Sunday, August 31, 2008

Blog Day 2008: Five blogs you should know about

Blog Day 2008The directions for participating in Blog Day are pretty easy:
  1. Find 5 new Blogs that you find interesting
  2. Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending them as part of BlogDay 2008
  3. Write a short description of the Blogs and place a link to the recommended Blogs
  4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st)
This year, I am focusing on five blogs written by members of the Library Society of the World (LSW). The LSW has been described as (all are quotes from a discussion in Friendfeed):
  • ...a way of giving official status to an unofficial gathering of librarians who, of their own initiative, are creating a community where, when, and how they want it. - Jenica Rogers-Urbanek
  • using social networking tools to create a needed informal community. - Baldgeekinmd
  • A grassroots community of library professionals using internet tools to organize and socialize. - Joshua M. Neff
In the same conversation, I described it as:
...a community of library workers who share information, discuss issues, collaborate on projects, and assist each other with professional development. The LSW has grown virally through online and face-to-face contact because it feels a need untouched by formal organizations.
The LSW has a wiki, web site and blog. The sites are all maintained by volunteers. LSW members have met face-to-face on several occasions, often at library conferences and events. You might even recognize LSW members at a conference by their Library Society of the World badge ribbons. The Society also uses a variety of other social networking tools in order to keep in touch (see wiki for links).

How many people are in the LSW. A lot and from several different countries! The group in LinkedIn has more than 300 members and is continuing to grow.

So here are five blogs by LSW members. Consider this a taste of who is in the the LSW and what the LSW thinks about:
  • Connie Crosby (blog) -- Based in Canada, Connie is a consultant & law librarian. She focuses on social networking tools and their use by libraries and other organizations. Connie always seems to be up on what's new and who's doing what.
  • Digital Reference -- Written by Stephen Francoeur, this blog focuses on "News and views on chat reference, IM reference, email reference, VoIP reference, video reference, SMS reference, phone reference, roving reference, and face-to-face reference."
  • The Goblin in the Library -- Joshua M. Neff is referred to as the Sheriff of the LSW and is one of its informal leaders. Joshua, a public librarian, writes about web 2.0 stuff and other things. Joshua is located in Kansas.
  • (almost) Bald Trainer Blog -- I met Maurice Coleman formally at Computers In Libraries this year. He's a good person to know and very outspoken (in a good way!). Located in Maryland, he focuses on the wide variety of tools that libraries can use.
  • Joeyanne Libraryanne: Librarianship in the Modern Age -- Written by Jo Alcock, who is a para-professional in the UK and currently studying for her MSc via distance learning. She is very focused on academic libraries and how they can use new technologies to improve services.
There are many more bloggers in the LSW. You can use the member list in the wiki to find them.

Oh...and how to you join the LSW? Add your name to the wiki or join in one of the LSW social networking groups. Yes, it is that easy.

My previous Blog Day posts are here (2006) and here (2007).

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

More on the Dead Sea Scrolls

Yesterday I mentioned a project to digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls. Simon Tanner from King's Digital Consultancy Services read the post and emailed additional information to me.

First of all, there is a 3 minute video about the project at While the words are similar to the text I pointed you to yesterday, what is helpful is to see what they are doing.

Tanner reports that:
  • In the pilot, they are using PhaseOne P45 cameras with Haselblad bodies - for both the color and infrared imaging. They are capturing at 16-bits per channel and typically outputting a 230+ MB file of roughly 7,250 x 5,500 pixels.
  • They will very likely upgrade to the P65 for the actual project.
  • They are also doing image spectroscopy at multiple wavelengths between 640 and 1000 nm and this revealed lots of new information of conservation interest to the Scrolls in a non-invasive way. They might even be able to measure water content non-invasively.
He also said that:
Regarding the handling - all handling is done by the conservators at the Israeli Antiquities Authority and is done with extreme care - we even designed a special table to carry the Scrolls during the imaging.
However, the 900 scrolls are in many very small fragments (maybe 15,000) and these are stored in conservation enclosures. The vast majority of the scroll fragments can be imaged with a very careful conservation/imaging workflow - hence the timeline for the digitisation being in 1-2 years rather than months. There are a very few items for which the handling would preclude our imaging techniques and these will be dealt with as special cases.
Simon, thanks for contacting me! You wrote, "Hope this is helpful information for the community and your blog." Yes, very helpful! Thank you!

