We’ve all used IMDB to figure out why an actor in the movie we just watched looked so familiar, or to jog our memories about the credits of a favourite director. The International Movie Database is one of my top-five visited sites – I get celebrity/movie/television news from the front page, watch trailers, or open television show credits to see if a great supporting character is reoccurring.
Recently, MyFDB, attributed to Zoe Saldana (you know her as Uhura from Star Trek and Neytiri from Avatar) and her partner Keith Britton, started to become more of a household name. The site is free to use for those of us not in the fashion industry, and tracks the credits of over 50,000 models, photographers, makeup artists in a variety of campaigns, from magazine covers to Diesel Jeans ads.
A Forbes Magazine Blog article describes the site as having a combination of free services and a subscription service for people in the fashion industry:
MyFDB offers free content for visitors to browse, a subscription service for users to develop their own profiles and online portfolios, and a cloud image service that allows magazines and brands to manage the workflow of image assets with their partners and marketing channels as well as to distribute those images through the MyFDB Asset Network. Brands like L’Oreal, Max Factor, and Macy’s are already included in the directory of credited brands on MyFDB
The site has been a work-in-progress for two years, and according to the Forbes interview with Zoe, big projects are going to be launched in the next few months. I took the opportunity to browse the site, and I like what they’re doing so far. The images are clear, the database is searchable and browseable by people, companies, brands, and publications.
The issue seems to be that they’re relying on the people – models, companies, photographers, etc – to put their own information up, and it appears to be a slow process. I came across a number of incomplete profiles, and it was impossible to tell whether the information just wasn’t available or if there actually was no one to credit. Another issue I noticed was that in standardizing their language so it was applicable to a wide range of mediums in the fashion industry, the wording became too vague so that I had difficulties understanding exactly what the person was being credited with.
I think that with an ambitious project like MyFDB that there will be some hiccups along the way. The website is certainly interesting to browse through, and I think as more and more profiles are updated on a daily basis, it will become more of a staple for people to consult. There have been times in the past where I wanted to know who a model was in a magazine ad because they looked familiar to me, and knowing there is a standardized resource out there will make me more likely to consult it. Of course, to those people who are actually in the industry, a database of this calibre will help augment resumes and make it possible for potential employers to browse through their credits on-site.
MyFDB is a database to keep your eye on. Will it develop into a resource the calibre of IMDB? In what ways will they change their metadata, information policies, or the wiki-like model of professionals inserting their own credits in the next couple of years? Will those gaps of blank spaces fill out or will the database expand outward, becoming more and more sparse until it is impossible to sustain itself any longer?