Wellcome initiates JPEG 2000 working group

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By | Digital Developments

The Wellcome Library will use JPEG 2000 as a long-term digitisation format, as announced in 2009. Due to the current lack of a forum for discussion in the UK around the use of JPEG 2000, we have created a UK-based JPEG 2000 Implementation Working Group (JP2K-UK).

The first meeting was held in December 2009 at the Wellcome Trust in London, and included attendees from universities, national institutions, other not-for-profit organisations and commercial companies. The aim of the meeting was to gather information about the level of knowledge among the attendees and to start addressing gaps in that knowledge. The meeting was also asked to consider how its members could share information, collaborate on tests or research studies, and share what they know about JPEG 2000 to the wider community.

The discussion was divided among four main areas:

1. Format and features
2. Compression
3. IPR issues
4. Tools

Attendees brought their considerable experience and knowledge of JPEG 2000 to the meeting. There was a high level of understanding around the aspects of JPEG 2000 that make it stand out as a useful file format: intelligent compression technology providing for smaller file sizes with minimal loss of quality being the foremost of these. Especially in that this leads to significantly lower digital storage requirements. However, a number of areas were raised that are less clear, such as IPR, colour management, confusing encoding options, and the apparent lack of tools that can be used to make full use of JPEG 2000 features.

Many of those present have carried out tests and comissioned reports to determine the right format, compression levels and encoded features, while others were in the process of doing similar work. Some were not yet attempting to use JPEG 2000, or were not entirely convinced of its feasibility as a digitisation format.

The overall message gained from the group members was that while JPEG 2000 is a serious contender as a long-term digitisation format – and many present were committed to using JPEG 2000 – there is an urgent need to raise awareness of the format and its implementation among practitioners. This group will continue to work together to share information, dispel myths, and lobby for greater support for JPEG 2000. Hopefully, in the not too distant future the group can share its documents with a wider audience.

As a start, a Wiki has been set up to collect relevent online sources for JPEG 2000.

Christy Henshaw

Christy Henshaw

Christy Henshaw manages digitisation at the Wellcome Library. @Chenshaw. Linkedin

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