Getty Common Image Service: Research & Design Report

Stefano Cossu - J. Paul Getty Trust (USA)

Presentation type: Presentation


The Getty is embarking into an institution-wide IIIF adoption process. We plan to

serve the vast majority of public images produced by the various Getty

programs, as well as the ones used by our internal content management

applications, via IIIF by 2022.

In addition to serving images, we plan to create IIIF Presentation manifests

from structural metadata coming from the Getty programs' repository

management systems. In later phases we also plan to implement the Auth API to

allow different levels of access to content for Getty staff or other privileged

users. Finally, we plan to build a robust central repository for annotations.

With these goals in mind we are currently building an ecosystem of

ETL applications and image servers capable of handling the delivery of the

about 50 million images and related metadata that the Getty expects to make

available online by the completion of the project. This system has been named

Getty Common Image Service (GCIS).

In order to sustain the foreseen and unforeseen challenges that publishing such

a large amount of content entails, we underwent an extensive research and design

period during which many aspects of our ecosystems have been evaluated.

Measurable comparisons of image server setups, source image formats and

methodologies for image conversion and normalization have

been performed, as well as strategic considerations related to sustainability

of the systems that were evaluated.

This presentation intends to give a brief summary of the project's goals and focus on sharing the process and results of the completed research,

indicating which solutions were chosen based on absolute parameters and

which others were choices specific to our project's needs.


  • IIIF Implementation Spectrum: large-scale or small-scale projects