Museum Community Letter to Digital Asset Management (DAM) Software Vendors

   |      May 01, 2017

FAO: DAM Software Vendors

Museums around the world rely on Digital Asset Management (DAM) Software to track and publish digital representations of their holdings. Recent collaborative efforts to provide interoperable access and functionality for digital images in the cultural heritage sector have led to the creation and adoption of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF, pronounced triple-EYE-eff), a standard method for requesting digital image derivatives, designed to support a wide range of interactivity and public engagement that museums and similar organizations want to offer their users. The IIIF community has grown rapidly to include the world’s leading cultural heritage institutions and image repositories, a Consortium of 41 member institutions to date (</community/consortium/>), a number of interest-specific community groups (</community/groups/>), including a IIIF Museums Community Group, and an email list with over 600 members (!forum/iiif-discuss). As interest in and adoption of IIIF continues to expand in the museum community and beyond, we urge DAM software vendors to incorporate native IIIF support into their products.

The goals of the IIIF community are to:

  • Develop, cultivate, and document shared solutions that enable a world-class user experience in viewing, comparing, manipulating, and annotating images.
  • Give scholars and allied professionals an unprecedented level of uniform and rich access to image-based resources hosted around the world.
  • Define a set of common application programming interfaces (APIs) that support interoperability between image-based systems.

When implemented, the IIIF API specifications (</get-started/>) save developers considerable time and reduce complexity when compared to using bespoke image repository solutions. A standardized, common set of APIs for accessing images and media enables rapid evolution of open source viewing tools and allows for plug-and-play with IIIF clients better suited for specific viewing experiences, for example, the Mirador Viewer ( IIIF enables museums to achieve their missions by delivering rich art experiences globally. Several prominent museums have started to implement the IIIF specifications in their online resources, including: the U.S. National Gallery of Art, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Yale Center for British Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Harvard Art Museums, Carnegie Museum of Art, the Paul Mellon Center, and The Frick Collection. IIIF is a stable and important component to digital resource development in the cultural heritage domain.

In order to realize the full potential of interoperability and optimized image delivery, we need your help as DAMS vendors, and we collectively urge you to get involved, join the IIIF-Discuss email list (!forum/iiif-discuss) and post questions, join our regularly scheduled IIIF community calls (</community/call/>), and build support for the IIIF APIs into your products. One DAM vendor is already supporting IIIF and we anticipate more will follow suit.

We are confident that some of the IIIF viewer clients would be useful as components of your product, and utilizing IIIF could be a cost-reducing effort. IIIF integration provides software vendors with a growing market of repositories and their users looking to utilize IIIF, a guaranteed web- and standards-friendly framework aligned with existing W3C specifications, and the ability to offer your clients innovative new uses and features from native capabilities. Furthermore, providing IIIF-support to your clients will allow them to present more compelling digital interfaces, provide increased interactivity and scholarly research with their images, and publish their images so they can be collocated with other relevant images from other cultural heritage organizations.

We welcome your questions, and we look forward to sharing our successes with the DAM community. Please feel free to reach out to the IIIF staff (, and we would be happy to consult with you.

Thank you for your consideration.


  • The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, US
  • Balboa Park Online Collaborative, San Diego, California, US
  • Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  • Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts, US
  • The Corning Museum of Glass, New York, US
  • De Vlaamse Kunstcollectie, The Flemish Art Collection, Belgium
  • Europeana Foundation, The Hague, Netherlands
  • The Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library, New York City, New York, US
  • Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
  • Glencairn Museum, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, US
  • Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts, US
  • Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana, US
  • The J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, California, US
  • The Jewish Museum, San Francisco, California, US
  • Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (KMSKA), Antwerp, Belgium
  • Lukas - Art in Flanders, Ghent, Belgium
  • Marvin Lipofsky Studio Archive, Berkeley, California, US
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York, US
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota, US
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Illinois, US
  • National Library of Sweden, Stockholm, Sweden
  • National Historical Museums, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden
  • PACKED - Centre of Expertise in Digital Heritage, Brussels, Belgium
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
  • Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon, US
  • Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, New Jersey, US
  • The Royal Armoury, Skokloster Castle and the Hallwyl Museum, Sweden
  • Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA), Brussels, Belgium
  • Royal Library of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium
  • Royal Museums of Art and History (KMKG-MRAH), Brussels, Belgium
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California, US
  • SMK - The National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Swedish National Archives, Stockholm, Sweden
  • The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, US