LoC: Archival storage of digital images

The Library of Congress understands that formats and metadata are important for the sustainability of digital image formats. Their recommendations include uncompressed TIFF and JPEG 2000, but Adobe DNG is suggested as an alternative to RAW.

3 responses:

DNG as RAW alternative

You write: “Adobe DNG is suggested as an alternative to RAW”.

I thought that Adobe DNG is a raw-format and not an alternative. And as RAW is more than “one standard” this seems a bit “off” to me.

Shouldn't Adobe DNG be suggested as the RAW-alternative instead of a alternative to RAW?

Please: Enlighten me if i'm totally wrong.


I think this is just a matter of semantics.

If you look in the LoC list of recommendations, you'll notice that the third table in the section File format and characteristics lists DNG as a suggested alternative to RAW. My report of their findings is just an echo of their way of presenting things. What they say is just that they recommend that the Adobe DNG file format should be used as an alternative to various proprietary RAW file formats by those who whish to archive RAW sensor data.

But DNG is not a one-size-fits-all special RAW format. Instead, DNG is a standard for codifying different types of RAW sensor data and camera metadata, and wrapping it all up in a image format container (TIFF actually) that ensures that they can be decoded by any software package that follows this standard. In that sense DNG is an alternative to RAW, rather than being an alternative RAW format in its own right.

For more about DNG, I've fond Barry Pearson's website very helpful.

I see. It is, as you say, probably a matter of semantics then. If my understanding of the DNG-“format” is correct, I'm not quite happy with the way things are going, but that's another discusion.

Containing RAW-files in a “semi-proprietary container” just don't seem to be the answer as far as I'm concerned.

That said: As I just read “DNG is not the answer” by Stuart Nixon, so I'm probably not very objective right now.

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