IIIF Technical Workshop and Showcase March 2017

Improving Access to Image Collections

On 16th and 17th March the University of Edinburgh and National Library of Scotland will be hosting two International Image Interoperability Framework events.

IIIF Showcase

The IIIF Showcase brings together developers and early adopters to explain the background and value of IIIF, its growing community, and the potential of the Framework and the innovative ways in which it can be used to present digital image collections. There will be presentations from Edinburgh University Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales, Durham University, University College Dublin, The Bodleian Library, Digirati, Cogapp and others.

Logistics

  • Registration: Registration is free but capacity is limited.
  • Date: Friday, March 17, 2017
  • Location: National Library of Scotland (NLS) Boardroom on George IV Bridge (see map)
  • Audience: Individuals and institutional representatives interested in learning more about IIIF
  • Code of Conduct: The IIIF Code of Conduct applies to all IIIF events and related activities.
  • Social Media: Tweets about the event should use #iiif and @iiif_io.

IIIF Technical Workshop

The IIIF Technical Workshop unconference, hosted by the University of Edinburgh at Argyle House, will bring together colleagues who have implemented IIIF services, are developing the Framework and associated tools, and working on community initiatives. The workshop will provide opportunities to discuss implementations, issues, initiatives and developments and the forthcoming Annual IIIF conference in June.

Logistics

  • Registration: Registration is free but capacity is limited.
  • Date: Thursday, March 16, 2017
  • Location: University of Edinburgh Argyle House (see map)
  • Audience: Developers already working with IIIF or considering an implementation
  • Code of Conduct: The IIIF Code of Conduct applies to all IIIF events and related activities.
  • Social Media: Tweets about the event should use #iiif and @iiif_io.

Library Digital Development investigate IIIF

Quick caveat: this post is a partner to the one Claire Knowles has written about our signing up to the IIIF Consortium, so the explanation of the acronym will not be explained here!

The Library Digital Development team decided to investigate the standard due to its appearance at every Cultural Heritage-related conference we’d attended in 2015, and we thought it would be apposite to update everyone with our progress.

First things first: we have managed to make some progress on displaying IIIF formatting to show what it does. Essentially, the standard allows us to display a remotely-served image on a web page, with our choice of size, rotation, mirroring and cropped section without needing to write CSS, HTML, or use Photoshop to manipulate the image; everything is done through the URL. The Digilib IIIF Server was very simple to get up and running (for those that are interested, it is distributed as a Java webapp that runs under Apache Tomcat), so here it is in action, using the standard IIIF URI syntax of [http://[server domain]/[webapp location]/[specific image identifier]/[region]/[size]/[mirror][rotation]/[quality].[format]]!

The URL for the following (image 0070025c.jpg/jp2) would be:

[domain]/0070025/full/full/0/default.jpg

Poster

This URL is saying, “give me image 0070025 (in this case an Art Collection poster), at full resolution, uncropped, unmirrored and unrotated: the standard image”.

[domain]/0070025/300,50,350,200/200,200/!236/default.jpg

posterbit

This URL says, “give me the same image, but this time show me co-ordinates 300px in from the left, 50 down from the top, to 350 in from the left, to 200 down from the top (of the original); return it at a resolution of 200px x 200px, rotate it at an angle of 236 degrees, and mirror it”.

The server software is only one part of the IIIF Image API: the viewer is very important too. There are a number of different viewers around which will serve up high-resolution zooming of IIIF images, and we tried integrating OpenSeaDragon with our Iconics collection to see how it could look when everything is up and running (this is not actually using IIIF interaction at this time, rather Microsoft DeepZoom surrogates, but it shows our intention). We cannot show you the test site, unfortunately, but our plan is that all our collections.ed.ac.uk sites, such as Art and Mimed, which have a link to the LUNA image platform, can have that replaced with an embedded high-res image like this. At that point, we will be able to hide the LUNA collection from the main site, thus saving us from having to maintain metadata in two places.

deepzoom

We have also met, as Claire says, the National Library’s technical department to see how they are doing with IIIF. They have implemented rather a lot using Klokan’s IIIFServer and we have investigated using this, with its integrated viewer on both Windows and Docker. We have only done this locally, so cannot show it here, but it is even easier to set up and configure than Digilib. Here’s a screenshot, to show we’re not lying.

eyes

Our plan to implement the IIIF Image API involves LUNA though. We already pay them for support and have a good working relationship with them. They are introducing IIIF in their next release so we intend to use that as a IIIF Server. It makes sense- we use LUNA for all our image management, it saves us having to build new systems, and because the software generates JP2K zoomable images, we don’t need to buy anything to do that (this process is not open, no matter how Open Source the main IIIF software may be!). We expect this to be available in the next month or so, and the above investigation has been really useful, as the experience with other servers will allow us to push back to LUNA to say “we think you need to implement this!”. Here’s a quick prospective screenshot of how to pick up a IIIF URL from the LUNA interface.

