De ASCA research group Moving Images: Preservation, Curation, Exhibition organiseert op 29 november een lezing over digitization standards.

So Many Standards, So Little Time: A History and Analysis of Four Digital Video Standards

De lezing wordt gehouden door Jimi Jones, van de University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, VS.

Meer informatie

Vrijdag 29 November 2019, 14:30-17:00

Eye Filmmuseum Collection Centre
film theatre; address: Asterweg 26, 1031 HP Amsterdam-Noord)

De voertaal van de lezing is Engels. Jimi Jones legt uit waar zijn lezing over gaat:


This presentation focuses on standards for digital video – the social aspects of their design and the sociotechnical forces that drive their development and adoption. The doctoral dissertation that underpins it is a history and analysis of how the MXF, JPEG 2000, FFV1 and Matroska standards have been adopted and/or adapted by libraries and archives of different sizes. Well-funded institutions often have the resources to develop tailor-made specifications for the digitization of their analog video objects. Digital video standards and specifications of this kind are often derived from the needs of the cinema production and television broadcast realms in the United States and may be unsuitable for smaller memory institutions that are resource-poor and/or lack staff with the knowledge to implement these technologies. This research seeks to provide insight into how moving image preservation professionals work with – and sometimes against – broadcast and film production industries in order to produce and/or implement standards governing video formats and encodings.

My presentation will discuss the development of standards for FFV1 and Matroska by the CELLAR working group of the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) as well as the development of AS-AP, a specification describing the implementation of MXF and JPEG 2000 at the Library of Congress in the United States.

The dissertation is, essentially, a history of the development of MXF, JPEG 2000, Matroska and FFV1 and their adoption in the library and archives realms. The purpose of the research has not been to develop an overarching take on which forms of encoding (open-source or industry-influenced) are more appropriate for cultural heritage preservation, broadly speaking. Staffing, collecting mandates and other attributes of local practice still dictate what standards are appropriate for an institution. Is an open-source tool better for a repository than a standard developed by and/or for broadcast or cinema realms?

It became apparent to me very early in my research phase that this distinction was hazy at best. It could very well be that open-source and closed/proprietary standards are both conditionally appropriate, depending on circumstances like repository funding and infrastructure. Furthermore, the distinction between the two is troubled by the fact that open-source tools like those being developed by CELLAR often have industry influence as well. The purpose of my work and this lecture is to describe the transition of these four digital video standards from niches to widespread use in libraries and archives. It also examines the effects these standards produce on cultural heritage video preservation by interviewing people who implement the standards as well as people who develop them.

Overall, I have two purposes for my research. First, the research serves to position FFV1, Matroska, MXF and JPEG 2000 within the history of audiovisual preservation in the twenty-first century. Second, it uses the interviews I conducted with standards developers and implementers in order to show how the political, economic and social forces involved in standards-making by SMPTE, ISO, CELLAR and the Library of Congress affect the ability of the four standards to become boundary objects that are (or are not) adopted in digital cinema, broadcasting, libraries and archives. Standards do not emerge fully-formed into any profession. Standards come from negotiations and compromises between actors. Making these compromises and negotiations visible to the preservation community can help deepen the understanding of why the standards we use function as they do and why they are (or are not) adopted in various institutions.

Reading materials

In preparation, attendees are invited to read the first two chapters of the dissertation this lecture is inspired by:

  • Jones, Jimi. “Introduction” (chapter 1) and “Literature Review” (chapter 2). “So Many Standards, So Little Time: A History and Analysis of Four Digital Video Standards.” PhD dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2019. 1-24.
  • Download the dissertation here. Please email e.l.masson @ if you want to be added to the seminar group members mailing list.


Dr Jimi Jones is the archivist for the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on standards for moving image digitization and the decision-making processes of large and small cultural heritage repositories when picking an encoding/container combination for digitizing legacy video materials. He has taught an audiovisual preservation course for the School of Information Sciences for the past ten years as instructor of record. Jimi was Digital Audiovisual Formats Specialist for the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the Library of Congress for nearly three years, where he co-chaired the Standards Working Group of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) and the Audiovisual Working Group of the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI). Jimi was also a principal editor of the Library’s Sustainability of Digital Formats website. He received his PhD and MS/LIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2019 and 2007, respectively. He received his bachelor’s degree in Film Production at the University of Utah in 2003.

Bekijk het originele bericht over de lezing van Jimi Jones

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