Interoperable Platforms and CLIR Initiatives: A Global Perspective

Fenella G France - Library of Congress / CLIR (USA), Wayne Graham - CLIR (USA), Charles Henry - CLIR (USA), Elliott Shore - CLIR (USA)

Presentation type: Panel


The need for interoperable platforms to share cultural heritage information is an important aspect in the digital realm, especially for cultural heritage institutions that are federating collections and reuniting them in the digital realm. The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has long promoted interoperability and the need for sustainable open source data practices for digital initiatives. CLIR is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning. With many initiatives becoming more globally focused, the need for linked open usable data (LOUD) becomes critical for true collaboration and cooperation. The mission of CLIR is to be “explicit in wanting to influence the collective behaviors, politics, and technological advancements that can contribute to a more sustainable intellectual environment. Projects such as the Digitization of Hidden Collections; the postdoctoral fellowships in data curation, which now encompass more than 20 academic disciplines; and the Digital Library of the Middle East all require years of execution in order to help reshape and invigorate our inherited academic milieu” (Charles Henry, President, CLIR).

The audience for library, archive and museum collections is increasingly diverse, with researchers running the gamut from public, academic, federal and increasingly, collaborative research groups. One of the recent CLIR international ventures is the Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME), an initiative to federate and connect dispersed collections to make these available for relocated populations from conflict zones, and allow for the digital access and connection of these collections in institutions around the world. Pangia, an international collaborative effort to create a global digital library, is next on CLIR’s horizon.

Part of the new focus for these and other initiatives is the need for interoperable and open source tools for reuse of data and through these tools, re-engaging users with new ways of using data – from economic impact to integrated humanities and heritage science data. CLIR has worked not only to create platforms for global initiatives, but also to develop the workforce to we need to make these aspirations into realities, through its CLIR/Mellon dissertation and postdoctoral fellows, its Leading Change Institute (a partnership with EDUCAUSE) and its Postdoctoral Fellows Program that is dedicated to digital curation.

Research data created from collections and needed for preserving these collections is inherently multi-disciplinary, drawing colleagues from a diverse range of fields – history, literature, humanities, chemistry, physics, material science, engineering, and archeology, to name a few. The need for authoritative linked open data (LOD) is critical to enable efficient collaboration and accurate sharing of research data between aligned fields. Currently a Data Visualization Project Initiative (DVP) has created a cloud-based integration of scientific data analyses linked to geo-located data on a visual rendering of the heritage object. This initiative uses the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), expanding the framework and open access through the Mirador viewer to include scientific data from a range of disciplines. One of the challenges with including the scientific and humanities data is linking to authoritative sources for instrumentation, methods, and scientific definitions, terminology and vocabulary within the IIIF framework. The initiative is also focused on creating datasets that are reusable and active, rather than static data created for one purpose.


  • Annotation, including full-text or academic use cases,
  • IIIF Implementation Spectrum: large-scale or small-scale projects,
  • Interoperability in IIIF contexts,
  • Implementations of IIIF outside of North America/Europe


  • interoperable,
  • library,
  • LOD,
  • collaborative