Recogito: Semantic Geo-Annotation and IIIF

Rainer Simon - Austrian Institute of Technology (Austria)

Presentation type: Presentation


In this talk, we will present Recogito, a Web-based environment for collaborative semantic annotation. Recogito is open source software, and provides support for working with either text or image documents, including those served via the IIIF protocol. Originally, the tool has been designed with a focus on scholarly geographic annotation, i.e. the transcription, marking up and geo-resolving of maps and geographical texts such as itineraries and travel reports, in the context of historical scholarship (e.g. to map or extract data from a specific document, or to prepare a digital edition). More recently, however, we have been expanding the feature set significantly in order to provide more general annotation functionality. Through an easy-to-use interface, users can: navigate digitized documents; create personal collections; add comments; tag (and build up tagging vocabularies); transcribe toponyms and geo-resolve them by linking to gazetteers. Users can either work alone in a closed workspace, together as groups of collaborators on shared documents, or in a public setting, using Recogito as a crowdsourcing platform. Recogito keeps track of version history and edit provenance, can be customized with different gazetteers for geo-resolution, and supports a range of import and export formats. Most importantly, Recogito supports import of images by means of IIIF collection manifests, as well as import of text in TEI format. Export formats are available to support a variety of user needs and scenarios, and include CSV, GeoJSON, TEI and W3C Web Annotation.

In this talk, we will first present an overview of Recogito’s feature set and user interface. We will then outline some scenarios for how annotation offers opportunities for archives and libraries who are publishing their collections through IIIF to engage new audiences, aid scholarly research, and leverage the community to harvest new and more fine-grained metadata about their holdings - including metadata that creates links beyond the confines of the institutional catalogue. We will present examples for how Recogito has been used previously, and provide an outlook on Recogito’s further development roadmap, which is presently supported financially through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Last but not least, we will discuss issues of interoperability and tool pipelines: i.e. possible technical approaches through which institutions and libraries can make use of Recogito for their own collections in different ways; and for how Recogito can be beneficially used in conjunction with other platforms, such as e.g. transcription tools or machine learning environments.

Additional information about Recogito is available at our source code repository Free access to a hosted version of the software is available at


  • Annotation, including full-text or academic use cases,
  • Linked Open “Usable” Data (LOUD) and IIIF


  • Semantic Annotation,
  • Gazetteers,
  • IIIF,
  • Annotation,
  • TEI