JGI Partners with MediaValet to Preserve & Share Jane’s Legacy


Dr. Jane Goodall has always wanted to share stories about the natural world. As a child, Jane’s dream was to go to Africa, live among wildlife, and write books about her observations. As a scientist, she showed that visual storytelling has the power to transform understanding of our relationship to other animals and the planet we share. After over 60 years of groundbreaking research and activism, JGI is taking Jane’s visual storytelling legacy and archive into the future. By partnering with MediaValet, a leader in Digital Asset Management (DAM), JGI is developing a one-of-a-kind way to store, organize, analyze, and share the wealth of knowledge that is Jane’s living legacy.

A Tech Breakthrough for a One-of-a-Kind Archive

The value of the DAM for JGI spans across marketing to scientific research, and everything in between. Prior to this transition, JGI had difficulty streamlining processing and storage of assets both due to the sheer volume, number of users, and global chapter system. Duplicates, hard storage, and lack of common naming made for an inefficient and scattered puzzle of materials. As an organization with many stakeholders and partners, it was also difficult to ensure the safety and privacy of our materials without keeping them locked away.

Today, by working creatively with MediaValet, JGI is taking our archive to the next level. Not only are we better able to store and organize data, we have also created more open access for users to upload and download assets. Most remarkably, we now have the elegant ability to analyze the assets for scientific purposes.

Dr. Jane Goodall, 1960, looks through binoculars, searching for chimpanzees on the peak at Gombe National Park in Tanzania.

What was also really beautiful about the relationship, was having the opportunity to interface with David MacLaren (Founder & CEO of MediaValet) and really align our values. He saw an opportunity with us to create a digital home for JGI’s archive and helped us to map out the full vision. I can’t tell you how many decades we’ve been trying to figure this out and it’s great to finally have the opportunity to do that. It started out as a project to find a spot for our imagery, but now, I think we’ve lost count of all the different applications – especially scientific ones – we can see for MediaValet.”

Shawn Sweeney, associate vp of Communications & Policy, the Jane Goodall Institute

By using MediaValet’s artificial intelligence tools we’re increasing accessibility to not only view the assets, but also contribute to the metadata. This allows open access to the longest running wild chimpanzee study in the world. We’re adding thousands of hours (36 terabytes) of research footage from the field to MediaValet. This is huge, as researchers will now go to one location to call up any photo, video or data from any day.

Mary Nkoranigwa, Field Assistant (Mother-Infant) at Gombe National Park

From Notebooks to the Net – A Leap Forward

  • Automatically transcribing handwritten research notes
    • We have 60 years (equating to 17 terabytes) of paper records that include critical observations from the field. Many of these have already been digitized and imported into MediaValet. The handwritten notes – in both English and Swahili – are automatically transcribed and added as searchable metadata. This makes these notes significantly more accessible and searchable from across the globe.
  • Using facial recognition to identify specific apes in footage
    • JGI has been working on a few different chimpanzee facial recognition projects for years now. We have terabytes of footage and photos, and we’re hoping to train AI models to recognize specific chimpanzees within these assets. Working with MediaValet, we’ve already had our first successful facial recognition from footage of a chimpanzee. We also hope to eventually train AI models to detect behavior – for example, termite fishing. This would help streamline work, as researchers could jump to specific video clips quickly.
Twins Golden and Glitter with their mother Gremlin at Gombe National Park in Tanzania. The twins were the first pair to survive past infancy at Gombe.

Sharing Jane’s Vision and Story with the World

Fundamental to all of this work is the ability to distribute and share this unique treasure trove of archival assets with the world. From marketing JGI’s work, to telling Jane’s inspiring story, these assets are some of the most precious and invaluable resources for this and future generations. Thanks to the support and tools of MediaValet, not only will we secure these materials in perpetuity, but we will be able to share these stories like never before. Together, we’re taking Jane’s living legacy into the next 60 years and beyond.

Learn more about this extraordinary partnership here.


The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.

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About Author

Ashley Sullivan is the Director of Storytelling & Marketing for Communications & Partnerships at the Jane Goodall Institute USA, where she works to connect individuals with Dr. Jane Goodall's vision, and the JGI mission to create a better world for all by protecting the interconnections between people, other animals, and the environment. Ashley graduated Stony Brook University with a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and a minor in Biology, and is pursuing a Master's of Science in Environmental Science & Policy at Johns Hopkins University with a focus on Environmental Justice. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, now a D.C. resident, she has a varied background including 10+ years of expert communications and digital marketing in the social and environmental non-profit sector. Her intersectional approach to this work has been shaped by a holistic world-view, having traveled to Madagascar and Ecuador for conservation research projects, leading communications for youth social justice filmmaking organizations, and as a part of several professional groups advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in environmental spaces including Greens REALIGN. With skills ranging from conservation fieldwork, policy and advocacy campaigns, strategic communications, art, digital media, and design, Ashley believes in sharing information to empower and in the magic of storytelling to transform hearts and minds. Through growing understanding, empathy, and justice, she is igniting positive change to create that better, more equitable world, every day.