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DigiCULT
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Info
43
W
ORLD
S
UMMIT
ON THE
I
NFORMATION
S
OCIETY
The United Nations World Summit on
the Information Society (WSIS) took
place in Geneva on 1012 December
2003. Heads of State and Government
and senior ministers from around the
world discussed a Declaration of
Principles governing the global informa-
tion society and a Plan of Action to
guide countries in their activities.This
hugely significant event is thought by
many to have been the most important
political event dedicated to the
Information Society since the European
Commission coined the phrase in the
mid-1990s.
A second session of the World Summit
will take place in Tunis in November
2005. Please see
http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/
guesten.ksh for more information.
Lizardtech (http://www.lizardtech.com/).
The project was a success and its approach
became a reference standard.This approach
has been widely imitated although it is limi-
ted by the fact that in most cases high resolu-
tion images are unnecessary; they are expen-
sive for the provider and slow for the user if
image server technology (which could provi-
de faster access to a very big multi-resolution
file than to a medium-size jpeg file) is not
available.The other most used format for
high-resolution images is ECW by ER
Mapper (http://www.ermapper.com/),
which is mostly distributed in the modern
cartographic service world. In Italy a national
portal which provides access to our official
cartography is available from
http://www.atlanteitaliano.it.
D
ifferent approaches to multi-resolu-
tion images are the use of a hierar-
chically organised common image
format (such as that used in the Imago II
project in the State Archive of Torino
(http://ww2.multix.it/asto/ricerca.htm) and
other Italian State Archives) or the develop-
ment of a bespoke multi-resolution solution.
XLimage software (http://www.xlimage.it)
developed in Florence for cultural heritage
applications is one example.
36
M
y experience managing the
migration of 130,000 images
from the State Archive of Rome
(http://www.asrm.archivi.beniculturali.it)
into MrSID format showed that this process
is very time consuming and would be impos-
sible without appropriate technology (the
Lizardtech Encoder 4.0 in our case).
I
n this context the problem is a lack of
choice. For example, JPEG 2000
(http://www.jpeg.org/jpeg2000/),
37
which should include wavelet compression
and multi-resolution functionality, is not yet
widely used by software developers.
However, Daniel Lee, of the ISO's JPEG
group, states that `JPEG 2000 offers a very
comprehensive set of features in a single for-
mat and obviates the need to maintain two
sets of files for each image. I definitely
recommend that cultural heritage institutions
use JPEG 2000 as a single preservation and
delivery format' rather than keeping master
files in a TIFF format and supporting an
expensive storage system.
38
I
believe it is possible for image server
technology to effectively balance access
with financial protection of the digital
assets
39
provided that we remember free
access by online users is not intended to
meet the same needs as services provided to
professionals or commercial users. Another
benefit of including image server functionali-
ty in a DAMS is the possibility of combining
image and text formats for digitised docu-
ments, increasing research functionality as
discussed above. Lizardtech's DejaVu format
(http://www.lizardtech.com/solutions/doc/if
ilter_plugin.php) achieves this by having two
layers, a photographic layer with a highly
compressible text layer `hidden' underneath.
This solution was used by both the National
Library of Prague (http://www.memoria.cz/)
within the UNESCO Memory of the World
Programme and JACAR of Japan Archives
(http://www.jacar.go.jp/f_e.htm) who have
made available roughly three million images
of finding aids and other documents.
T
he combination of image server
technologies with Digital Asset
Management Systems creates an
environment in which the image assets can
be managed to deliver a range of functionali-
ties to a diversity of audiences.
36Cf. DigiCULT.Info, Issue 1, July 2002, p. 8:
http://www.digicult.info/pages/newsletter.php
37The main company developing JPEG 2000 at the
moment is Luratech in Berlin:
http://www.algovision-luratech.com/
38Please see `Editor's Interview: JPEG 2000. Dr Daniel
Lee, ISO SC29/WG1 (JPEG)' in RLG DigiNews, vol. 6/6,
December 2002:
http://www.rlg.org/preserv/diginews/diginews6-6.html
39Cf. Guntram Geser `Case Study: Octavo - Bringing the
Capabilities of Advanced Digital
Media to Rare Books and Manuscripts' in DigiCULT
Thematic Issue 2, December 2002, p 27:
http://www.digicult.info/pages/Themiss.php and Octavo
Web site: http://www.octavo.com/