Simple Access to Cultural Heritage Assets via ONB Labs

Can Yilmaz - Austrian Academy of Sciences (Austria), Sophie-Carolin Wagner - Austrian National Library (Austria)

Presentation type: Presentation


This talk introduces user-generated and shareable collections, based on the IIIF API SACHA (Simple Access to Cultural Heritage Assets) and implemented on the research platform ONB Labs. It further discusses technological intricacies of these collections, such as the dynamic creation of IIIF manifests, and future developments such as the implementation of individual annotations. These dynamic and thus innovative applications of IIIF technologies aims to improve access to culturally relevant data, such as the digitized historical book and newspaper collection of the Austrian National Library, and thus facilitates research and scholarly use.

SACHA, is a contribution to the European digital infrastructure for the arts and humanities DARIAH, realized in cooperation of the Austrian National Library and the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The corpus available in SACHA contains approximately 600.000 digitized historical books (, 34.800 digitized postcards and 218.000 historical newspaper issues.

SACHA provides an implemented IIIF interface, allowing both human users and automated computational tools to access the digitized materials. Source images are provided via IIIFServer (IIPImage) and Loris Image Server, whereas metadata and full text are displayed through the implementation of the IIIF Presentation API. Users can access IIIF manifests, generated automatically from the library catalogue. Furthermore, SACHA allows users to create IIIF collections dynamically via determined identifiers ( or the result of a full text search (currently books only).

SACHA is also a crucial technology at the ONB Labs (, the Austrian National Library’s library lab, launched in November 2018. Via the ONB Labs website users can now create and save collections under the inclusion of items from different data sets (digitized newspapers and postcards). They can further share their collections publically and soon privately with individual collaborators. These collections then serve as a basis for other applications and tools provided by ONB Labs. In the near future, the creation of collections will be refined to allow for page-based selections. Over the period of two years, components to annotate user-generated collections based on IIIF and Open Annotations will be implemented. These annotations will again be designed to be sharable – both publically and privately – to further support collaborations via the services of ONB Labs. A service already implemented in ONB Labs is the provision of the Austrian National Library’s Linked Open Dataset – as data dump and via SPARQL Lab – again including IIIF resources provided by SACHA.

SACHA hosts instances of Mirador and Universal Viewer, allowing to easily display manifests and collections. By providing both viewers, users have the flexibility to base their selection on their specific research requirements. On the ONB Labs website, SACHA is integrated via OpenSeadragon Viewer and will in future iterations serve as a discovery interface, implemented via Elastic Search.

The focus of the herein suggested talk will be to share the technological aspects of the SACHA IIIF implementation, to present research opportunities provided via IIIF and to gather feedback from the developer community, as well as from researchers for current and future features.

The documentation of the SACHA interface is available at "".



  • Annotation, including full-text or academic use cases,
  • Discovering IIIF resources


  • user-generated collections,
  • dynamic manifests,
  • shareable collections,
  • cultural heritage assets,
  • user-generated annotations