Caring is Sharing with IIIF

June 6, 2019

Technology has augmented our culture, shifting our storytelling from the written word to shared imagery. The value of images as primary resources for knowledge, research, and communication is immeasurable, and in this modern era, we’ve come to expect instant access to a virtually unlimited supply of media via the web.


It comes as no surprise that cultural heritage institutions such as museums, galleries, and libraries have responded to this shift, and continually endeavor to deliver digital representations of their collections to both the public and each other. Unfortunately, the mechanisms for doing so are often custom-built, proprietary, and difficult to maintain.

The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) is a set of specifications and community-driven resources that aim to solve the technical challenges of sharing images and data, allowing for effortless interoperability between systems and organizations.

From http://iiif.io/about/:

IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) has the following goals:

  • To give scholars an unprecedented level of uniform and rich access to image-based resources hosted around the world.
  • To define a set of common application programming interfaces that support interoperability between image repositories.
  • To develop, cultivate and document shared technologies, such as image servers and web clients, that provide a world-class user experience in viewing, comparing, manipulating and annotating images.

IIIF APIs and compatible tools support a wide range of use cases, from embedding images into a webpage, to creating interactive experiences such as reading a book, deep zooming, and annotating. Most compellingly, IIIF can be used to provide a standard interface for sharing assets and data hosted in a private DAM system.

In our commitment to supporting cultural heritage organizations, DAM interoperability, and open standards, NetX has been quick to adopt a basic level of IIIF support. This initial offering includes:

  • Manifest support so assets and data can be properly rendered in an IIIF-compatible viewer.
  • Integration with the Cantaloupe image server for on-demand generation of derivatives of high-resolution source images using the IIIF Image API.
  • Workflow tools for automating Cantaloupe’s zoom resources (Pyramid TIFFs).
  • W3C-compliant Annotation (Markup and Approval) MVP.

While this support is still in the early stages, we feel it is a valuable touchpoint for further collaboration with the IIIF community and our customers. We’re eager to discuss how we can augment, extend and improve our IIIF support. If you’re using IIIF, we want to hear from you — what are your successes, your challenges, your goals? If you’re not already using IIIF, we want to learn about the workflows you think IIIF can help achieve. Let’s start a conversation!

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