Title:Building distributed online exhibitions with IIIF
Authors:Michael Appleby, Robert Sanderson
Publication:MW17: Museums and the Web 2017

The creation of online exhibitions—delivered via the web, mobile applications, or kiosks—often requires the painstaking duplication of images and object descriptions that are stored in collection management and digital asset management systems. This task is further complicated by the inclusion of objects held by other institutions, whether they have been loaned for the exhibition or are present only in the online version. The end product of this effort is most often a digital exhibition that itself is managed within its own data silo and maintained in a format that does not facilitate reuse or discovery.

In this presentation we will describe how the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) can benefit curators and technologists as they work together to build online exhibitions. Using examples from the collections of the Getty and the Yale Center for British Art, we will discuss how the interoperability provided by IIIF allows exhibition creators to easily assemble collections of objects from many different institutions; bring display metadata into the online exhibition without manual data entry; and enrich the content with annotations, such as highlights of regions of interest within images or allowing feedback from either select participants or the public, as desired. We will also demonstrate how the content of the exhibition can be reused in other contexts, because of the interoperable nature of the descriptions. The presentation will conclude with an overview of the IIIF-compatible tools that are available to support online exhibitions, as well as a discussion of the ways in which vendors and the museum community can contribute to the advancement of interoperable software.