CETAF to adopt IIIF standard for sharing images of natural history objects


The Information Science & Technology Commission (ISTC, a CETAF’s Working Group), just approved the use of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) as a standard way for sharing images of natural history objects. It’s also decided that those images will be linked to the CETAF stable Identifiers.


“This is the first time that IIIF has been used in the natural science world, although it was previously widely used in the digital humanities communities” – explains Roger Hyam, member of ISTC and scientist from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh – “Synthesys+ Task 4.3 (part of the larger DiSSCo initiative) gave us the opportunity to establish IIIF as the preferred way to share images of natural history specimens. Our community is very good at sharing metadata about natural history objects but images of those objects have previously only been shared as single, compressed files. This changes with the adoption of IIIF. We are now able to share zoomable, high-resolution images in a uniform way. This will benefit the increasing number of natural history collection digitisation initiatives. They will be able to provide access to their images at the original resolution and, in due course, overlay annotations to those images.”


“This is pure Article 17 of the Convention on Biological Diversity put in practice” – says Anton Güntsch, Chair of ISTC and scientist from the Botanischer Garten Berlin – “the idea is that researchers should work as they have the specimen in their hands, reducing barriers caused by history and geography. Using IIIF standard for sharing multimedia objects, as other communities do, means significantly improving the interoperability of such data” – explains Güntsch – “and of course benefitting from a rapidly growing ecosystem conceived for IIIF applications”.


“That’s another example of the commitment of our Working Groups, continuously trying to improve the life of the community and the way we work and interact” – says Ana Casino, CETAF’s Executive Director – “The documentation is reporting best practices about the use of IIIF in the CETAF community includes technical assistance, exciting case studies and a list of existing implementations by CETAF Member Institutions. This document will be maintained collaboratively by the scientists adhering to the CETAF’s community.”


https://cetafidentifiers.biowikifarm.net/wiki/IIIF  ←


For further information, please contact 

Roger Hyam (rhyam@rbge.org.uk) or Anton Güntsch (a.guentsch@bgbm.org)

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