IIIF Omnibus - looking back at the 2018 IIIF Conference in Washington D.C.

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2018 IIIF Logo

Foreword

Hello there! Here is small blog post about the 2018 IIIF Conference which I had the chance to attend. The event took place in Washington D.C. between May 21 and 25 and was jointly hosted by the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Folger Shakespeare Library.

If you’ve never heard of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF - pronounced “triple-eye-eff”), I recommend you take a look at these two very useful resources:

  • Getting started with IIIF, originally presented by Jack Reed and Drew Winget (Stanford University) during a workshop at the 2017 Code4Lib Conference in Los Angeles, CA
  • An introduction to IIIF by Tom Crane, Technical Director at Digirati and one of the IIIF Editors.

And if you don’t feel confident enough to read these resources in English, here are a couple of things in three other languages:

I am sorry about the imbalance between the different blocks. As the conference progressed, I took fewer notes. I hold Washington D.C. and its bars responsible. I punctuated this post with a lot of tweets and images as I didn’t want to bore you (and also because most things are better said by others).

Why I went to the 2018 IIIF Conference

Six weeks* ago I was in Washington D.C. for the 2018 IIIF Conference to meet the usual suspects (“IIIFers”) as well as new folks from this amazing and growing community. The reasons were threefold:

  1. As part of the Program Committee, I couldn’t miss an event that we started organizing in December. Speaking of which, it was a great, but time-consuming, experience.
  2. I had a 20-minute presentation on Thursday, May 24th at the Library of Congress about Towards IIIF-Compliance Knowledge in Switzerland (TICKS), the project that René Schneider, the professor I work with in Geneva, and myself have been conducting. I swear that I haven’t reviewed my own proposal. :innocent:
  3. I love the social events and informal activities happening around this community. :beers:

Note: By the way, it took me four weeks to finish this small blog post. So the introduction used to be “three weeks ago…”

The workshops

On the Monday, we had pre-conference workshops at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, which is near the Smithsonian Castle. I chose to follow:

  • Train the Trainer and IIIF Awesome in the morning
  • IIIF and Annotations in the afternoon

Train the Trainer

Jason Ronallo, Department Head of Digital Library Initatives at the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries, started his Train the trainer workshop (titled here “Teaching with IIIF”) by asking participants to consider these five key questions:

  1. What 1-3 things have you learned from teaching IIIF?
  2. What are the challenges to teaching IIIF?
  3. What are effective approaches? What’s most convincing? What has wowed folks?
  4. What questions have you gotten?
  5. What resources did you use? What’s missing?

I sadly didn’t take any notes, but there should be a couple of things that I should be able to recall! Jason and other participants (Emma Stanford from the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, Sophie Dixon from Mnemoscene, and someone I can’t remember) shared with us their experience and gave us their tips as well as ideas on how to run training sessions around IIIF. It was a great

I really like the visual aspect of Jason’s new version of the workshop which contains tips, checkmarks, copy-paste fallbacks as well as bonus material and challenge exercices. For the latter, I see it as a real added value because if it’s already hard to manage participants who are in difficulty, it is even more challenging (in my opinion) to satisfy people who find the exercises too easy and who might get bored. Emma suggested to create ready-to-go toolkits such as HTML5 templates (pointing to an instance of Mirador) for academics who don’t have time to understand how to publish IIIF manifests. Sophie talked about her experience on how Omeka can enhance accessibility of smaller archives project, notably with the integration of the Universal Viewer.

We didn’t really have time to go though all of Jason’s slides before the morning break. I would have liked it to be slightly longer but I reckon that we did cover most aspects of the workshop. I wonder if next time people could simulate a part of a lesson/worksho/seminar on IIIF.

After the break, Jason talked about the Awesome IIIF list that is available on GitHub and we went through some issues and pull resquests as a group. I really liked the hands-on approach of this workshop. We can also count on new curators of awesome! – Please join the crew!

IIIF and Annotations

After lunch, Matt McGrattan, Head of Digital Library Solutions at Digirati, conducted the IIIF and Annotations workshop. I chose to do this one in the afternoon because I really want to understand how institutions and inviduals want to implement an annotations server and how they want the annotations to be curated.

