November 24, 2010

JPEG 2000 seminar - edited highlights #2

This blog post continues my summary of the JPEG 2000 for the Practitioner Seminar (the edited highlights of the first five presentations can be seen in a previous blog post).

Following Svein Arne Brygfjeld's discussion of the National Library of Norway's use of JPEG 2000, we had Saša Mutić, General Director of Geneza, speaking about the "Practical Usage of JP2 Files with Presentational Web Interface."Saša, based in Slovenia, gave an overview and demonstration of the delivery system MediaINFO that uses a JPEG 2000 image server. This system is soon to be used by the National Library of Norway to deliver their digitised images. Some interesting features include the ability to easily share content, and to create "Personal Library" working spaces. There is also a demonstration of the system on YouTube.

Johan van der Knijff, from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands), spoke about "JPEG 2000 for Long-Term Preservation in Practice: problems, challenges and possible solutions." He started off with an overview of the KB's investigations and use of JPEG 2000 (which started in 2007) and their current mass digitisation programme which will see the digitisation of around 14m images. Johan highlighted a number of issues with JPEG 2000 that although fairly minor in nature, are issues that should be addressed by either fixing deficiencies in the standard (particularly around colour profile support), or by changing the way software developers implement the standard (making sure that compressed files do indeed meet the standard). He stressed the importance of a strong user community and knowledge sharing as key to solving the remaining issues with the JPEG 2000 format.

Gary Hodkinson, Managing Director of LuraTech Ltd., gave a presentation entitled "Delivering High-Resolution JPEG2000 Images and Documents over the Internet." He provided a quick background of the company itself, which is German based, but has seen the recent establishment of a UK subsidiary. LuraTech's core business is document conversion and compression, and they supply a JP2 image compression tool called LuraWave. He gave an introductory background to image compression and image formats in general, what the key challenges are around compression, and how JPEG 2000 meets those challenges. He also gave further details on LuraWave, and the LuraTech Image Content Server, which works with JP2 to provide delivery of images to end users.

As the final speaker of the day, Katty van Mele, from IntoPIX, gave an informative talk on "Pros and cons of JPEG 2000 for video archiving". She covered a wide range of moving image applications for JPEG 2000, in the cinema, broadcasting and cultural heritage world. JPEG 2000 is the only format currently in use for digital cinema, while broadcasters are still working toward agreeing a suitable long-term format (JPEG 2000 being a leading contender). Katty stressed the fact that massive amounts of material in moving image formats already in existence and continually being created makes long-term storage and preservation a very serious problem. JPEG 2000 is increasingly now seen as the solution to the storage problem, and a number of other problems as well, such as royalty payments currently required to use MPEG for example. IntoPIX provides solutions for converting JP2s, including hardware-based compressors that are orders of magnitude quicker than software-based compressors.

During the course of the day, delegates were asked to write questions down and post them on whiteboards to raise during the final session of the day: questions and answers, moderated by Ben Gilbert, Photographer at the Wellcome Library. Ben posed the questions to the audience, alternating between technical issues (such as "What is the difference between a tile and a precinct"), to more philosophical questions (such as "Is it really feasible to store master archive images as lossy compressed files?"). This stimulated a good amount of discussion, which is impossible to adequately capture in a blog post!

Many thanks go to William Kilbride of the DPC for putting all the presentations online.

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