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Report: International Study on the Impact of Copyright Law on Digital Preservation

Press release....

July 14, 2008 -- The Library of Congress has released the International Study on the Impact of Copyright Law on Digital Preservation. The report is a joint effort of the Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, the Joint Information Systems Committee, the Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project, and the SURFfoundation.

There are significant technical, financial and legal obstacles to digital preservation. This Report focuses on the law – in particular, on copyright and related rights issues. As the laws of the countries discussed in the report demonstrate, in many cases exceptions and limitations do not accommodate the actions required for digital preservation. The copyright and related rights issues, and various strategies to address them, are discussed in detail in the report.

The report is available here (PDF file, 1.58Mb)

The report is 214 pages. Section 1.7 provides a roadmap to the report. (Note that all paragraphs in the report are numbered):
1.71 The following sections discuss, for each of the jurisdictions represented in this report:
  • Major digital preservation activities currently ongoing;
  • The copyright and related rights laws that bear on preservation, and relevant exceptions and limitations;
  • Areas where there is tension between the laws and digital preservation activities;
  • Current efforts within existing law to undertake digital preservation, either through exceptions and limitations or pursuant to agreements with right holders; and
  • Recommendations for change.
1.7.2 The final section of the report consists of a summary of the report’s major findings and a series of joint recommendations agreed to by all of the organizations that participated in the study and the preparation of this report.

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Article: Dead Sea Scrolls go from parchment to the Internet

This is wonderful news about the Dead Sea Scrolls!

Over the next two years, the Israel Antiquities Authority will digitally photograph and scan every bit of crumbling parchment and papyrus that makes up the scrolls, which include the oldest written record of the Bible's Old Testament.

The images eventually will be posted on the Internet for anyone to see.

I had always heard that some of the scrolls were too fragile to handle, so I will be curious to hear about the process they will be using. Obviously, they are assembling a team that is well-funded and that will be using the best technology and technique. As Simon Tanner, director of King's Digital Consultancy Services, said:
Just by applying the latest infrared technologies and shooting at very high detail, lots of resolution, we are already opening up new characters from the scrolls that are either extremely indistinct or you just couldn't see them before.

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Press Release: Some Results from the International Survey of Library & Museum Digitization Projects

This press release contains a few interesting statistics as well as information on a report that is for sale. Press releases for reports can be useful, since they do give tidbits -- teasers -- that are useful. Sometimes all you need to do is find the press releases about specific reports to learn what you need to know.

The press release arrived in email a bit mangled, so I have reformatted it. I hope that the formatting is appropriate. Emphasis was added in order to point out interesting facts.

Primary Research Group has published: The International Survey of Library & Museum Digitization Projects, ISBN 1-57440-105-X. The study presents data from more than 100 library & museum digitization programs from academic, public and special libraries and museums in the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy, the UK and other countries. The mean annual budget for the digitization projects that contributed to the sample was $122,408, with a range from $0 to $1.963 million. The reports presents data on sources of funding, the outlook for raising money for additional projects, collaboration within and outside of institutions, staffing of
digitization projects, spending on hardware and software, practices on rights, permissions and copyright clearance, outsourcing, staff training, impact of digitization on preservation mediums, cataloging issues, marketing of digitization projects and other aspects of library and museum digitization project management. Data is broken out by size and type of digitization project and by size and type of institution. Data is presented separately for text, photograph, audio, and film/video intensive projects.

