The Documentalist

Digital Archiving Tool: Amnesty International’s ADAM

Posted in Archiving Solutions by Sarah on October 15, 2009

Amnesty International’s International Secretariat recently released an in-house digital archiving program called ADAM–Amnesty Digital Asset Management.  The program,  designed in conjunction with Bright Interactive, allows Amnesty field workers to upload digitally created photos, videos, and audio recordings into a central repository that all Amnesty members can access from within the organization.  ADAM is a customized application of Bright Interactive’s “Asset Bank” tool which:

is a digital asset management system, enabling your organisation to create a fully searchable, categorised library of digital images, videos and other documents. It is a high-performance, cost-effective server application to enable you to manage digital assets – all that is needed to access it is a web browser (from Asset Bank).

The description for the product goes on to specify that the Asset Bank program that ADAM is built from is customizable, scalable, and multi-lingual.

Because the program is accessible through a web browser, field workers can submit their field materials from anywhere in the world, as long as they have an internet link (sometimes a challenge in the further reaches of the world).  As users upload their digital materials, they fill in required fields for metadata and context information.  Use and access restrictions are also recorded in the record for each uploaded item.  At this point, uploading material into ADAM is  voluntary, but according to AI’s digital archivist, response has been enthusiastic.  The hope is that uploading material into ADAM will become standard practice for all field workers, thus streamlining archiving processes and making material readily available for AI reports and campaigns.  This material could also potentially be available for scholarly and legal work by outside parties–always dependent, of course, on the access agreements that AI holds with the creators of the material and the individuals represented in images, videos, or audio recordings.

Currently, ADAM holds approximately  36,000 records, 159 of which are available for public viewing at the ADAM Web site. Though Web site visitors from outside of AI can’t access the full holdings, the public holdings allow you to see the types of information that ADAM users submit when they upload their digital documentation items.  Information ADAM currently collects is as follows:


  • Title of the video, image, or audio file
  • Description of the content
  • Keywords, or terms for searching and cataloging
  • Campaigns that the item contributes to or was created for
  • Tags
  • Copyright type
  • Copyright credit

Agreement Type:

  • Agreement specifies the level of use that the creator of the piece and individuals represented within the piece permit within Amnesty International.  Some items are publicly available and others are highly restricted.
  • Agreement Notes specify additional use restrictions not covered in the standard agreements preset in ADAM
  • Shotlist/Transcript information for video and/or audio material
  • Date Created
  • Creation Date Accuracy is a space for stating level of confidence for when the item was created.
  • Place Created


  • Size of the digital image, video or audio recording in terms of image density and/or memory space required for the file
  • Orientation of images (landscape or portrait)


  • ID, a catalog number assigned to the item by ADAM
  • Date Last Modified
  • Embedded Data
  • Collections
  • Categories

One Response

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  1. […] once crises are past and democratic processes get improved or established (see the recent post on ADAM at Amnesty International for an example of one recently developed strategy).  After all, as the UN has recently established […]

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