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The general recommendation to record original scanned images used to be "use TIFF". But programmers need evolution of format for "evolution of software", and I need to evolve my system to change from TIFF to JP2.

I have a big image storage (terabytes) for legal and scientific scanned materials, they need original recording. I use some caching rules, but the system need to show (via web download) or to manipulate (ImageMagick and others) original data.

I've read an article about migrating image storages from TIFF-lossless to JPEG-2000-lossless and the conclusion is to stay with TIFF. However the article is from 2009 and at the time they found support for the JPEG-2000 format by available software was very poor. The conversions to JPEG-2000 were lossy in the software they tested, and the available software for consuming images did not support the format well.

Is now the time to change from TIFF to JP2, or not? Is the software support still as flawed as it was in 2009?

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The choice of format will have a lot to do with the nature of the data (colour / grayscale / bw, bit-depth, resolution, and importantly whether it's mostly text, photos, charts, blurry, grainy, etc) so it would help a bit if you could elaborate on that. More importantly - was the original scanned TIFF lossy or lossless? If it was lossy, it means that this loss of information was condoned (unlike further changes), and you are highly unlikely to find a lossless format which will match it's file size. –  Daniel B Apr 18 '13 at 11:53
This would be on-topic here Peter if you A) made it not a resource request but rather requesting an answer to your question and B) clarified what the question is. The topicality of your Q is actually a great fit here, you just need to clarify a specific answerable question. –  Jimmy Hoffa Apr 18 '13 at 14:47
Thanks @JimmyHoffa et al! I edited, but perhaps later, other people closed the question... –  Peter Krauss Apr 18 '13 at 15:21
Thanks @thorstenMüller, check if now (edited) is more explicit. –  Peter Krauss Apr 18 '13 at 15:23
@PeterKrauss I know it's not clear by the wording of "close" but close actually means locked until revised, fix it up and it will be re-opened, they would delete it if they didn't think it could be fixed. –  Jimmy Hoffa Apr 18 '13 at 15:30

1 Answer 1

Based on Wikipedia's list of applications, support these days looks pretty good. It is also gaining traction in archive-oriented organizations worldwide:

  • Here's a page discussing its adoption by NATO, among others.

  • This paper mentions that the Harvard University Library is moving to JPEG-2000 as well.

  • This paper goes into detail on the British Museum and Harvard efforts, and adds the Wellcome Digital Library.

On my MacBook Pro running 10.7.5, here are some browser results (source 1, source 2):

  • Safari: no trouble

  • Chrome: sometimes needed to load QuickTime

  • Firefox: no trouble

I didn't test IE, but from those three, and the Wikipedia list, I think JPEG-2000 support is now widespread.

Regarding the issue of whether you should switch, since JPEG-2000 appears to have sufficient platform support now, I would switch only if there are strong technical reasons for doing so:

  • smaller image sizes

  • faster performance

  • more secure

  • TIFF is starting to be unsupported.

If you choose to switch, please post back with your experiences in doing so!

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Thanks. Yes, I agree your argumments about "sufficient platform support". Browsers and GIS applications was the first to support, but NLM/PMC standards for scanned documents and for original illustrations‌​, and others, yet recommends TIFF... I dont know why. –  Peter Krauss Apr 22 '13 at 16:45
@PeterKrauss I could be wrong on this, but the first thing that comes to mind would be lack of (widespread?) support for multiple pages in one file for JPEG and JPEG-2000? Support for non-lossy compression is another, and the JPEG-family were always photo oriented and don't perform that well on scanned documents. Historically, TIFF has been, and still is extremely widespread and dominant in the world of scanning. Asking why is a bit like asking why Windows is dominant on the desktop - it was good enough at the right place and time. –  Daniel B Apr 23 '13 at 5:28

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