International Image Interoperability Framework

What is IIIF?

The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) is a set of technology standards intended to make it easier for researchers, students and the public at large to view, manipulate, compare and annotate digital images on the web. It has been adopted, or is in the process of being adopted, by many of the world's great cultural institutions who have been systematically digitizing their collections for years. Learn more about the IIIF community.

The goal of IIIF is to make it simple to find images, open them in the web platform of your choice, and easily manipulate them, analyze them and compare them to images from other institutions.

IIIF logo When you see the IIIF logo in a search result or record for an image, you know that it is available to use with IIIF-compatible viewers.

What is a IIIF viewer?

When you visit the websites of a digital library, museum or online archive you will often be able to zoom and pan around high resolution images, change their appearance and navigate complex objects like scanned books. The technology in the browser that gives you this ability is what we refer to as an image viewer. The user experience of these viewers varies from site to site, offering you different controls and features. Historically these viewers were set up to only view images from one institution.

A IIIF viewer not only fully supports the IIIF open standard, but also is capable of rendering images from any institution that supports the standard. For example, the same viewer on a Stanford website can not only open Stanford-hosted images, but also images available on Digital Bodleian or any IIIF-compliant image repository.

What are the different IIIF viewers?

There are a growing number of viewers that are capable of rendering IIIF-compatible images. See a list of viewers and demos.

Mirador is an open-source IIIF Viewer that was initially developed at Stanford and is now used by many cultural heritage institutions to showcase their holdings. The project is maintained and developed in collaboration with Harvard, the National Gallery of Art and several other institutions from around the world. Mirador is unique in that it allows the user to open multiple images in the same workspace to compare side-by-side and even draw annotations to highlight and describe regions of the image. Try Mirador here.

How do I view an image in a IIIF viewer?

Play the video at the top of this page to learn how to drag and drop the IIIF icon into Mirador, and then compare it to an image from the Digital Bodleian using the same drag and drop action.

Last updated April 16, 2024