NDIIP Update: Requests for Funding and Other Activities

Activity still continues on the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIP). There were two stories in Washington DC newspapers in recent weeks. The more interesting of the two came from the May 16th Washington Post in a column by Jim Barksdale and Francine Berman called Saving our Digital Heritage. Barksdale — of Netscape Corp. fame and now a member of the NDIIP advisory council — and Berman make a brief but impassioned plea for restoring the NDIIP funding that was rescinded earlier this year. (The other article, in the Washington Times, (“Saving the digital record”, 25-Apr-2007, article no longer available online) oddly praises the program but makes no mention of the funding rescission.) And I heard today from an “Unnamed Washington Source” that the leadership at the Library of Congress will seek to have some, if not all, of the funding restored as part of a future continuing resolution. (Hopefully one that won’t get vetoed.)

Truly Lossless JPEG2000 Compression

This posting used to have the tag “– Except for Grayscale?” appended to the end of the title. That is no longer needed; see the bottom of the post for an explanation. We have been implementing University of Michigan’s DLXS software, and DLXS uses JPEG2000 for its image masters. We have been investigating reports of perceived changes in images in the conversion from our old media server to DLXS, and along the way I discovered an important fact: the default parameters for two popular JPEG2000 codecs results in an irreversible transformation. Here is how to address that.

Following Up on Adobe Photoshop and JPEG2000

The discussion has died down on Jack Nack’s blog posting about the future of JPEG2000 support in Photoshop. Since I last updated my own commentary on the issue, there have been a few more comments, including one by Erich Kesse from the University of Florida. Jack has added a few follow-ups to comments left on his blog, including this one at the bottom of Erich’s comment:

[Thanks for the detailed feedback. I would note that regardless of what Adobe does with JPEG 2000, other developers can create JPEG 2000 reading/writing plug-ins for the app. --J.]

Questioning the Future of JPEG2000 Support in Photoshop

John Nack, Senior Product Manager for Adobe Photoshop, posted a query recently to his blog seeking customer reactions to the possibility of removing JPEG2000 support from Photoshop:

Adobe developed the plug-in in anticipation of cameras entering the market with native JPEG 2000 support on board. The thing is, that hasn’t happened, nor have we seen other widespread adoption of the format in places we know Photoshop is being used. [...] As we plan for the future, we need to retire features that no longer make sense & focus instead on capabilities that matter. So, do you use JPEG 2000? If so, please give a shout and let us know how & why you use it.

NDIIP Funding Statement by the Librarian of Congress

Early last month I mentioned what was happening to NDIIP funds with the impending passage of what became Public Law 110-5 [PDF] and posted a copy of a letter I sent to my senators urging them to reconsider the funding rescission. Of course, I wasn’t the only one who asked congress to reconsider. Strangely (I thought) the Library of Congress has been silent on the topic. Silent until last week, that is.

Survey on Digital Preservation Systems is Seeking Respondents

There are just a few days left to respond to the “International Digital Preservation Systems Survey” being run by Karim Boughida and Sally Hubbard from the Getty Research Institute. From the survey description:

This survey is intended to provide an overview of digital preservation system (DPS) implementation. DPS is defined here as an assembly of computer hardware, software and policies equivalent to a TDR (trusted digital repository) “whose mission is to provide reliable, long-term access to managed digital resources to its designated community, now, and in the future”1.

JPEG2000 for Digital Preservation

Last month was an interesting month for discussion and news of JPEG2000 as an archival format. First, there was a series of posts on the IMAGELIB about the rational for using JPEG2000 for master files. It started with a posting by Tom Blake of Boston Public Library asking these questions:

What can I do with a JPEG200 that I can’t do with a TIFF, a good version
of Zoomify, and a well-designded DAMS?

Don’t you need to rely on a proprietary version/flavor of JPEG2000 and a
viewer to utilize its full potential?

To: Ohio’s Senators; Re: Proposed cuts to the NDIIPP

Postal address omitted from online version
Februrary 11, 2007

The Honorable George V. Voinovich
524 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator:

I am writing to you in regards to House Joint Resolution 20, the Continuing Appropriations resolution FY2007, and in particular section 20703(D)(3)(a) which rescinds the unobligated balances available for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). As a practicing librarian and technologist, I can appreciate the focus the NDIIPP brings to the difficult work of preserving our nation’s heritage — a heritage that is increasingly reliant on digital media.

U.S. House Votes to Rescind NDIIPP Funding; Bill Now Under Consideration by Senate

In a federal fiscal year that began without nine of the 11 appropriations bills passed, there is legislation pending in the Senate that would ax funding for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program for the remainder of the fiscal year. Given the current political tone in Washington, one can only guess that someone thought the NDIIPP was part of an earmark. Either that or someone with a bee in their bonnet for the NDIIP is using this moment in time to exact revenge on the program. Either way, this is one moment in time that I’m spurred to join the national debate on legislation before our Congress. (Looking at the site statistics for DLTJ.org I know a number of readers are outside the United States. I hope you’ll indulge me or a moment.)

What a NASA/Google Mashup Might Mean for Libraries

Ron Murray (no relation) from the Library of Congress sent me this announcement about a joint NASA/Google partnership, which starts:

NASA Ames Research Center and Google have signed a Space Act Agreement that formally establishes a relationship to work together on a variety of challenging technical problems ranging from large-scale data management and massively distributed computing, to human-computer interfaces.

As the first in a series of joint collaborations, Google and Ames will focus on making the most useful of NASA’s information available on the Internet. Real-time weather visualization and forecasting, high-resolution 3-D maps of the moon and Mars, real-time tracking of the International Space Station and the space shuttle will be explored in the future.