Using IIIF to Catalogue Ethiopian Binding Decoration

Gerlinde Schneider - Centre for Information Modelling, University of Graz (Austria), Sean M. Winslow - Centre for Information Modelling, University of Graz (Austria)

Presentation type: Lightning talk


Using IIIF to Catalogue Ethiopian Binding Decoration

Gerlinde Schneider, Sean M. Winslow

The Madgwas project aims at the creation of a database for the identification, cataloguing, and dating of Ethiopian manuscript binding tools and decoration. The database is intended to be an expandable resource, which uses semantic technologies to establish and visualize relations between a large number of tools and decorative patterns as well as their actual appearance on individual manuscripts. Relevant image resources are provided via several collections such as the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme, Princeton Library, and the Digital Bodleian, which are increasingly available through IIIF.

This talk shows how we reuse these resources and leverage the IIIF APIs for the realization of this concrete digital humanities project.

We will demonstrate a prototype tool we developed to browse through image collections to discover instances of binding decoration and to isolate and address the respective image regions via their the IIIF Image API URI. Subsequently, these regions can be annotated with a project-specific controlled vocabulary. This browser-based tool integrates the Mirador[1] Javascript library and the ImageCropper[2] Mirador plugin by the Bavarian State Library and is based on React.js[3]. It generates an RDF output, which can be directly imported into a triple store and thus integrated into the Madgwas data basis. Binding tool representations can thus be retrieved via their annotation and metadata and displayed side-by-side in a comparative way.

Further, we will discuss how how we integrate IIIF information within the context of our RDF data model.

The Madgwas database is an interesting use case for the compilation of distributed image data provided by different organizations and for the possibilities provided by IIIF when it comes to the unique addressing of image regions.





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


  • mirador,
  • Ethiopia,
  • manuscripts,
  • annotation,
  • RDF