IIIFMenu

We still need to investigate more viewers (for practical use) and servers (for investigation), and we need to find out more about the Presentation API, annotations etc., but we feel we are making good progress nonetheless.

Scott Renton, Digital Developer

Board Game Jam: Creating Openly-Licensed Board Games

At Innovative Learning Week this year we worked with students to develop board games using images from the CRC Flickr account as inspiration. Their challenge was to design a game which used at least three images from Open Educational Resource sites, one of which had to come from the CRC collection. The games also had to include at least three different game mechanics, be openly licensed and have a full set of rules.

Our groups created four fantastic and diverse games and we filmed them explaining their games. Read more below and view the full playlist at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwJ2VKmefmxqqLjTK3kQrsASfefaVWz_K.

Apocalypse Later

Apocalypse Later is a card game in which players cooperate to overcome challenges ranging from volcano eruptions through to a zombie apocalypse, drawing and playing cards to gain advantages and advance in the game. One character is secretly a ‘mole’, whose sole purpose is to prevent the team from winning the game! The game features images from Anton Koberger’s German bible, the seal of Robert the Bruce and a decorated page from the Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the CRC image collection.

Game rules: bit.ly/1TgeKbf

Cultured Ai (Arts for Ai)

In this art-themed board game, players take control of larvae hunting for works of art in various locations across the University. The larvae are highly cultured beings and need inspiration from art works in order to stay alive! Players draw cards representing different types of art (e.g. painting, sculpture) and have to decide whether to play them immediately for in-game bonuses / penalties or retain them for scoring at the end of the game. The player with the highest art value at the end is the winner. Cultured Ai (Arts for Ai) uses CRC plans of McEwan Hall, the Medical School and Glencoe Ballachulish for the game board.

Game Rules: Bit.ly/1mwFqGk

 The Mouse Hunt

In The Mouse Hunt, players compete in two teams vying for domination of an 18th century Edinburgh tenement! On one side, a team of mice attempts to drive the human inhabitants mad by digging tunnels and making a lot of noise. On the other side, humans set traps and try to rid the house of the rodent infestation! The house in which the game is set was inspired by historical images of Edinburgh from the CRC collection.

Game Rules: Bit.ly/1ox6G9y

Mythical Continents

In Mythical Continents, players sail the seven seas fighting monsters and collecting relics hidden across the globe. Movement is governed by a wind dial (modelled on the Kalendar and Astronomical Tables from the CRC collection) and players complete to bring all treasures back to Nessie, drawing event and monster cards along the way!

Game Rules: bit.ly/20Zi3os

We had great fun designing board games  and would be very keen to run the session again – please do get in touch if you’d be interested in being involved!

More information on finding, creating, and sharing your own Open Educational Resources can be found on the Open.Ed website.

Gavin Willshaw and Stephanie (Charlie) Farley

(Thanks also to Danielle Howarth for all the pictures and videos!)

IIIF – International Image Interoperability Framework

The next big thing
Inspirational quote on the side of a University of Ghent building, St. Pietersnieuwstraat 33.

The adoption of IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) has been gaining momentum over the past few years for digitised images. Adoption of IIIF for serving images allows users to rotate, zoom, crop, and compare images from different institutions side by side. Scott and I attended the IIIF conference in Ghent earlier this month to learn more about IIIF, so we can decide how we can move forward at the University of Edinburgh to adopt IIIF for our images.

On the Monday we attended a technical meeting at the University of Ghent Library, this session really helped us to understand the architecture of the two IIIF APIs (image and presentation) and speak to others who have implemented IIIF at their institutions.

The main event was on Tuesday at the beautiful Ghent Opera House, where there were lots of short presentations about different use-cases for IIIF adoption and the different applications that have been developed. If you are interested in adoption IIIF at your institution I recommend looking at Glen Robson’s slides on how the National Library of Wales has implemented IIIF. I can see myself coming back to these slides again and again, along with those on the two APIs.

Whilst we were in Ghent there was a timely update from LUNA Imaging, whose application we use as an imaging repository on their plans to support IIIF.

Thanks to everyone we met in Ghent who was willing to share with us their experiences of implementing IIIF and to the organisers for a great event in a beautiful city (and our stickers).

IIIF Meeting in Ghent Opera House
IIIF Meeting in Ghent Opera House

If you want to keep up to date with IIIF development please join the Google Group iiif-discuss@googlegroups.com

Claire Knowles and Scott Renton

Library Digital Development Team

 

 

Opening Doors with Bluetooth Beacons

Location-based intelligence is a growing area of importance in the academic library environment (as identified in the most recent NMC Horizon Report) and we’ve been exploring how Bluetooth beacons can be used to deliver information and content to users based on their location in the library space.

