Photographic Archiving – Insight for the OR From the Library of Congress


As part of my posts on my research on high definition surgery (and its recording) in the operating room, I posted on the limitations of still photo archiving in the operating room and potential future advances from new compression systems.

I received a great email today from Ronald Murray.  Ron is a Digital Conversion Specialist (& Registered Biological Photographer) in the Preservation Reformatting Division of the Library of Congress.  He is an expert in digital media with a degree in Media and Cognition who has written about digital media standards.  Here at docinthemachine I love to share insight from outside of medicine that will impact on the future of medical technology. 

Here is what he writes to me:

“Intensive medical imaging technical evaluations of the other still & motion image file form that you mentioned (JPEG 2000) have been underway for some time. (There is no motion image component to Windows HD Photo, as Microsoft already has a prior interest in Windows Media 11)  A PubMed query ( using the string –>> jpeg2000 OR “JPEG 2000″ returns 97 citations, with the earliest reference to the format in 1997. Many studies cited in PubMEd report results from Receiver Operator Characteristic studies, results which appear to have been sufficiently satisfactory to warrant the inclusion of JPEG 2000 codestreams in the DICOM standard. One would expect that serious evaluations of Windows HD Photo follow this evaluation path.

Our small team here at LC has been following the development and adoption of JPEG 2000 for the last eight years, and has been encouraged more by the analyses found in the medical imaging literature than by what we see in the press or in blogs. For instance, the “JPEG 2000 as memory and processor intensive” line currently offered seems somewhat misplaced as processor technology improves – and as interested parties continue to exploit JPEG 2000 primitives built into Intel-based processor microcode. The advent of multiprocessor CPU’s like the Cell Broadband Processor and the increasing use of Graphic Processing Units also argue against the “too many clock cycles” line.

Also, when one directs one’s focus away from away from consumer photography – attention to which is frequent even in the library and archival world – one encounters an increasing amount of JPEG 2000 activity in critical imaging areas. You are probably also aware that other  large-scale, critical quality imagery users like the National Geospatial Agency and NASA ( employ JPEG 2000. European utilization of JPEG 2000 is significantly in advance of US activities…and European JPEG 2000-based solutions all tend towards the hardware-assists that the JPEG 2000 Committee assumed would be part of any serious implementation process.

…For more information on JPEG 2000′s evolving presence in library and archival environments, see: and and the Library of Congress digital format sustainability pages at: ”

thanks for the fantastic info and insight Ron!

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