IIIF for Research (IIIF4R) Network

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: College of Arts

Abstract

This research network will investigate the potential for innovative forms of scholarly discussion and interchange offered by the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF). IIIF enables much easier sharing, annotation and manipulation of digital images from libraries, archives, galleries, and museums across institutional and national boundaries, and offers researchers exciting new possibilities for joint analysis, documentation and discussion of primary materials. IIIF has been one of the most successful digital humanities initiatives of recent years and has been adopted by a wide range of heritage institutions across the world, including the Vatican Library, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the British Library, the Digital Repository of Ireland, and the National Libraries of Wales and Scotland. Major libraries of historic manuscripts, such as the Parker Library at the University of Cambridge and the Durham Priory Library, are being made available in their entirety using IIIF. IIIF-compliant browsers such as Mirador enable images from collections in different countries to be compared side-by-side at very high magnification, offering the prospect of easily creating large trans-national collections of images of manuscripts and other primary materials. IIIF browsers also support user annotation of images, thereby potentially fostering the emergence of new forms of scholarly presentation and shared commentary on primary materials and artefacts. Some of the possibilities have already been demonstrated by scholars such as Jeffrey C. Witt of Loyola University, who has used IIIF to generate image-based scholarly editions.

The objectives of this research network are to organise four workshops at Glasgow, Durham, Dublin and Aberystwyth which will build a dialogue between arts and humanities researchers, curators and information professionals intended to develop research-driven agendas for the deployment and development of IIIF to investigate a wide range of primary materials and archives relevant to humanities research domains. The workshops will build on acknowledged leadership in development and promotion of IIIF in both the United Kingdom and Ireland. They will demonstrate the many different ways in which IIIF supports innovative analysis and commentary on the various types of source material used by arts and humanities researchers. They will document user cases where the facilities offered by IIIF are valuable in addressing particular research questions. Reports and presentations from the workshops will be made available to facilitate future development of IIIF and to encourage scholarly engagement with the potential of IIIF. The workshops will also be used to develop larger-scale projects making use of IIIF, including it is hoped projects suitable for funding in future UK-Ireland joint funding calls.

Planned Impact

The great strength of the IIIF4R network is the way in which it brings together a wide range of researchers, technical specialists, librarians, archivists and users of heritage materials to explore the potential of IIIF to enable new forms of engagement with heritage collections of many different types. Already, for many major institutions such as the British Museum, Bodleian Library, Cambridge University and Vatican Library, IIIF mediates the way in which both public and researchers engage with the digital platforms for their online collections. By exploring new ways in which IIIF can support and represent research, the work of the network will have a profound impact on public engagement with cultural heritage.

The main formal areas in which the impact of the network can be developed are: first, in informing future digitisation policy of libraries, archives, museums and galleries, and their roll-out of IIIF; and second, in encouraging wider and more engaged public use of digital collections of heritage institution through the pedagogic and presentational possibilities offered by IIIF. The network will undertake specific activities to pursue these areas of impact as follows. In all cases, we will work closely with the IIIF community, and specifically with the IIIF Discovery for Humans community to ensure maximum impact from the workshops.

- Workshops will be open to the interested public as well as researchers and will be publicised beyond the academy. We will consult workshop attendees about ways in which these findings could most effectively will be disseminated to enable most effective, and widespread communication.

- There will be a website which provides information on IIIF, case studies and presentations from the workshop and links to further resources which will enhance public awareness of the potential of IIIF. The network will also maintain Twitter and Instagram accounts.

- The website will contain a report on the workshops, aggregating and analysing findings, with detailed raw data in appendices.

- The website will also contain introductory materials for use by researchers which could be adopted and adapted by librarians, research networks or others. These would be based on and informed by the workshops. There will also be case studies, featuring projects which have successfully adopted IIIF.

- The network will develop a set of guidelines or recommendations for practitioners (technical developers, librarians or archivists) to inform the way they prioritise, scope, implement and promote IIIF within their research support programmes.

- The network will produce a short white paper for funding or strategic bodies, recommending ways in which the potential of IIIF could be enabled or realised within national or trans-national schemes, programmes, initiatives or networks.

These outputs will be disseminated and promoted as appropriate to their content and intended audience. Routes include subject or discipline-specific research networks, similar networks for librarians (particularly those involved in research support) and archivists as well as members of the IIIF consortium and community.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description In the first year of the project, we held a number of project partner meetings and planning activities, and a very successful kick- off event which attracted 94 participants. This enabled an extensive process of scoping and feedback, and establishment of an international and inclusive community of practice of researchers, collection users, and information and heritage professionals sharing ideas and knowledge about the potential of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) to transform scholarly and public engagement with the digital collections of libraries, archives, museums and galleries and to facilitate innovative forms of arts and humanities research which transcend institutional, national and international boundaries.

