This week, we at the Folger welcome members of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) community to Washington for an annual conference together with our fellow hosts, the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress. The IIIF community is a profoundly exciting movement of digital tools creating new opportunities for research and enjoyment.
What is IIIF?
The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) consortium is a growing, global community of cultural institutions, libraries, universities, museums, and other organizations to improve access and discovery for digital objects. Members include the British Library, Stanford University, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the University of Tokyo, and the Vatican Library, to name but a few.
The consortium has been working since 2011 to develop open-source tools and create common standards for digital collections. It is a movement towards making digital objects more open, accessible, and usable by thousands of researchers.
One popular tool is the Mirador viewer, as in this example from the French Biblissima project. Mirador allows the user to compare multiple objects—including objects from different institutions—and annotate them. It allows for close, careful comparison between items that might otherwise never be compared side-by-side in a physical setting.
The 2018 conference is a chance to gather participants from around the world, as well as from local institutions here in Washington, to hear about progress towards community goals; to learn about different examples or “use cases” for IIIF tools in action with other museums, libraries, and universities; and to share challenges that still need to be addressed. You can follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #IIIF.
The Folger and IIIF
The Folger joined the IIIF consortium as a founding member in 2017. We’ve employed an IIIF community-developed tool called the OpenSeadragon viewer, which we installed as part of the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) site to showcase high-resolution images of our manuscripts.
Now, as we build the new Miranda digital asset platform, we are working to install the Universal Viewer tool as a means of displaying the Folger’s images and to explore offering Mirador as an embedded option as well. Miranda is a long-term project to create an easy-to-use, publicly accessible research environment and home for our collections online, made possible by generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The full beta version of Miranda will be available in fall 2018.
We’re delighted to see what new research possibilities become realities as we work with the IIIF consortium, and to find new ways to share the Folger’s marvelous digital collections with the world.