How the IIIF Image Retrieval Protocol Enhances Your Users’ Experience

What is IIIF?

The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) is a set of specifications for interoperable functionality in digital image repositories. Designed by and for the cultural heritage community, it improves user access to images and makes it easier to create rich collection websites with advanced media features.

Image courtesy of The Frick Collection, which uses eMuseum to display its collection online. Here, three images of the same portrait are placed side-by-side in the IIIF viewer. Symphony in Flesh Color and Pink: Portrait of Mrs. Frances Leyland, by James McNeill Whistler (1871-74).

Symphony in Flesh Color and Pink: Portrait of Mrs. Frances Leyland, by James McNeill Whistler (1871-74). Image courtesy of The Frick Collection, which uses eMuseum to display its collection online. Here, we are using the bookmark link to compare details related to one object in the IIIF viewer.

The IIIF protocol provides a world-class user experience to museum, archive and library members and website visitors by allowing them to view, share, compare and manipulate images quickly and easily. In other words, IIIF provides better and faster image delivery. It allows institutions to find new uses for their images, as well as compare and combine images across repositories.
What’s so exciting about IIIF? It lets you zoom into and compare images side-by-side like never before, while maintaining superior image quality and detail. It also allows you to manipulate and annotate them as required.

Image courtesy of The Frick Collection. Here, we compare the obverse and the reverse of a medal side-by-side in the IIIF viewer. Medal of Louis XIV, King of France (b. 1638; r. 1643–1715), dated 1672, primary maker: Michel Mollart.

Medal of Louis XIV, King of France (b. 1638; r. 1643–1715), dated 1672, primary maker: Michel Mollart. Image courtesy of The Frick Collection, via eMuseum and the IIIF viewer. Here, we compare the obverse and the reverse of a medal.

What should I know about IIIF?

IIIF is an active community representing museums, archives, and libraries. You can learn more about the IIIF standards and even participate in shaping the next generation of IIIF by visiting the IIIF website. You can also get an overview of how IIIF is implemented in eMuseum by watching the webinar recording included above.

Why is the IIIF standard important?

Standards allow users to share information, leverage common technologies, build on best practices, and participate in a professional dialogue about the future of our discipline. This is why Gallery Systems always makes sure its products and services adhere to standards, including IIIF.

How does eMuseum leverage IIIF?

eMuseum, the Gallery Systems web publishing toolkit, now includes a IIIF-compliant default viewer for greater design flexibility, and the Gallery Systems team has implemented IIIF functionality for many museum collection websites. If you would like to know more about IIIF and what it can do for your institution, please contact us.

About the webinar’s presenter:

Danielle Uchitelle, Chief Operating Officer, Gallery Systems

Danielle has worked for over 25 years in academic and non-profit administration and has more than 15 years of museum experience, including 7 years at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. At Gallery Systems, in her role as Chief Operating Officer, Danielle is responsible for managing client support, training, documentation, and custom services. In addition to her professional background in museum administration, Danielle holds an MBA degree from New York University and an MLIS degree from Columbia University.