Our key findings to date are that there is a need for substantial research case studies that illustrate the use of IIIF for research. There has been remarkably little scoping of this, and the Network has already identified areas where further research and development is required. These include the collections in scope for IIIF; the technical components and requirements for IIIF; liaison with international organisations using IIIF; and a detailed methodological exploration of IIIF use in research projects: we have begun this by engaging with the Beyond 2022 project in Ireland, and the Thomas Pennnat project in Wales and Scotland. We have an important opportunity to work with a very engaged network of practice to understand the full potential of IIIF content, tools, and methods for research, and to utilize this develop fullest documentation as a legacy of the project, which requires additional research support capacity.

In 2021, the project organised a workshop developed by the University of Glasgow. In 2022, we organised a workshop with Trinity College Dublin. We build a consortium to develop an (unsuccessful) bid for funding for a research project on IIIF for Celtic Studies resources. We have also co-designed a survey with the international IIIF consortium.

The project has been extended by the RC due to the impact of Covid on the Network.
Exploitation Route The great strength of the IIIF4R network is the way in which it brings together a wide range of researchers, technical specialists, librarians, archivists and users of heritage materials to explore the potential of IIIF to enable new forms of engagement with heritage collections of many different types. Partner organisations, including Trinity College, Dublin, the National Library of Wales, Glasgow University Library, Cambridge University Library, and Durham University Library are utilising the Network to explore ways that IIIF mediates the way in which both public and researchers engage with the digital platforms for their online collections. By exploring new ways in which IIIF can support and represent research, the work of the network will have a profound impact on public engagement with cultural heritage.

The main formal areas in which the impact of the network is emerging are:
- in informing future digitisation policy of libraries, archives, museums and galleries, and their roll-out of IIIF
- in encouraging wider and more engaged public use of digital collections of heritage institution through the pedagogic and presentational possibilities offered by IIIF.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://iiif4research.gla.ac.uk
 
Description Findings have been used in shaping discussions around design of IIIF resources by libraries and heritage organisations. They have also informed the development of a survey by the IIIF consortium, aimed at understanding research use of IIIF.
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Policy & public services

 
Description IIIF4R Glasgow Workshop Recording and Transcript 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The IIIF4R Research Network hosted its second public workshop on the 21st June 2021. The workshop was advertised via Eventbrite and our social media. We hosted over 70 registrations - maintaining the high level of interest and engagement from the introductory workshop. The main objective of the Network is to organise workshops which will help to build a dialogue between arts and humanities researchers, curators and information professionals about the possibilities of IIIF technology. We structured the workshop around a series of short lightening talks, an approach which had proven successful in the introductory workshop. Presentations were given by Bob Maclean (University of Glasgow Library, Archives and Special Collections); Dr Stewart Brookes (Bodleian Library); Dr Anne McLaughlin (Practical IIIF); Glen Robson (IIIF Consortium); Prof. Dan Pett (Fitzwilliam Museum). A recording and full text transcript of the event was made available on the project website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://iiif4research.gla.ac.uk/index.php/workshop-1/
 
Description IIIF4R Workshop: Glasgow 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The IIIF4R Research Network hosted its second public workshop on the 21st June 2021. The workshop was advertised via Eventbrite and our social media. We hosted over 70 registrations - maintaining the high level of interest and engagement from the introductory workshop. The main objective of the Network is to organise workshops which will help to build a dialogue between arts and humanities researchers, curators and information professionals about the possibilities of IIIF technology. We structured the workshop around a series of short lightening talks, an approach which had proven successful in the introductory workshop.
Presentations were given by Bob Maclean (University of Glasgow Library, Archives and Special Collections); Dr Stewart Brookes (Bodleian Library); Dr Anne McLaughlin (Practical IIIF); Glen Robson (IIIF Consortium); Prof. Dan Pett (Fitzwilliam Museum).
A recording and full text transcript of the event is available on the project website, link below.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://iiif4research.gla.ac.uk/index.php/workshop-1/
 
Description IIIF4Research Workshop: Trinity College Dublin 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Trinity College Dublin is one of the lead institutions in the IIIF4Research Network and the Library of Trinity College Dublin hosted a IIIF4Research online seminar on Monday 28th February 2022, between 4pm and 6pm GMT. The seminar is one of a series provided by members of the IIIF4Research Network. The focus of the Trinity College Dublin seminar was to illustrate how the potential of IIIF to unite dispersed collections can be valuable to scholars across a range of disciplines, including literary studies, Celtic studies, manuscript studies and the early modern cartographic materials in the Fagel collection. The workshop was an informal and multifaceted session. Through a series of short case studies, and informal networking, this seminar explored the potential of IIIF to transform scholarly and public engagement with digital collections and to facilitate innovative forms of arts and humanities research.
Presentations included: Dr. Mark Faulkner (Ussher Assistant Professor in Medieval Literature, Trinity College Dublin); Danielle Jansen (Linked Data Specialist, KB, National Library of the Netherlands); Benjamin Albritton (Rare Books Curator, Stanford Libraries); Dr. Peter Crooks (Medieval History, Trinity College Dublin).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Kick off workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The IIIF4Research Network hosted its first public workshop on the 20th January 2021. It signalled the first in what will be a series of workshops tasked with bringing together a wide range of researchers, technical specialists, librarians, archivists and users to explore the potential of IIIF to enable new forms of engagement with heritage collections.

