The IIIF4Research Network hosted its first public workshop on the 20th January 2021 at 4pm. 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