“Without Cumulus, I don’t know how all these services could be offered.”

Dr. Rudolf Mumenthaler
Head of Innovation & Marketing


ETH-Bibliothek quickly outgrew its first digital asset management system, needing something more powerful to keep pace with increasing demand from university departments

“Each department needed their own taxonomies and metadata,” explained Dr. Rudolf Mumenthaler, Head of Innovation and Marketing at ETH. “Plus, they wanted control over who saw their images.” ETH-Bibliothek also needed an easy-to-administrate system to accommodate requests from researchers worldwide. “Images are increasingly important for teaching, documentation and research.”

As a result, the library’s main requirements were the ability to provide catalogs to each department, offer cross-platform support, and the system had to be Web accessible with no user software required.


Cumulus easily met ETH-Bibliothek’s initial requirements, offering the balance of power and control the library needed to securely publish information online while providing virtually unlimited Internet access.

Cumulus was integrated with the university’s “lightweight directory access protocol” (LDAP) system, storage area network (SAN), Web CMS Silva, and the library’s “Knowledge Portal.” Cumulus’ flexible API also enabled ETH to build its own Web access software and user interface.

Even better, Cumulus was an open system the library could integrate with Google – to lead Internet users right to the university’s virtual front door. Google image search provides links directly into Cumulus where users can learn more about an ETH image, preview it with zoom and pan, and download it in one of several formats..

Results and Benefits

With Cumulus onboard, ETH-Bibliothek’s thousands of images are securely accessible from anywhere around the world, benefiting researchers wherever they may be.

Integrated with Google, the digital asset man- agement system handled a staggering 2,000 percent increase in Web traffic in 12 months. Because images are more readily available, revenue collection from fee-based commercial use of assets has also increased. 

Success of the project depended on access and distribution control, and Cumulus had the best solution” said MumenthaIer. Expansion plans include creating additional departmental catalogs and, to further boost revenues, adding a PayPal link.