In-Depth

The Discovery Channel

Discovery Communications Inc., of Bethesda, Md., parent company of cable’s Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel, built an internal digital library a number of years back to help alleviate the headaches of finding internal stock footage, while at the same time encouraging some of its major external suppliers to do the same. This effort was all well and good, but designers and artists, located globally, looking for specific footage and photos, needed to access 10 different systems to find what they were looking for. Some still had to call supply houses directly to conduct searches, which could take up to three days. Pam Huling, senior manager of photo services at Discovery Communications, developed an idea to integrate all the external systems with internal image libraries via the Internet.

Huling employed the services of Answer Think, a consultancy that specialized in tools from WebMethods Corp., Fairfax, Va. A team of five people from Answer Think, WebMethods and the Discovery staff took three months to build a single interface to the many systems using WebMethods’ Web Automation toolkit. Now internal developers can search for information with one interface; a search that used to take a number of days now takes approximately 30 seconds, using image and keyword searching technology.

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