The Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (IRPA-KIK) is responsible for the inventory, scientific study, conservation and promotion of Belgium’s tangible cultural heritage. The Institute groups laboratories, conservation-restoration workshops, photographic studios, a library and a photo library containing over one million photos. In order to ensure the preservation of that digital image collection and to render these files accessible to the public, a digital archive and access system was developed in the beginning of 2012 based on the OAIS-framework.

Other aims were to enhance the accessibility of the image files and simplify the replacement of of images by better quality scans. That way the stored preservation master of a scanned photograph or negative is replaced when a better scan is produced thus privileging the best quality file for archiving and future access. One of the generated access copies is in Deep Zoom format, enabling high resolution zooming in the online photo library. A major problem however was the time it would take to convert over one million images already in the database. With 20 seconds to convert one image of 35 megabytes it would take over 550 hours - almost one year - not even including the annual growth of our photo collection. To tackle this problem grid computing was used by means of the BEgrid infrastructure to spread the work over many CPUs so that the calculations are carried out simultaneously and the conversion time reduced considerably.

 This way the online photo library of KIK-IRPA considerably expands its cababilities by offering the public a new in-depth view that makes every paint craquelure or other detail of an art object visisble to the naked eye.


The EGI Community Forum 2013 together with the 3rd EMI Technical Conference provides a perfect opportunity to reflect upon the growing diversification in usage of the European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) from across all research disciplines as well as the widening international collaboration that is taking place.

The EGI Community Forum will be held in Manchester, UK, at the University Place, a new purpose-built auditorium and seminar room complex at the very heart of the University of Manchester's main campus, Oxford Road, only minutes from the centre of Manchester City.

Registration is now open:

Stories from the grid

'Stories from the Grid' is a series of short films which explore how researchers from different scientific disciplines are using cutting edge grid computing technology to advance their work.

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