The University of Glasgow had the honour of hositng the first full IIIF4R network workshop on Monday 21st June 2021. The event was very well attended and the presentations from our five speakers gave rise to many thought provoking questions and comments.

Speakers included:

  • Bob Maclean, University of Glasgow Archives & Special Collections
  • Stewart Brooks, a Latin palaeography fellow from the Bodleian Library Oxford
  • Ann McLaughlin, Senior Research Fellow, The National Gallery & ‘Towards a National Collection’ Practical IIIF initiative
  • Glen Robson, Technical Coordinator, IIIF Consortium
  • Daniel Pett, Head of Digital and IT/ Senior Research Associate, The Fitzwilliam Museum

Recording of the event

Available via: https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/312a6569-21d4-4309-b3a2-95e1f183dfaa

Event Summary

First Bob Maclean, joining the event from the University of Glasgow ASC, reflected on tentative solutions for facilitating access to collections implemented during the pandemic, primarily focusing on a moving image approach and the use of live streaming teaching seminar facilities at the University of Glasgow. Exploring a beautiful 17th century atlas, Bob demonstrates how their overhead camera approach facilitates not only detailed access to manuscript contents but also aspects of materiality and handling that emulates the “reading room experience”. A key point for discussion about this approach is the potential to use live streaming in conjunction with or in addition to IIIF for collaborative research

Stewart Brooks, a Latin palaeography fellow from the Bodleian Library Oxford discusses the democratisation of material and accessibility potential of digitising manuscripts, contrasting this with the sense of wonder induced by experiencing manuscripts in person. With a survey of opportunities facilitated through technical approaches to digital images (e.g multispectral imaging, raking light, 3d images), Stewart highlights the benefits of IIIF for facilitating and encouraging research. He culminates with a wish list for the future development of IIIF that incorporates additional search options, facilities for visualisation that leverages IIIF mark-up to allow a high level comparative view between manuscript collections.

Ann McLaughlin from The National Gallery is a part of the ‘Towards a National Collection’ Practical IIIF initiative. Her presentation approaches IIIF from a very practical approach, presenting their findings from a series of webinars on the technical and pragmatic questions arising from the use of IIIF. Points of interest include the longevity of approaches for recording and facilitating IIIF usage, the issues of representing physical objects in a digital space, as well as how the discussion arising from their workshops have led to the development of practical solutions that are showcased on one of their project websites.

Following a comfort break, Glen Robson the Technical Coordinator from the IIIF Consortium explains what the IIIF Consortium five-day training courses entail, taking participants through IIIF uses for research, Image APIs, Presentation APIs, Annotations and culminating the course with the presentation of a IIIF project created through the course. He then moves onto the availability of other training courses, finishing the course by opening up to the attendees for ideas and preferences for future training.

Finally, Daniel Pett joined us from The Fitzwilliam Museum presents the perspective of an institution who has recently implemented IIIF and the trials and triumphs that this has brought with it. These range from the issues of bringing senior management on board to the wonders of having access to collections from around the world side by side in a browser. The highlight of the talk is the conclusion that it is so important to dive into new technologies and just give them a try, because that is how we learn and adapt them to our needs.