Just of few of the report's many findings are that:
  • More than 60% of the funding for the projects in the sample is derived from the library budget itself. For U.S. libraries, close to 64% of funds for digitization projects comes from the library budget.
  • A shade more than 20% of the organizations in the sample believe that the outlook for raising money for digitization projects from outside sources is not favorable, while more than 43% characterize it as "not too bad," more than 32% call it "pretty good" and more than 4% characterize it excellent.
  • More than 53% of the organizations in the sample have teamed up with another department or faculty of the organization to work jointly on a digitization project.
  • The institutions in the sample had a mean of 4.43 individuals who spent at least part of their working day on digitization projects, with a maximum of 20.
  • The organizations in the sample spent a mean of $21,839 on equipment to copy, duplicate, record, photograph, scan or transform content of any kind into digital formats. Median spending was only $3,000 and the range was $0-$330,000.
  • The mean number of hours spent obtaining rights permissions or copyright clearance of the organizations in the sample was 221.04.
  • Nearly 49% of the organizations in the sample outsource some form of digitization, in whole or in part, to an outside party. Museums were more likely than other organizations to do this kind of outsourcing; more than 61% of the museums in the sample outsource some form of digitization to an outside party. Projects that were photographic-intensive were also more likely to describe themselves as being deficient in mastering digitization skills; more than 31% of the organizations in this category said they had a great deal to learn, while another 25% said that they had gotten better but still had a long way to go.
  • More than 61% of the organizations in the sample had some form of digital asset management software. 52% had their own in-house system, while another 9.2% share a system with other departments or divisions of their organization.
  • 44.68% of the organizations in the sample said that digitization had had no impact on their use of microfilming or other preservation mediums.
  • The mean percentage of labor time required for digitization projects that is accounted for by cataloging and metadata tasks is about 37%, with a range of zero to 85%.
  • Only 8.16% of the organizations in the sample had completely outsourced a digitization project to another organization such as a major museum or university that specializes in such projects.
  • 17.7% of the organizations in the sample license or rent use of any aspect of their digital collection to outside parties.
For further information view our website at

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Jerry Greenberg v. National Geographic Society

In hindsight, I know that I had seen a blog post about this, but the title didn't catch my attention. Today an email on this woke me up! The one sentence summary is:
National Geographic wins copyright ruling over republication of four copyrighted photos in “The Complete National Geographic” 30-disc CD-ROM set.
A five-page review of the decision has been published by the Association of Research Libraries. If you want to get to the heart of the matter, Martha L. Arias, Internet Business Law Service Director wrote:
This Supreme Court decision has been followed by the majority in Greenberg v. National Geographic Society, 11th Cir., No. 05-16964, 6/30/08. The 11th Circuit held that the National Geographic's use of a freelance's photographs in CD ROMs is a privileged revision of collective works under 17 U.S.C.S. § 201(c). In this case, the National Geographic published in a 30-CD ROM library every magazine published since 1888. The CD ROMs contained images of the exact collective works in which the freelance's photographs were published. Using the above test-mentioned test by the Supreme Court, the 11th Circuit held that each magazine of the National Geographic's was a collective work and as such it could be reproduced in CD ROMs under the 201(c) privilege.
So if no changes are made to the content, the “transfer of a work between media does not alter the character of that work for copyright purposes.” And there is no copyright infringement. While some (e.g., freelances looking for additional revenue) may not like this ruling, it continues what is known as "media neutrality."

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Jill's September schedule

As summer winds down, my schedule is heating up. I will be giving the following workshops/presentations in September:
  • Henderson Harbor, NYSept. 9: Practical Digitizing Series: Planning & Management of Digitization Projects (workshop), South Central Regional Library Council, Ithaca, NY -- SCRLC is conducting another series of workshops on digitization. This series will occur in the fall in Ithaca and is geared specifically towards their members and the direction that SCRLC is taking. I am pleased that SCRLC again has asked me to kick-off a digitization series for them.

