Paper 44

2018 Washington conference submission

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‘All the World’s a Stage’: Diverse case studies for IIIF at the Folger Shakespeare Library

Stacey Redick - Folger Shakespeare Library (United States), Meaghan Brown - Folger Shakespeare Library (United States)

Abstract: IIIF implementation at the Folger Shakespeare Library has provided the opportunity to present our diverse digital holdings to a wide range of users, from die-hard Shakespeare fans and students just discovering the Bard for the first time, to genealogists hunting family history and specialist researchers interested in our more esoteric collections materials. In this talk, we will highlight case studies from across our digital landscape that provide functionality for users with radically different motivations and levels of engagement. By implementing IIIF, we hope users will more easily discover and reuse our materials, placing them in new contexts and bring to bear new modes of analysis.

Highlights will include a wordpress plugin that makes it easy for website builders to deploy our IIIF-compliant images in web pages with minimal technological expertise; The Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) reading interface, which pairs IIIF images with thoroughly vetted, TEI-encoded transcriptions of early modern texts to aid paleographic instruction and research; and our use of viewers to show our multimedia materials alongside materials from collections at other institutions.

We see two major themes emerging as we hypothesize and test use-cases for our deployment of IIIF: the reuse of IIIF materials as the building blocks that diverse populations can use to tell their own stories about our collection and the early modern period, and the use of our holdings for individual research. Digital storytelling often requires users to bring together a number of images, videos, and texts and juxtapose them to create a narrative. Once our wordpress plugin is complete, students working on a project might design a website that pulls together IIIF-compliant material from our bills of morality, a memento mori engraving, and printed and manuscript elegies to begin to tell a story about the experience of death and mourning in the early modern period. Personal research, on the other hand, benefits from being able to do a wider range of actions to precisely identified and documented items. In exploring the types of image manipulation that might serve our users, we’re considering the researcher who wishes not only to rotate and zoom on an early modern letter to facilitate transcription, but also perhaps overlay it with a radiograph or transmitted light image for watermark analysis, or identify the position of such a watermark by annotation.

For each of these use cases, and more besides, we are interested in how we can make the experience seamless and unified, no matter which viewer is implemented or what is being done with it. We look forward to feedback from audience members to help nuance and diversify our use case scenarios, and explore what IIIF may offer our audiences.

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


  • Emerging use cases for IIIF technical specifications


  • cultural heritage organizations,
  • user experience,
  • digital asset platform development