Friday, June 25, 2010

JPEG2000 here to stay?

For all those studying and debating the pros and cons of the file format JPEG2000, here is an announcement of a blog dedicated to just those issues.
"The Wellcome Library has launched a new blog dedicated to JPEG 2000. The blog charts our progress in determining what type of JPEG 2000 we will use, how we use it, and how it impacts on the rest of the Digital Library infrastructure. The blog is also fed to our new Twitter account, Wellcome Digital, where you can also keep abreast of our news and views on UK PubMed Central and the development of our Digital Library and digitisation programme."

Get informed!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A metadata renaissance

In her paper “Time Horizon 2020: Library Renaissance,” Susan Gibbons, Vice Provost and Dean, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester, speculates how the next decade will mark the renaissance of technical services and a complete transformation of collection development. Several of her projected changes would seem to apply to the future of visual resource collections as well.

In particular, these two points struck me:

“The emphasis of technical services will change from the acquisition of content to the user’s discovery of content. A library’s success will be defined by whether its users are finding the best materials easily and quickly, rather than by collection metrics…The success of these services will be dependent upon the availability and quality of metadata.”

“The need for all content to have some online manifestation, whether a full-text scan or a metadata record, will force all of a library’s hidden collections into the light, including manuscripts, images and other special collections.”

Metadata associated with images – in the form of shared, structured standards – has always been important to visual resources managers and librarians who sought to make their collections findable and discoverable to an audience. Just think of the on-going efforts of the VRA and other professional organizations to develop standards, schema and crosswalks for image metadata, or the amount of discussion on our listservs devoted to these issues. But today you can hardly talk about digital libraries, data repositories and Web 2.0 without the mention of metadata.

The acknowledgment that metadata is an essential element in the information infrastructure is rewarding. Metadata is ubiquitous, in the sciences, medicine, economics, education, industry, and government, as well as the arts -- in all disciplines which comprise our world today.

In the coming years, the fundamental “what” of technical services and library and visual collections will not change. However, we must be ready for the radical transformation in the “how” and “why” of these activities. Susan Gibbons believes that “the focus will shift from disparate silos of information resources to a mandated expectation that those silos can communicate and interact in ways that meet the expectations of library users.”

It is nice that as visual resources professionals, we are the established experts in developing demonstrable useful information standards for images, and that we have the skills and experience in place to leverage our knowledge with other disciplines, organizations and industries which are increasingly relying on quality metadata.

See “Time Horizon 2020: Library Renaissance”, by Susan Gibbons:

Monday, June 7, 2010

How to Quantify unauthorized use

There have been some interesting posts on the Museum Computer Network list serve regarding a recent report from the GAO to Congressional Committees entitled

Observations on Efforts to Quantify the Economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods"
Here is a working URL:

Jeff Sedlik, photographer, points out that without being able to quantify the amount of content piracy, which the report indicates is not possible, it is hard to estimate the economic effect.  He then goes on to describe how an Image Recognition technology does seem to be able to quantify the use without attribution or permission of still images.
"I can't speak to piracy in other content arenas, but with respect to photography, advances in technology now allow image piracy rates on the internet to be quantified to an extent sufficient to estimate piracy rates with some accuracy. Image recognition technology may be used to locate instances of known images on web sites, and license data may then be used to determine whether or not each instance is authorized. Not all sites can be sampled, nor can all every instance of every image be identified, but it is possible to quantify estimated piracy rates via representative sampling.

In  2003, PicScout (an Israeli image recognition company) searched commercial web sites for instances of images of known ownership. Nine out of every ten published images were found to be used without permission or knowledge of the rights holders.

In 2005, PicScout used a new reference group of 20,000 sample images (on this occasion, provided by a group of stock photographers), and found that 1 out of every 17 copies of these images published on commercial web sites was published without the knowledge or permission of the rights holder.  In the USA, the rate of misuse found in this survey was 64%. In Germany, 23%. In the UK, 13%.

PicScout reports that over a seven year period, it found that 85% of images found on commercial websites were published without the knowledge or permission of the rights holders.

In a recent LA Times article (Sept 9, 2009), Gettyimages reported that it identifies approximately 42,000 examples of copyright infringement per year, while Corbis reported the identification of approximately 70,000 infringements each year. Importantly, these figures represent only the infringements that have been detected. It is reasonable to assume that these figures represent a small fraction of actual unauthorized usages.

I am not writing to encourage or suggest heightened enforcement or penalties for piracy, nor am I expressing an opinion on copyright law, website spidering or digital rights management. I am merely pointing out that the report in question does not indicate that piracy rates are lower than estimated by industry, and that in the photography content industry, technology now allows some quantification of piracy rates. Perfect.   I would not disagree with an opinion that the content industry has used piracy statistics in lobbying for support from legislators.  But any attempt to claim that the figures are overstated will be frustrated by the very same issue identified in the report -- such claims cannot be quantified."
Jeff Sedlick
Check out the GAO report for yourself. -