Paper 30

2018 Washington conference submission

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Science Stories: A Web App Powered by IIIF and Wikidata

Katherine Thornton - Yale University (United States), Kenneth Seals-Nutt - Yale University (United States)

Abstract: Images capture human attention. When digital images circulate on the web, people often gather information from the visual content alone. There may be embedded metadata in an image, perhaps automatically generated by the digital camera the photographer used. People do not often embed descriptive metadata into digital images they share online. While the IIIF Presentation API does not require much metadata, some image contributors need to communicate complex metadata. The standards for image application programming interfaces (APIs) that the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIF) created provide guidance for how to communicate metadata along with images on the web.

We introduce a linked data application to demonstrate the power of publishing metadata along with digital images. We use images and text to tell stories in this application related to the lives of women involved in scientific research before 1969. Many of these stories have not yet been told on the web, we aim to raise their profile.

We propose to present a web application that integrates a Cantaloupe image server and the Universal Viewer. The manifests we present are linked to the semantic web through our reuse of resource URIs from the Wikidata knowledge base. We converted metadata from Yale University Library (YUL), YUL's department of Manuscripts and Archives, and Yale Peabody Museum into linked open data to bring together materials related to women in science that is currently fragmented across campus collections. We will describe the data curation, the architecture of the web application, and we will demonstrate how the concepts presented here relate to larger themes in digital scholarship and science communication.

Science communication of the twenty-first century allows us to reconnect images and complex metadata in a web presentation. We will demonstrate how free software and open standards can be leveraged to create visually appealing interactive information experiences that will allow for people to extend science communication to social spaces on the web.

Presentation type: 20 minute presentations (plus 5 mins questions)


  • IIIF and archival collections,
  • IIIF content communities (museums, manuscripts, newspapers, archival content, etc.),
  • IIIF-compatible software and experimentation


  • Wikidata,
  • Open Science,
  • Metadata