Ex Libris today announced that DigiTool, the Company's digital collections management solution, now supports the JPEG2000 standard. An important step in enhancing the product's image handling capabilities, this functionality will help libraries manage their digital collections while providing remote patrons with efficient access to high-resolution digital images via the Internet.
The layered JPEG2000 format allows institutions to store a single master digital image, rather than store, track, and maintain a number of different image versions. The image is transmitted to users at multiple resolutions--from small, low-resolution thumbnails to large, high-quality views. Users can zoom-in to a specific area in the image and extract a detail from the compressed master file. Supported by a server-side application that converts the requested detail into a JPEG file and sends it to the user's PC, viewing and zooming become quick and easy without requiring plug-in installation.
Boston College has begun using JPEG2000 capabilities for its digital collections, thereby becoming the first DigiTool site to take advantage of this approach to image management. “I've been involved in academic and institutional digitization projects for many years,” said Robert Gerrity, Head of Systems at the O'Neill Library at Boston College. “The arguments in favor of using the JPEG2000 standard for image digitization and preservation are overwhelming. The JPEG2000 Viewer offers us the simplest means of adding significant value to image-collection delivery in DigiTool.”
One of the main reasons libraries restrict end-user access to high-resolution images is their concern that these would be copied and distributed contrary to licensing restrictions or library policy. With the DigiTool JPEG2000 Viewer, these apprehensions are allayed as the entire image is never decompressed or transferred to the end user's pc. This ensures that the library retains sole control of their high-resolution images.
One of the major challenges in digital asset management is the longitudinal preservation aspect. That is one of the key reasons for integrating support for JPEG2000 within DigiTool. “Institutions are investing their time and budgets in digital collections,” according to Michael Kaplan, Director of Product Management at Ex Libris. “The Ex Libris decision to support JPEG2000 technology addresses significant and justifiable concerns about the long-term preservation of images. Proprietary format collections are fragile and in a dangerous position. When an institution commits to digitizing its collections, we understand the tremendous human and financial resources they commit to it. We are now in a position to help them ensure the highest level of digital quality while maintaining a keen eye for preservation concerns.”
“The integration of JPEG2000 into the DigiTool product reflects the Ex Libris approach to product development,” explains Oded Scharfstein, DigiTool Product Manager at Ex Libris. Our commitment to industry standards, open architecture, and ease of use are demonstrated thoroughly in this exciting product development.”
Recent DigiTool wins include Florida State University and Boston College in the United States, The Royal Library of Belgium, Leiden University in the Netherlands, and Universidade Luisiada and Universidade do Porto in Portugal
JPEG2000 is an image compression standard based on wavelet technology and a layered file format. JPEG2000 was designed to overcome the limitations of the original JPEG standard and provide high-quality images at low bit-rates and smaller file sizes. JPEG2000 was developed by the JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) under aegis of the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Telegraph Union (ITU). Over 320 organizations from 21 countries contributed to this standard, which was formally approved in January 2001.
For more on JPEG2000, link to the official JPEG2000 Web page: www.jpeg.org/JPEG2000.html.
Modern library, archive, and museum collections contain an ever-increasing amount of digital content—text, image, audio, and video. Institutions managing digital assets require tools to organize this content as a distinct collection to be shared with a growing number of end users and other organizations. DigiTool is a stand-alone product that enables organizations of any size to manage existing digital content or to embark on the digitization of a collection.
A major component of a library's digital strategy, DigiTool is Ex Libris' answer to the complex problems associated with creating, maintaining, and delivering digital assets within the overall context of a digital content environment, including images, audio and video files (static or streaming), and textual documents. Integration of the JPEG2000 Image Server is a step of great importance in enhancing DigiTool's image handling capabilities.
For further information on DigiTool, please see www.exlibrisgroup.com/digitool.htm.
About Ex Libris
Ex Libris is a leading worldwide developer of high-performance applications for libraries, information centers, and researchers. A multinational company, Ex Libris has offices around the world. ALEPH, the Ex Libris integrated library solution, has been installed at over 1250 sites and consortia in over 51 countries. MetaLib®, the information portal for library collections, and SFX®, the context-sensitive linking solution for heterogeneous electronic resources in the scholarly information environment, have collectively been purchased by more than 600 customers in 32 countries. DigiTool, a solution for constructing digital collections and Verde the new Electronic Resource Management (ERM) system round out the Ex Libris product suite.
For additional information on Ex Libris, please see www.exlibrisgroup.com.