Compliant Digital Image Formats

Compliant digital image formats include a Group 4 TIFF image compression which meet non-proprietary image standards for long-term document storage.  PDF images are popular and generally used for portability.  A document management or content management system uses a Group 4 TIFF image as the root image for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) providing full text search across all documents.  Once scanned as a Group 4 TIFF image, PDF images can be created easlily for documenrt portability to be shared and attached to emails, hosted in web portals, digitally faxed, etc.

Long-term information preservation and storage standards were first created back in the 1950’s and 1960’s when microfilm was used as a media to preserve important information and provide reduced storage and improved information distribution.  Once deemed as the benchmark for information and document archiving, microfilm was tested and certified for over 100 years of preservation was the industry standard for archival back up, preservation and distribution method.

Document scanning and digital imaging began in the 1980’s with many software companies developing proprietary software and hardware to scan and archive digital images over the microfilming formats.  Scanned images were often large and computer hard drive storage space was relatively expensive so a Write Once Read Many (WORM) technology was developed and optical disks were created with jukeboxes acting as the storage system.

Fax machines sent digital images from one location to another in a standardized black & white (Binary) image format called the CCITT Group 3 TIFF file.   Group 3 is the algorithm compression used to create a smaller file for sending across the analog phone lines.  Group 4 TIFF images are an extension of the Group 3 TIFF images and are used today as the standardized image format for long-term image storage in a non-proprietary format (see the National Archives article on sustainable formats for electronic records).

Digital Record Storage Provides:

  • Non-Proprietary Image Format for Long-Term Compatibility
  • Low-Cost Filing and Document Retrieval
  • Information Back up and Disaster Recovery Plan
  • Cost-Savings on Document Access and Distribution of Information

Tiff images provide sustainability, compatibility and compliance:

Tiff (CCITT Group 4 or Group 3) meet industry and regulatory requirements for long-term storage and digital file sustainability

CCITT Tiff (ie; Tagged Image File Format)  G4  = compressed Group 4 – or – G3 = compressed Group 3

CCITT:  Consultative Committee International Telephone and Telegraph (est. 1956; now
International Telecommunication Union-Technical).

Tiff: (Tagged Image File Format)

Compressed = Group 4, Group 3

Uncompressed = TIFF

Reference:  (Download this whitepaper – CCITT PDF document)