  • Sept. 10: Using Digital Collections to Expand Your Audience (panel), 2008 American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) Annual Meeting, Rochester, NY -- Myself and three others will present during this session. Each of us will address this topic from a very different point of view.

  • Sept. 12: Web 3D & Virtual Worlds (presentation), Federal Library and Information Center Committee (FLICC) Forum on Federal Information Policies, Washington, D.C. -- I'll be talking about the work that government entities are doing in Second Life and what libraries need to be considering/doing. My co-presenter in this session will be talking specifically about the Swedish embassy in Second Life. Yes, governments are among those investing time and resources in virtual worlds.
For more information on any of the events on my calendar, please contact the sponsoring organization or me. If you would me to speak at your event, please give me a shout.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

How did I end up being a librarian? (meme)

Some public schools in the U.S. have already started up for the fall and now many colleges are back in session. To me, school started after Labor Day, so to have school start in August still just seems wrong!

Last night was the reception for the new graduate students in Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. A great part of the reception is that all of the faculty -- tenured, tenure-track, full-time, and part-time -- get to introduce themselves. Our dean, Liz Liddy, has us talk briefly about our focus (teaching/research) and give a tip about something to do in the region. Even for the faculty, this is a great way for us to get to know each other.

One question that would also be an interesting ice-breaker, but would take too long for each of us to answer, is what got us interested initially in our fields of interest. This is a question that Laura has asked in her blog and she has "tagged" a few of us in hopes that we'll provide an answer.

My career was profiled in the Sept. 2006 issue of Information Outlook ("For Career Growth, Forget the Label and Recognize the Opportunities"). I began working in libraries in elementary school (5th grade) and continued through college. After a two-year break, I went to graduate school, then into the workforce. My first professional job, however, was in information technology (IT) and I have always done things since then that were a mix of IT and library science.

Did a person get me interested in libraries? No, not that I remember, but my junior and senior high librarian helped me stay interested by putting me to work in the library. Yes, I worked with real card catalogues and things that some current library workers have not seen, and I enjoyed it!

Yeah...that's the super short version of the story. The article gives the longer version. However, here is some trivia:
  • Best library school faculty member when I was getting my degree: Paul F.G. Keller, PhD, University of Maryland
  • Favorite class: Not cataloguing!
  • Best bosses: Paul Keller at Univ. of Maryland, and Dennis Lockard and Gary Roush, Corning Incorporated. Each had different styles, but all believed in empowering their employees.
  • Favorite library: State Library of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA. I used this library in school for researching papers and not the public library. I haven't been in it since college, but I remember it as a wonderful place!
  • Most unexpected career move: Becoming an independent consultant
  • Best career move to date: Becoming an independent consultant
  • Favorite piece of advice to others: Sit upfront at conference keynotes so you can interact with the movers-and-shakers that are in the front rows (e.g., association leadership).
  • Best piece of advice received: Listen.
As is the tradition with a meme, I am tagging:
I look forward to reading their stories!

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

U.S. Government Printing Office & digitization

On Aug. 12, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) issued a request for proposals for a mass digitization effort equaling 90 - 132 million pages. The GPO wants the work to be done at no cost to the government. The RFP states:

The objective of this digitization effort, and the driving factor in GPO digitization, is to ensure that these materials are available, in the public domain, for no-fee permanent public access through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP).

It also says:

In exchange, the contractor or contractors shall be able to maintain a collection of files produced in the process for inclusion in their collections (e.g., search indices, book search sites).

While that seems pretty bold, consider that Google and others are digitizing materials at no cost to their institutional partners. The question now becomes who is big enough and interested enough in this content? Who has capacity or can create capacity? Four vendors have already added themselves to the "interested vendor" list. I'll be interested to see who else adds their names.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Event: PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY: Sustaining Digital Collections

This announcement is being circulated broadly, so you may have already seen it.