There wasn’t a fixed agenda (as stated in https://mattmcgrattan.github.io/Washington%20Annotation%20Workshop/Agenda.html) but here were the different (and possible) topics that this workshop encompassed:

  • IIIF & Annotations
  • W3C Model and Protocol
  • Annotation Servers & Clients
  • Show & Tell
  • Use Cases
  • Problems
  • Cookbook

It was a very interesting session where some participants talked about their use cases and the way they want annotations to be handled within the IIIF ecosystem in terms of user experience, authentication, discovery and notification, preservation and versioning, as well as semantics aspects.

I really liked the emphasis on user experience (who wouldn’t?) and I am curious to see if the IIIF Community could provide enough good recipes around annotations in the cookbook. :point_right: please add any cookbook entries here: https://github.com/IIIF/api/issues/1409.

The IIIF Showcase

On a rainy and stormy Tuesday there was a showcase.

The IIIF Showcase was a free event that took place in the Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium on May 22. Kate Zwaard, Director of Digital Strategy at the LoC, opened the showcase by giving a great speach on how the IIIF ecosystem could empower end users. She also acknowledged the great work done by institutions and inviduals from the IIIF community.

After being welcomed by Kate Zwaard, we had our (now) traditional presentation from Tom Cramer, Assistant University Librarian and Chief Technoly Strategist at Stanford University, who didn’t miss an opportunity to talk about the cultural heritage sector before (or without) IIIF represented by the silos.

Here is the link to the Silo picture (Grain elevators, Calwell, Idaho by Russell Lee taken in 1941): https://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2178285893 (which is held at the Library of Congress!)

Last March, I was in Paris at the IIIF event that Biblissima organised and some IIIFers thought it’d be a good idea to create a gif. Here is my small contribution (with images taken from presentations given by many individuals from the IIIF community):

Breaking silos with IIIF

The rest of the IIIF Showcase was programmed this way:

  • IIIF Community Use cases
  • Panel: What does the future look like with interoperable collections?
  • APIs, viewers and A/V
  • Community, Consortium and fun with IIIF
  • Commercial support and innovations

By the way, the IIIF showcase was recorded and all presentations should be at some point available on the IIIF Youtube channel.

During the entire Showcase, we had two American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and I was fascinated. I was obvisously not the only person.

And when I said “rainy and stormy Tuesday”, I wasn’t kidding at all. Go see this video that Tom Cramer captured near the Library of Congress just after the IIIF Showcase.

All the great presentations from the Showcase and the Conference can be found in a dedicated directory of the IIIF Google Drive.

The 2018 IIIF Conference

I can’t remember the number of partipants who were new to IIIF, that it was actually pretty high for the IIIF Showcase and the proportion was a little bit lower for the Conference.

The first day of the conference happened like Tuesday at the Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium in the Jefferson Building (plenary) and the two other days in the Madison Building (parallel sessions).

Plenary conference on Wednesday, May 23

On Wednesday, we started the plenary conference with these two blocks:

  • IIIF Community Group Updates
  • Technical Sepcification Status Update

For each of these sessions, we had one co-chair per group who talked five to ten minutes and some time for the audience to ask questions at the end. To me, the highlight was of course this great slide from Rob Sanderson talking about cross version usage of IIIF APIs:

After the break, the lightning talks started and my goodness these were all great! But again, here are the ones I really appreciated:

  • Emma Stanford’s Packing Light: Building the Bodleian’s metadata block :point_right: I like the emphasis on best practices on how metadata manifests should look like once displayed in a IIIF viewer
  • Visualizing which parts of IIIF images are looked by users by Chifumi Nishioka (Kyoto University) and Kiyonori Nagasaki (University of Tokyo) :point_right: I really loved the use of heatmaps. It was a very interesting machine learning study conducted by the two Japanese universities.
  • Going beyond the viewer by Jack Reed (Stanford University) :point_right: who wouldn’t want to have high-resolution maps on their Apple TV?
  • GLAM2IIIF: Papering over the cataloguing gaps by Richard Palmer (Victoria and Albert Museum) :point_right: I mean what the V&A does always amazes me and also Richard found great titles to each of his slides.
  • Marri Nyröp (Columbia University Libraries) gave a great last lightning talk on Wax, “a minimal IIIF exhibitions with Jekyll” :point_right: Great ways for students and small institutions to create a IIIF-compliant website and to learn how to use git

