ISO/TC 42/JWG 26 - Digitizing Cultural Heritage Materials

This page describes ISO/TC 42 working group, JWG 26, which has been formed to standardize tools and techniques for maintaining consistency when digitizing cultural heritage materials.

What is JWG 26?

ISO/TC42’s JWG 26, officially titled, “Joint ISO/TC 42-TC 46/SC 11-TC 171 WG; Imaging system capability qualification for archival recording and approval”, was formed at the 22nd Plenary meeting of ISO/TC 42. The convenor is Dietmar Wüller, CEO, Image Engineering GmbH & Co. KG (Germany). The scope of JWG 26 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

JWG 26 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 JWG 26 are available to registered experts on the ISO/TC42 server.

Based on existing guidelines, including  Metamorfoze (Dutch National Programme for Preservation of Paper Heritage) and FADGI (Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative), JWG 26 has published the following:

  • ISO 19262:2015 Photography -- Archiving Systems – Vocabulary
    • This International Standard provides a vocabulary which standardizes the use and meaning of terms associated with archiving systems for photography. These terms are drawn from traditional photography, digital photography, image permanence, and information technology.
  • ISO/TR 19263-1:2017 Photography -- Archiving systems -- Part 1: Best practices for digital image capture of cultural heritage material
    • This document specifies how to perform quality analysis of imaging systems (e.g. flatbed scanners, planetary scanners, or digital still cameras) used for digitization of reflective two-dimensional originals.

  • ISO/TS 19264-1:2017 Photography -- Archiving systems -- Image quality analysis -- Part 1: Reflective originals
    • This document describes a method for analyzing imaging systems quality in the area of cultural heritage imaging. The method described analyzes multiple imaging systems quality characteristics from a single image of a specified test target. The specification states which characteristics are measured, how they are measured, and how the results of the analysis need to be presented.

JWG 26 is currently working on the following new projects:

  • 19264-2 Photography -- Archiving systems -- Image quality analysis -- Part 2: Transparent originals
  • Defining technical capabilities for raw (DNG) format to enable scene-referred imaging in the field of cultural heritage
  • Gathering use-cases and current practices for cultural heritage imaging beyond the visible spectrum (UV, Visible iR with the goal of standardizing targets, aims and tolerances for image quality analysis

Published Standards Links


ISO TC42 /JWG26 held its first meeting on January 20, 2012 at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) headquarters in Washington, DC, and it has bi-annual face-to-face meetings / online meetings. JWG 26 also organizes workshops dedicated to subjects related to the scope of the working group.

How to Get Involved

To participate in JWG 26, experts must be nominated by a participating member (P-member) country. The P-members of ISO/TC 42 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/TC 42/JWG 26 work, however, 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 JWG 26 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 JWG 26 experts. ISO/TC 46/SC 11 and ISO/TC 171 P-member representatives may join similarly through their country's offices.

In the US, members of the IT10 standards committee can participate as US experts in JWG 26. 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.

IS&T References to Related Work

IS&T holds a yearly Archiving conference where papers related to archiving cultural heritage materials are presented. Access the proceedings of the IS&T Archiving Conference here. Titles of interest include:

  • Advances in Digital Imaging for Fine Art and Cultural Heritage, John Redman, Hewlett-Packard Company, Boise, ID/USA.
  • RIT American Museums Survey on Digital Imaging for Direct Capture of Artwork, Mitchell R. Rosen and Franziska S. Frey, Rochester Institute of Technology (USA).
  • Managing A Quality Digitization Practice in Cultural Heritage Institutions: Statistical Quality Control Tools and Techniques, Ronald J. Murray, Library of Congress (USA)
  • Barriers to Adopting PREMIS in Cultural Heritage Institutions: An Exploratory Study, Daniel Gelaw Alemneh, University of North Texas (USA).
  • Advances in Digital Imaging for Fine Art and Cultural Heritage, D. John Redman, Hewlett-Packard Company, and Mark Mudge, Cultural Heritage Imaging (USA)
  • High-Accuracy Digital Imaging of Cultural Heritage without Visual Editing, Roy S. Berns, Lawrence A. Taplin, Mahdi Nezamabadi, Yonghui Zhao, and Yoshio Okumura, Rochester Institute of Technology (USA).
  • National Digital Repository for Digital Still Images in the Netherlands, Astrid Verheusen and Caroline van Wijk, National Library of the Netherlands (The Netherlands).