The North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries officially joined the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) Consortium as a founding member, in coordination with the release of their first implementation of the IIIF Image, Presentation, and Search APIs in a digitized collection of NCSU’s African American student newspaper, the Nubian Message. According to a news announcement from the NCSU Libraries, the digital collection contains over 200 issues of the paper, published between 1992 and 2005. The launch of the digital collection coincides with the NCSU Harambee (“let us come together” in Swahili) celebration, hosted by the NCSU African American Cultural Center each fall.
Using the IIIF-compatible Universal Viewer and the IIIF APIs, the NCSU Libraries have given researchers the ability to intuitively navigate the pages and issues of the Nubian Message, perform keyword searches within and across issues, and view attribution information at a glance, not to mention smooth zoom, pan, and browse functionality.
In his announcement to the IIIF-Discuss email list, Jason Ronallo, Head of Digital Library Initiatives at NCSU and chair of the IIIF Audio/Visual Working Group remarked, “I feel particularly grateful for the way that the IIIF community has come together to allow us to get so far so quickly with our implementation…We are thrilled to be able to offer such an improved and powerful viewing experience to our users, and grateful for the implementation pointers and help.”
Since the initial push to provide “search inside” functionality for the Nubian Message, Ronallo’s team has also provided this functionality for the Technician student newspaper, the Agromeck and Pinetum yearbooks, athletics media, course catalogs, digitized archival collections, and others. The NCSU Libraries plans to continue refining the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) output and search results to provide this level of functionality for all text-based resources. The application that indexes the OCR and provides the ability to search inside via the IIIF Content Search APIs will soon be released as open source.
Welcome and congratulations to NCSU Libraries!