Parallel sessions on Thursday and Friday, May 24-25

On Thursday, I was pretty nervous as I was the first to present TICKS, my little project on how to persuade Swiss institutions to go IIIF, in the Dining Room A.

After my presentation, I went mostly the ones that the editors convened (let’s ratify, hell yeah!):

  • Discussion of Process to Register IIIF API Extensions
  • Discussion and Ratification of Version 3.0 Image and Presentation APIs

Here are the notes of these sessions.

In the afternoon, I also went to the A/V presentations in the Montpelier room, especially to listen to my mate Andy and the way the British Library will handle the massive audiovisual collection they have.

On Friday, I was naturally a little bit sad as it was the last day of a great (and mostly sunny and warm) conference. Because I had some trouble with my credit card, I actually missed most of the presentations and managed to see just the end of “Implementing all of the APIs, lessons learned and challenges tackled” in the Dining Room A.

I went then to the Montpelier room again to witness three great presentations:

  • ‘All the World’s a Stage’: Diverse case studies for IIIF at the Folger Shakespeare Library by Stacey Redick and Meaghan Brown :point_right: I really like the different use cases and user stories that the Folger have come up with to enhance Miranda, their platform to “rule them all”
  • Improving Access to Primary Sources of Law with IIIF by Mark Matney (University of California, Los Angeles) :point_right: intersting use of Ocracoke to build proof of concept of IIIF in the context of legal documents
  • Beyond the viewer: more windows on our shared digital space by Tom Crane (Digirati) :point_right: amazing presentation about Digirati’s Canvas Panel creating “the IIIF round trip experience” which is better explained by its author in this blog post

Due to Memoriay Day Weekend in the USA, the conference closed at lunch time. Some of us went to have a look at the Library of Congress wonders. We were guided by one very knowledgeable LoC staff member (I can’t remember his name though).

Receptions and other great social activities

On Tuesday, we the chance to go to the Folger Shakespeare for a wine reception with light fare (light? They served an excellent and large buffet) just after the IIIF Showcase.

Before going to the reception, I went back to my airbnb, changed my soaked clothes and eventually decided that I should always have an umbrella by my side!

On Wednesday, we had a really great reception at the Smithsonian Castle (well not a castle by European standards, but still a very beautiful and impressive mansion I reckon).

Other days nothing was officially planned but with a couple of amazing IIIFers, we decided on Thursday to go to Muzette, a nice Korean karaoke with private booths. We hope that when the Presentation API 3.0 will be implemented by institutions, they will organize IIIF-based karaokes!

IIIF Omnibus (IIIF for All)

The IIIF Code of Conduct states that “IIIF is an inclusive, friendly and safe community, committed to openness and transparency in all interactions and activities.”

But we still have to do our best to reach out to minority groups and make them feel included.

In order to spread the good word of IIIF, we need as a community to organise as many regional events as possible!

A IIIF Community Group for archives will probably come to life by the end of the year. Some information in the last IIIF newsletter: http://iiif.io/news/2018/07/03/newsletter/

To conclude, I would like to thank this fantastic community full of amazing people. But I would especially like to thank Glen Robson who does a wonderful job as the IIIF Technical Coordinator.

Bonus: Strolling around Washington D.C.

When I discover a new place, I like to do it on foot and as a European, I always find that neat city street systems like grid plan or quadrant are fascinating, especially in North America, Australia, and let’s be fair some European cities (such as Lisbon). Only in those cities would a walk with three street changes can take you about 50 minutes. :walking:

DC Stroll

Also, I recommend AXNO on Florida Avenue, they have great ciders.

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