November 29, 2007
LC to begin converting images to JPEG 2000
An article at Libraryjournal.com describes a new collaboration between the Library of Congress and Xerox to convert as many as a million digital images, photographs and maps from the TIFF format to the neweer JPEG 200 format. The goal is to create a "leaner, faster" digital collection. Xerox will create a set of guidelines for converting TIFF files to JPEG 2000 which will then be turned over to LC and to the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP)
Digital Case, the digital library and repository for Case Western Reserve University, uses JPEG 2000 for delivery of images stored in Digital Case. In a fine case of hedging out bets, we continue to store archival images in TIFF format. The outcome of the LC project could help us determine if the time is right for future projects to create the original images in JPEG 2000 rather than in TIFF. JPEG 2000 is a "loss-less" format, as is TIFF.
November 28, 2007
Deutsche Grammophon opens classical music download site
The grandaddy of all high-class classical music recording companies, Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft has today opened up their online download site, which features non-DRM mp3 files encoded at a lavish 320kbps. The site has available for download most of DGG's latest releases (including the Cleveland Orchestra's new recording of the Beethoven 9th Symphony, which up to now has only been available for download from iTunes in a lower-resolution format with DRM protection. I'm glad I waited....) and a host of classic recordings, many of which have been out of print in CD format and are now available as downloads.
Registration for the site is easy, although you do have to surrender your name and email address to them. If you sign up for their email newsletter they give you one free track download. (I chose the "Adagietto" movement from Mahler's Symphony no. 5, performed by the acclaimed Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, conducted by the hot young Venezuelan composer Gustavo Dudamel. All went smoothly with the download, although it was a bit slow--I can imagine that there may be a run on the DGG servers on their first day of operation.)
This is big! DGG is following the lead of EMI, Chandos, and some other smaller labels. We can hope that the other branches of the Universal Music Group (Decca main among them) will follow DGG's first step. Warner Music and Sony BMG, where are you? Come on in--the classical music audience isn't going to steal you blind.
NPR story about online courses
NPR's "Morning Edition" show this morning had a feature about online courses and how faculty cope with the differences between teaching "live in person" and online. Not a word, however, about how schools offering online courses--in this case the University of Illinois-Springfield--make library resources available to their far-flung students.