TI/A Standard Initiative

The TI/A (Tagged Image for Archival) standard initiative is a group of experts focussing on the creation of a recommendation for the use of the TIFF Format, TI/A. TIFF is widely used by memory institutions to preserve their digital images. However, the specification of TIFF is complex and some of its features are proprietary an therefor not suitable for long-term archival purposes. This initiative has the goal to create a new ISO Recommendation to optimize the format definition for archival purposes. We are looking for experts that want to participate in the TI/A Standard definition. Why don’t you join us?

WHY TI/A?

The versatility of the TIFF format has made it very attractive for memory institutions for long term archival of their digital images. However, since the TIFF format offers such a great flexibility, it is not guaranteed that in the future a standard TIFF reader will be able to read some TIFF images.

The limitations of the baseline TIFF are too severe for many applications in digital archiving. It is important that, besides crucial technical metadata such as ICC color profiles (in case of color images) also important descriptive metadata is stored within the image file. Having descriptive metadata available (such as content description, iconography, copyright and ownership information etc.) is crucial for every archive. Having this information in the same file as the image data guarantees that this information will always be associated with the image.

The TI/A recommendation defines a subset of standard TIFF tags which are either required, optional of forbidden for the purposes of long term archival. Within this context, the goal must be that:

  1. The image can be opened with standard software even in the far future. Since the TI/A documentation is open and simple, even in case there is no standard software around, a reader can be programmed easily in the future which will render the image correctly and extract the essential descriptive metadata.
  2. The image data does not contain features that are not documented and therefore cannot be understood and rendered correctly in the future.

Conforming to the TI/A recommendation will guarantee that the essential digital information of a image file always can be read and interpreted correctly. Since TI/A is a subset of the TIFF standard, all current TIFF readers are able to correctly and completely render TI/A just out-of-the-box.

Image File Formats, Digital Archival and TI-A

THE INITIATIVE

The first step in this initiative is the creation of a community of experts interested in participating on the TI/A definition. Many memory institutions and other organization/companies related with archives have already manifested their interest in this new recommendation. Please, if you are interested in this new recommendation, Get Involved!

Then, the working partners will start the discussion in order to prepare the Recommendation Proposal to submit to the ISO (International Organization for Standarization). Some important decisions will be voted to reach a consensus with all the contributors involved as decision makers.

The important dates:

  • September 15th, 2015: kick-off of the discussions
  • March, 1st, 2016: ISO submission *

* To get a better idea of which tags are widely used, KOST will analyse the TIFF files of a few swiss archives. The date of submission will be delayed until the results of this study are known.

Download TI/A Whitepaper

A first draft of the working document have been already prepared in order to start the discussions. You can download it here!

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE?

There are different levels of involvement in the project.
See below the one can fits you better:

  • Newsletter
  • View the discussions
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Participation on the discussions
  • View the voting platform
  • Certificate of TI/A participation
  • Right to vote
  • Propose new authors
  • Authoring of the recommendation
  • Join our workshops

OBSERVER

  • Newsletter
  • View the discussions
  • @TI_A_Standard
  • Participation on the discussions
  • View the voting platform
  • Certificate of TI/A participation
  • Right to vote
  • Propose new authors
  • Authoring of the recommendation
  • Join our workshops

PARTICIPANT

  • Newsletter
  • View the discussions
  • @TI_A_Standard
  • Participation on the discussions
  • View the voting platform
  • Certificate of TI/A participation
  • Right to vote
  • Propose new authors
  • Authoring of the recommendation
  • Join our workshops

AUTHOR

  • Newsletter
  • View the discussions
  • @TI_A_Standard
  • Participation on the discussions
  • View the voting platform
  • Certificate of TI/A participation
  • Right to vote
  • Propose new authors
  • Authoring of the recommendation
  • Join our workshops

ABOUT US

The TI/A Standard initiative is promoted by the Digital Humanities Lab of the University of Basel, the Agents Research Lab of the University of Girona and Easy Innova with the support of many interested memory institutions.

This recommendation will be created in parallel with DPF Manager, an open source TIFF format validator that, in addition to the current TIFF ISO Standards, will be the first conformance checker for the TI/A recommendation.

This initiative has been boosted by PREFORMA, a PCP project that aims to address the challenge of implementing good quality standardised file formats for preserving data content in the long term.

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