The University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) is consistently ranked among the top institutions in the nation. The school has seven departments and 29 undergraduate and graduate programs, including Sports Medicine, Nutrition Science, Speech-Language Pathology and Health Information Management. Pitt SHRS is proud to be a trailblazer in the realms of academics, research and diversity.
As the SHRS Communications Specialist, Brian Bayer works closely with the Director of Communications, Natalie Baney, to produce digital and print media for the school and each program it encompasses. He is engaged in the various aspects of the Pitt SHRS experience – recruitment, student life, alumni relations and community engagement.
The Communications team has their hands full creating print and digital content for the school’s nearly 30 academic programs. As one of the best in the United States, the school is held to a high standard. The team wants to make sure they’re producing enough materials to educate their audience while remaining at the highest quality possible.
“Not only are we producing high-quality materials, but we’re producing a large quantity. We need tools that allow us to meet the volume expectations that we set for ourselves, and to be able to do that at a high quality,” Brian says.
Before implementing Canto, every department had their own asset library that was structured according to the department’s needs. Although the libraries were tailor-made, faculty and staff outside of the department couldn’t access them. This created a barrier to collaborating across departments.
“Our media had been all over the place for a while with different libraries and folder structures in different organizational systems. Giving people access to assets they needed was always difficult,” says Brian.
With no centralized space or standard workflow for the school’s assets, each faculty and staff member began saving images in their own way. Oftentimes, assets weren’t filed in the school’s brand asset library, but rather on desktops and in personal folders.
“A lot of people kept their pictures on cell phones or in email folders and hoped that they could find what they needed through a keyword search. People were all over the map with it. We didn’t have one synchronized area other than our SharePoint site, which was limiting,” says Brian.
If someone needed a particular asset, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Because assets weren’t centralized and easily shareable, everyone spent more time searching through shared folders and email chains than on creating high volumes of quality content.
“I spent hours looking through files that were in no particular order. Sometimes I was lucky, sometimes I wasn’t. I spent a lot of time in my own library and reaching out to other people at the school. I had to find a lot of content through email chains and shared files,” says Brian.
Pitt SHRS chose Canto for its facial recognition, organization and sharing features. The team now uses Canto to store over 25,000 images and videos. The school’s 250 faculty and staff members primarily use these assets for promotional literature and videos, presentations and the website.
Since things at the school are always evolving, Brian and his team wanted to introduce a software that allowed them to update their organizational structure as needed. With Canto, the school is able to centrally store assets while still allowing flexibility for each department to organize how it makes sense for them.
“The structure of everything is fluid and dynamic, but Canto flexes to our needs, which is really nice. As an example, one of our departments is Rehabilitation Science and Technology. Within that department, there are two or three programs that rely heavily on Canto for research and continuing education purposes. They need to be able to share content at different permission levels and to catalog and find it quickly. They have the structure set up to include a bunch of albums, and there’s several different folders that those albums are housed within. It’s a lot more microscopic in terms of how they are set up,” says Brian.
In addition to department-specific folder structures, Pitt SHRS has established an overarching metadata structure that the whole school uses. This metadata is what keeps assets easily searchable for people both inside and outside of the department.
“We rely heavily on tagging, Keywords, date information and artificial intelligence. The Smart Tags are really important to us and our ability to identify, for example, our mascot as a panther,” says Brian.
Search Made Simple
The team uses a myriad of ways to search for content – global search, filtering and custom fields help them pinpoint the perfect image for projects. Filtering by date enables the school to ensure they’re using the most recent images.
“We never want to display an image that is old. Students, researchers and any external audiences want to see that we are in the now. Canto allows us to identify and find the pictures that are current,” says Brian.
As a new initiative, Pitt SHRS is focused on positioning the school as a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion. With Canto, they can add a tag to student photos that are representative of the school population.
“We’ve been able to leverage the searchability features of Canto by adding a diversity tag to our pictures to advance that initiative. When you’re talking about your programs, it’s very important to show people of diverse backgrounds in the literature that you’re putting out there. By adding that diversity tag and applying it across all of our media assets, we’re able to push this initiative forward by curating pictures that show diverse representation,” says Brian.
Facial Recognition Improves Efficiency
Facial recognition enables Brian and his team to search for a particular person across their whole image library.
“If we’re looking for a picture of a faculty member, we can identify that faculty member in one picture and then 10 seconds later, we have every picture of that faculty member from all 25,000 of our assets. This is the kind of thing that would take us hours to locate before Canto,” says Brian.
The team saves time when putting together materials for specific departments and programs because they’re able to instantly find the faculty members they need to showcase for each program. With seven departments and nearly 30 programs, facial recognition comes in handy when creating department or program-specific materials.
“Facial recognition makes a world of difference to my work because there are so many times where we’re looking for a specific person in order to publicize a project or a program. We know the faculty who teach in each program, so we know that if we’re trying to promote Physical Therapy, for example, we search for those faculty members and find the shots that we’re looking for,” says Brian.
The school transformed their creative workflows with Canto. Now, faculty and staff don’t have to deal with constant bottlenecks, but instead are confident they’ll quickly find the assets they need.
“It was a really long workflow to get any media before. Now because of Canto, that media is at my fingertips. Canto has made a huge difference in how quickly I can turn around a project. It’s easier for me – with a finite number of hours that I can dedicate to each project – to spend time on quality rather than searching for the right media,” says Brian.
Quicker workflows lead the team to become even more focused and efficient, which equals more material created. Now, they’re empowered to get the highest quality content out at a swift pace.
“Canto has made my workflows so much more efficient. In my day-to-day tasks, it has expedited my daily work and allowed me to be much more productive,” says Brian.