Seattle Aquarium

Logo of the Seattle Aquarium.

A DAM to Support the Public


Prior to Canto, the Seattle Aquarium was using a simple filing system located on a file server. They did not track photo permissions, copyright information or tags. As the demand for digital assets within their organization continued to grow, they needed a better way to organize, search and share them.

In fact, their “server filing system” had caused the nonprofit a fair amount of trouble, especially with managing permissions to use certain digital assets. Because their assets were mixed together, it was inevitable that they would publicly use an image for which they did not have the author’s permission, and expose the organization to liability.


The marketing and public affairs staff at Seattle Aquarium chose Canto to manage their digital asset collection. They have imported all their images into Canto and added a robust tagging system. Also, because they receive a lot of request from publications for photos, they were able to create a public portal with pre-approved images for people to browse through online and select watermarked photos/videos that they would like to request.

The aquarium also manages a small group of volunteer photographers. With Canto upload links, they are able to have their volunteer photographers directly upload their assets to the link and get approved by the aquarium before they are ingested into Canto.

“With Canto we were able to create a public portal with pre-approved images that include our watermark for people to browse.”~ Pam Lamon, Digital Marketing Manager, Seattle Aquarium

Results and Benefits

The aquarium has substantially improved their efficiency in handling digital assets, both internally and with outside parties. The time needed to search through assets for each request has plummeted, and outside photographers are thrilled to use Canto upload links to get their works to the museum with ease. By being able to easily view copyright and usage metadata for each and every asset, they are protected from inadvertent copyright violations and able to proceed in their marketing and public affairs operations with speed and security.