Sustaining Digital Collections
DECEMBER 9-10, 2008
InterContinental Chicago Hotel
Chicago, Illinois

PRESENTED BY the Northeast Document Conservation Center CO-SPONSORED BY Society of American Archivists, American Library Association, and Center for Research Libraries

TAUGHT BY A FACULTY OF NATIONAL EXPERTS, this two-day conference on digital longevity provides information about the latest developments in digital preservation to help you with the life-cycle management of your institution's collections.


GROUP CONFERENCE REGISTRATION DISCOUNT RATE: Register 3 or more individuals from the same institution at the same time for $340 each.



FOR WEB STORIES AND SAMPLE COMMENTS from past participants of Persistence of Memory:

WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE current information about NEDCC's programs?
Join NEDCC's E-mail Announcement List:

Partial funding for this conference is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Hanging out with photographers

Photo by Kelvin RingoldYears ago, I used to hang out with musicians. Musicians are a very different group of people. They really do walk to the beat of a different drummer. From them, I learned to hear more subtleties in music. My "ear" became better.

Now I have several friends who are into photography, and I mean real photographers who are paid for their work. One is also a journalist. From them, I am becoming more aware -- on a day-to-day basis -- of licensing issues as well as working with someone whose idea of visually perfect is different sometimes than mine.

Some digitization programs hire photographers to work with them on photographing objects that cannot be digitized directly or to operate specific pieces of equipment (e.g., some large format equipment). If you are working with a photographer -- and especially someone who has trained to be a professional photographer -- be sure to get ideas about quality levels out in the open. Knowing my photographer friends, they are much more picky about things. Being the ultimate perfectionist can be a good quality, if it is needed.

You photographer may have great questions to ask (as well as information to give) about copyright and licensing. Listen to this person's perspective. Yes, he is coming from a different point of view and we know that different points of view can be very useful!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blog post: Book jackets - can libraries put pictures of book covers on the websites?

Mary Minow has written a very good blog post on this topic and includes pieces of U.S. copyright law that you will find interesting. In addition, there are well thought out comments on the post.

Many of use show off book covers on web sites and in blog posts. Having seen other people do it (and people who undoubtedly know more than I), I had assumed that it was legal. It good to see Minow bring up this topic and get us thinking about it. My personal feeling is that publishers and authors would want people see book covers, since that would draw more attention to the book. Of course, "wanting" and "being legal" are two different things!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Where do you post RFIs/RFPs/RFQs for conversion services?

I have not posted any requests for information (RFI), requests for proposals (RFP) or requests for quotation (RFQ) in this blog for conversion services. Recently, someone sent me an RFI that they want to circulate widely. While I don't want to begin posting those here, I am wondering where people do post the RFI/RFP/RFQs so that more people see them? Are there specific email discussion lists that you use, for example? Or web sites?

Please leave a comment on this blog post with your answer. I'll compile the answers in a follow-up blog post.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Digital preservation - is that the right term to use?

In his blog post "Digital Preservation" term considered harmful?, "usability over time".

I like the idea of using a different phrase. When we talk about usability over time, for example, we get the idea that there is a reason for digital preservation. We also then can discuss not only preserving the digital asset, but also preserving the metadata and ensuring the viability of the hardware and software. The proper phrase not only focuses us, but also broadens our understanding of what digital preservation is.

I wonder if the digital preservation community would be willing to begin using a new term en masse?

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Monday, August 11, 2008

How's your customer service?

I once went to a public library circulation/reference desk and asked if the library director was there. The woman behind the test told me "no" and then returned to her previous conversation. She didn't ask if she could help me (or even why I wanted tyo see the library director), but thankfully someone else behind the desk did.

How's your customer service? Do people come on-site to work with your materials (the originals or digital surrogate)? How are they treated? If they call your facility, are they treated properly over the phone?

We always hope that cultural heritage institutions treat people better than some retail outlets. Perhaps, though, we should be consumers occasionally of our products and services in order to see how our staff treat our users.

