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Digital library architecture

Spotlights in the Centre Ceramique, Maastricht

by Stu Snydman & Gary Geisler

The Stanford University Libraries (SUL) have a rich and diverse collection of digital content. Users can discover collections and content from the Stanford Digital Repository through the library website, library catalog (SearchWorks), and persistent citation (PURL) pages. SUL also develops robust, custom-built websites for selected  collections (see Parker on the Web and the French Revolution Digital Archive) that provide a rich discovery environment and a range of features that enable users to more effectively work with the collection items. But these sites require significant investment in time and development resources to produce and maintain, limiting the number and variety SUL can support.

The International Image Interoperability Framework (http://lib.stanford.edu/iiif) is an initiative driven by several major research and national libraries to enable the rich and robust delivery of digital images through common interfaces, and to spur the development of open source and commercial software solutions in this space.

The IIIF Working Group invites comment and feedback on a proposed API for the the delivery of images via a standard http request. The full specification can be found at:

http://library.stanford.edu/iiif/image-api

The IIIF Image API specifies a web service that returns an image in response to a standard http or https request. The URL can specify the region, size, rotation, quality characteristics and format of the requested image. A URL can also be constructed to request basic technical information about the image to support client applications.