The workshop was advertised in the new year via Eventbrite and our social media. We originally anticipated around 30-40 participants but welcomed a staggering 93 attendees on the day - a testament to the interest in IIIF and its applications.

The main objective of the Network is to organise workshops which will help to build a dialogue between arts and humanities researchers, curators and information professionals about the possibilities of IIIF technology. We will hold four further virtual workshops, each hosted by a different Network hub institution: the University of Glasgow, University of Durham, Trinity College Dublin, and the University of Wales/National Library of Wales. These workshops will take a more detailed look at topics and themes such as ecclesiastical archives, medieval manuscripts, and documentary and material heritage - as well as helping attendees think about the skills and resources they need to work with IIIF.

But we wanted this first workshop to be an introduction in two senses. Firstly, it was an introduction and launch of the Network itself - an opportunity to advertise our presence and make some connections which we can develop over the duration of the project. And secondly, we aimed to provide an introduction to some of the key themes and research questions around using IIIF as information professionals, researchers, and cultural heritage organisations.

We structured the 1-hour workshops around a series of short lightening talks. (The running order can be found below and slides can be downloaded). The talks covered a range of topics and issues from technical specialist, researcher and librarian perspectives. A range of projects were mentioned, from those fully underway using IIIF technology to those still looking for ways to integrate the platform into their research or institutional repository.

The feedback we received from the participants also gave Network members an opportunity to think about how to frame and pitch future events. Through the questions and discussion points raised we were able to identify key questions from researchers and library/heritage professionals.

Unsurprisingly one of the main questions raised by participants related to the level of technical skills they might require to engage with and use IIIF technology in their own work. Glen Robson, the technical coordinator for the IIIF platform attended the workshop and discussed the platform's efforts to engage and train researchers and information/heritage professionals. One of the main aims of the Network is to act as a hub for promoting this sort of activity, connecting researchers, technical specialists and information/heritage professionals.

Presentations:
Prof. Lorna Hughes (University of Glasgow) - introduction to the Network

Arlene Healy (Library, Trinity College Dublin) - Library's Digital Collections Repository - IIIF now and the future

Dr. Richard Higgins (Library, University of Durham) - Beyond the page turner

Dr. Peter Crooks & Dr. Gary Munnelly (Trinity College Dublin) - IIIF and Linked Data within Ireland's Virtual Record Treasury

Dr Mary-Ann Constantine (University of Wales) - lIIF 4 the C18th

Dr. Jo Tucker (University of Glasgow) - Annotating active manuscripts with IIIF

Prof. Andrew Prescott (University of Glasgow) - Comparing Two Tenth-Century Winchester Manuscripts
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://iiif4research.gla.ac.uk/index.php/introduction-workshop/
 
Description Project Activity Blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 93 researchers, practitioners and technical specialists attended an introductory workshop outlining the aims and objectives of the project (further details are provided in separate output). This blog post reviewed the activity of the workshop, provided further links and resources, and outlined plans for future events.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://iiif4research.gla.ac.uk/index.php/introduction-workshop/
 
Description Project social media channel 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The project's Twitter account is the primary interactive means of engaging the public with our activities. It has been used to consolidate our network of researchers, collection users, and information and heritage professionals: it is a platform for sharing ideas and knowledge about the potential of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) to transform scholarly and public engagement with the digital collections of libraries, archives, museums and galleries and to facilitate innovative forms of arts and humanities research which transcend institutional, national and international boundaries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://twitter.com/iiif4r?lang=en-gb
 
Description Project website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The project website was designed to document the findings of the networking events in order to encourage researchers to explore the potential of IIIF and in turn inform the IIIF developer community of the aspirations and requirements of the user community.
It provides information on IIIF, case studies and presentations from the workshop and links to further resources which will enhance public awareness of the potential of IIIF. The network will also maintain Twitter and Instagram accounts. It will contain a report on each workshops, aggregating and analysing findings, with detailed raw data in appendices.

The website will also contain introductory materials for use by researchers which could be adopted and adapted by librarians, research networks or others. These would be based on and informed by the workshops. There will also be case studies, featuring projects which have successfully adopted IIIF.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://iiif4research.gla.ac.uk/
 
Description online presentation at workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Online presentation about using IIIF in research into C18th travel writing
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021