implementing Canto, our materials have really come alive because we’re able to use all of these assets that were previously sitting untouched in shared drives.

NWS chose Canto to make their archive easily accessible for their distributed communications team, replacing their previous system of shared drives. Canto’s organization features and facial recognition makes it easy for the team to find the right assets at the right time.

“There have been a lot of projects that we didn’t see coming that required us to find specific assets for one person very quickly. For example, our co-founder Michael Tilson Thomas is being honored at the Kennedy Center this year and a lot of media outlets need photos of him from all points in NWS history. We’ve had to dig deep into our archives in a way that we haven’t really done before,” says Marci Falvey, senior director of communications at NWS.

“With Canto’s facial recognition, finding the right assets is just a matter of running a search. We can get these projects done much more quickly.”

With their assets at their fingertips, the team is fully empowered to create beautiful, effective content in less time.

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) conducts research focused on the treatment and curing of diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Their creative team relies on the organization’s decades-old archive to share OMRF’s mission with the world.

OMRF chose Canto to manage their archive because its cloud-based platform enabled collaboration and it was the best DAM solution that met the organization’s needs at a nonprofit-friendly price point.

Canto has transformed the way we do business – what used to take us days now literally takes minutes.

Canto portals and collections have transformed OMRF’s media outreach workflows. In addition, Canto’s recent facial recognition rollout helps save time by automatically tagging known individuals throughout OMRF’s historical archives. Combined with Canto’s layered search and filter capabilities, this makes it easy for the team to find photos of certain people from a specific time period – a common ask that will no doubt increase leading up to the nonprofit’s 75th anniversary.

For a typical media outreach campaign, OMRF’s media coordinator may push a press release to as many as 300 media outlets at a time. Canto helps them save time throughout this process – ultimately enabling the team to reach out to more media outlets, faster.

Bruce Lee Enterprises

bruce lee poster

Bruce Lee Enterprises is dedicated to sharing the legacy of Bruce Lee through their vast archive of historical assets. The organization uses Canto to organize both their physical and digital archives, streamlining how they find and share assets.

Jess Scott, archivist/marketing specialist at Bruce Lee Enterprises, set up the library structure in Canto to make assets easy to find, with folders organized by subject matter and usage. Jess tags digital photos with the cabinet and shelf where the physical photos live, so that team members can find both the digital and physical copies of an asset by checking in Canto.

Canto has proven itself to be just an exceptional tool for us, allowing us to easily, safely and securely organize digital assets to share them with stakeholders and licensing partners.

With everything in Canto, the nonprofit has been able to make the most of their archives. Bruce Lee Enterprises kicked off a social media series, ‘From the Archives,’ using their assets in Canto. Jess writes the social copy for their social media manager in the description of the images they use and tags each image with ‘From the Archives.’ This helps the team find the asset later on via search, and also keeps track of which images they have already shared on social.

Recently, the organization had an opportunity to participate in a Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) exhibit on influential fashion items and needed to recreate Bruce Lee’s jogging suit. They were able to quickly find all images in their archive of his jogging suit from multiple angles, and even a page from his journal, where he recorded the date of the shoot when he wore it!

The organization also benefits from Canto’s duplicate check, which identifies true duplicates to delete and prevents the deletion of similar but unique assets.