ISO/TC42 JWG26 - Digitizing Cultural Heritage Materials

This page describes a new ISO/TC42 working group, JWG26, which has been formed to standardize tools and techniques for maintaining consistency when digitizing cultural heritage materials.

What is JWG26?

ISO/TC42’s JWG26, officially known as “Imaging system capability qualification for archival recording and approval”, was formed at the 22nd Plenary meeting of ISO/TC42. The convener is Dr. Franziska Frey, Head of Preservation and Digital Imaging Services at Harvard Library, Harvard University. The scope of JWG26 is to unify metrics, related methods, and tools used to specify and measure image quality capability of systems for the recording and evaluation of cultural heritage materials for archival purposes.

Work Program

JWG26 is standardizing tools and techniques for maintaining consistency when digitizing cultural heritage materials. This will ensure the accurate capture, encoding, and long-term preservation of digital representations of these cultural heritage materials. Documents describing the work of JWG26 are available to registered experts on the ISO/TC42 server.

Currently, there are several guidelines in this field, such as Metamorfoze (Dutch National Programme for Preservation of Paper Heritage) and the FADGI (Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative) guidelines and best practices for digitization of cultural materials by US federal institutions, as well as tools which utilize various test targets and software. While these guidelines and tools are helpful, users may be confused about the appropriate techniques and tolerance levels for their particular application. Users and manufacturers will benefit by international standards in this area.

JWG26 has begun working on the following projects:

  • A glossary, to ensure there is a common understanding of terms.
  • A general description of digital imaging for cultural heritage organizations, targeted at non-technical audiences.
  • A list of existing standards for test methods and test charts.
  • Recommendations for different use cases.
  • A gap analysis to guide new work and ensure issues are addressed comprehensively.

Existing Standards

One example of a relevant standard developed by ISO/TC42 is ISO 16067-1:2003 Photography -- Spatial resolution measurements of electronic scanners for photographic images -- Part 1: Scanners for reflective media. It specifies methods for measuring and reporting the spatial resolution of electronic scanners for continuous tone photographic prints.

Scanner resolution test chart from ISO 16067-1: 2003

IS&T References to Related Work

IS&T holds a yearly Archiving conference where papers related to archiving cultural heritage materials are presented. Many papers are available, such as:


ISO TC42 /JWG26 held its first meeting on January 20, 2012 at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) headquarters in Washington, DC and its second meeting on June 11, 2012 at the School for Conservation, Copenhagen, Denmark.

The next meeting will take place on November 9, 2012 at the ANSI headquarters in Washington, DC. A subsequent meeting will be held during the 23rd ISO/TC42 Plenary meeting, June 3rd through 7th in Copenhagen, Denmark.

How to Get Involved

To participate in JWG26, experts must be nominated by a participating member (P-member) country. The P-members of ISO/TC42 are Belgium (NBN), China (SAC), Denmark (DS), Germany (DIN), Japan (JISC) Republic of Korea (KATS), Russian Federation (GOST R), Sweden (SIS), Switzerland (SNV), the United Kingdom (BSI), and the United States (ANSI). P-members often assign multiple experts to participate in ISO/TC42 work, but each P-member has one vote on ISO standards ballots. Each P-member sets requirements for participation, and maintains its list of representatives. These experts can attend JWG26 meetings and access the official N-numbered documents posted on the ISO Server. P-members are each responsible for providing access to this server for their country’s JWG26 experts.

Members of the IT10 standards committee can participate as US experts in JWG26. Participation in IT10 is open to experts representing organizations, companies, and government agencies, as well as to individuals affected by the work undertaken by IT10.