Could it be this bad? We called a pizzeria Friday evening to order a pizza. The pizzeria is part of a famous national chain. First of all, the gentleman on the phone didn't know the price of the pizzas or other basic information. When I went in to pick up our order, the staff was hard at work, but was also ignoring customers that were standing in the store waiting to be served. When the delivery guy came back in to pick up more deliveries, he rushed through the store and bumped into a stack of five pizza boxes that someone was picking up. Two orders or bread sticks were dumped on the floor and one of the pizzas was ruined. I always was horrified, but the staff wasn't. Yes, they were going to replace the ruined items, but where was the huge apology? Great tasting pizza, but do I really want to order from them again?

Oh....of course, your staff isn't like that. Your staff is always professional and always puts the customer first. Always.

Maybe you better check.

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Article: A Format for Digital Preservation of Images: A Study on JPEG 2000 File Robustness

For those of you interested in JPEG2000, you may want to read this article. Abstract:

Digital preservation requires a strategy for the storage of large quantities of data, which increases dramatically when dealing with high resolution images. Typically, decision-makers must choose whether to keep terabytes of images in their original TIFF format or compress them. This can be a very difficult decision: to lose visual information though compression could be a waste of the money expended in the creation of the digital assets; however, by choosing to compress, the costs of storage will be reduced. Wavelet compression of JPEG 2000 produces a high quality image: it is an acceptable alternative to TIFF and a good strategy for the storage of large image assets.

Moreover, JPEG 2000 may be considered a format that can guarantee an efficient robustness to bit errors and offers a valid quality with transmission or physical errors: this point of view is confirmed by the case study results that we report in this article, concerning image quality after occurrence of random errors by a comparison among different file formats. Easy tools and freeware software can be used to improve format robustness by duplicating file headers inside or outside the image file format, enhancing the role of JPEG 2000 as a new archival format for high quality images.

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Article: A Digital Libraries Curriculum: Expert Review and Field Testing

In 2006, the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH SILS) and the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech (VT CS) took the first steps toward developing an interdisciplinary curriculum for digital library (DL) education. Our project was introduced in an earlier D-Lib Magazine briefing; further details are available on the project website and wiki.
What came out of this work are 14 modules that have been developed including a module on digitization. 28 modules still need to be written. The first article on this topic notes:
These materials are intended for use in both computer science and library and information science programs, so input is being gathered from colleagues in both disciplines.
I wonder if other library and information science programs will re-think their curriculum -- even a little bit -- based on this work in North Carolina?

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Wenger sound isolation booth at Baylor University

Baylor University has a Black Gospel Music Restoration Project. In order to digitize the materials, the library built a sound isolation booth in February 2007. The library has photos of the booth's construction on its web site. The library does not provide links about the Wenger sound isolation booth, but a quick search located information the company and its isolation booth product.

Thanks to Kim Ewart for pointing on the photos on the Baylor web site.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Event: Digital Preservation Training Programme, London

This was posted to the Digital-Preservation list by Patricia Sleeman, who writes:
I am pleased to announce that the date and venue for the next Digital Preservation Training Programme has been confirmed for 20th-22nd October 2008, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). The course uses a pedagogical approach to training and involves group work and interaction. The cost is £500 and does not include accommodation but we can recommend hotels in the vicinity for you.

For more details about this event please see

The booking form can be found at

If you have any questions regarding this, please contact us at

Please book early to avoid disappointment as we have limited spaces due to the nature of the course.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Blog post: Update on BigTIFF

Gary McGath wrote a blog post on BiggTIFF early in July. For those who know nothing about BigTIFF, the post and the comments will be useful. And the post includes links to additional information.

What is BigIFF? It's a technical standard. Quoting McGath:
BigTIFF changes the TIFF format by using 64-bit offsets and otherwise keeping everything else as much the same as possible. This means it can describe really large images. It also means that software that handles TIFF can be modified to handle BigTIFF with relatively little programming effort.

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