Libraries join global consortium to improve sharing of image-based resources

IIIF aims to give scholars unprecedented access

Access to image-based resources — whether books, maps, scrolls, manuscripts, musical scores, or archival material — is critical for research and scholarship. But too often, such images are inaccessible because they are stored in custom, locally built applications that do not work with one another. A growing community of the world’s leading research libraries and image repositories aims to change that.

The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) initiative was conceived to support uniform and rich access to images for scholars and students. The MIT Libraries have joined the IIIF Consortium as a founding member, working with other global leaders from national, state, and research libraries, as well as foundations, museums, and non-profit image services.

“As a leader in providing open access to research and scholarship, MIT has an important voice in this conversation,” said Chris Bourg, director the MIT Libraries. “We’re pleased to be part of this global consortium that will set a new standard for delivering images in support of research and teaching.”

IIIF’s goal is to provide unprecedented access to image-based resources hosted around the world by:

  • Defining a set of common application programming interfaces (APIs) that support interoperability between image repositories
  • Developing and promoting technologies that enable image-based resources to be viewed, cited, annotated, and more by any compatible image-viewing application.

As a founding member, the MIT Libraries will play an active role in advancing the work and reach of the consortium and will further its commitment to making the Libraries’ collections more accessible to students and scholars worldwide.