Earlier this year we used the technology with Google Glass to create an immersive visitor experience as part of the Something Blue exhibition: beacons were placed next to several exhibits in the gallery space and when users came within proximity, a video was activated on the Glass headset.GG1

More recently, we’ve started to explore ways in which beacons can be used to provide tours of the library building itself. There are several potential use cases for this, such as a tour for new undergraduates showing them where key services are located, or a tour of the paintings on display in the main library for art enthusiasts, but we decided to create a tour of the building for the general public in order to tie in with Doors Open Day 2015. Our library was designed by the British architect Sir Basil Spence and A-listed in 2006: its history is of real interest to our visitors.

Working with colleagues from across Information Services, we developed a tour app (available from the Apple App Store and Google Play) which uses beacons to tell the story of the library building and service.Doors Open Day App 1Beacons were set up at seven locations and users who had installed the app on their phone were sent a notification whenever they came into proximity of one – tapping the notification provided the user with a short, 1-2 minute long, video about the area they were in, such as this general introduction to the building:

We had originally hoped to use beacons to create a form of ‘internal GPS’ to show the user their location in the library space (much like the blue ‘you are here’ dot on Google Maps) but we found that their inaccuracy over three metres made it impossible to trilaterate location accurately enough.

Doors-Open-Day-App-4

Around 50 people downloaded the tour over the weekend and the feedback was extremely positive. We learned some important lessons from this application, which will inform future uses of technology in this way.

  • Have a backup content delivery mechanism: make sure the content can be accessed manually through the app if the beacons don’t work. This also allows visitors to access the videos once they have left the building.
  • Have staff on hand to help people download the app: many visitors needed assistance to access the Wi-Fi network and download the app from the relevant online store.
  • Make sure Wi-Fi is available: provide Wi-Fi so that visitors don’t need to use their data connection to download the app, particularly as apps can be quite large (our app was 50MB). We set up a Wi-Fi hotspot for people who didn’t have access to the network.
  • Provide some basic signage in the physical space: let people know when they are in a beacon zone and provide QR codes linking to the app stores in order to assist with the download.
  • Bluetooth: make sure users switch it on!
  • The content is more important than the medium: we got good feedback for our experiment but, ultimately, a beacon is just a delivery mechanism and it was crucial that we provided high quality content. It took in the region of 50 staff hours to create seven two-minute videos.
  • Having to download an app is a huge barrier: the need to download an app prevented many visitors from engaging with the tour.

We’re continuing to explore the use of beacons in the library space and recently secured funding to see how Google’s new Eddystone beacon can be used to provide information and updates to library users throughout the building. We are especially keen on exploring the potential for Eddystone to bypass the need to download an app and will blog more as the project progresses!

Gavin Willshaw (Library & University Collections) , Ben Butchart (Edina), Sandy Buchanan (Edina), Claire Knowles (Library & University Collections)

Bridging Gaps at the British Museum

IMG_1790The overwhelming setting of the British Museum played host to this year’s Museums Computer Group “Museums and the Web” Conference, and as usual, a big turnout from museums institutions all over the UK came, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. The theme (“Bridging Gaps and Making Connections”) was intended to encourage thought about identifying creative spaces between physical museums collections and digital developments, where such spaces are perhaps too big, and how they can be exploited. As usual, there was far too much interesting content to cover fully in a blogpost- everything was thought-provoking, but I’ve picked out a few highlights.

Two projects highlighted collaboration between museums, which can be creatively explosive, and immediately improve engagement. Russell Dornan at The Wellcome Institute showed us #MuseumInstaSwap, where museums paired off and filled their social media feeds with the other museum’s content. Raphael Chanay at MuseoMix, meanwhile, arguably took this a step further by getting multiple institutions to bring their objects to a neutral location (Iron Bridge in Shropshire, Derby Silk Mill), and forming teams to build creative prototypes out of them across the digital and physical spaces. Could our museums collections be exploited in similar ways? Who could we partner up with?

I like to think that our “digital and physical” teams in L&UC collaborate very effectively. Keynote speaker John Coburn from TWAM (Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums) spoke of the importance of this intra-institution collaboration. You will (almost) never find a project that is run entirely from within the digital or physical sphere (Fiona Talbott from the HLF confirmed this- 510 of 512 recent bids had digital outputs relating to physical content), and the ability of the digital area and the content providers to communicate and work together is key. One very good example of this was the Tributaries app, built with sound artists, the history team, archives and so on, to put together an immersive audio experience of lost Tyneside voices from World War I. He also spoke of their TNT (Try New Things) initiative (also creatively explosive!) where staff sign up to do innovation with the collections, effectively in their spare time. With the Innovation Fund encouraging creativity, how do we work this into our daily lives? Can we? If not, how do we incentivise people to do it outwith their spare time? One of the gloomier observations of the day was that, with austerity, there is less and less money in the sector, which is likely to get worse after next month’s spending review. This austerity can breed creativity, though, and it’s good for digital, because people need to ‘work smarter’.

Another really interesting project is going on at the Tate, where they are combining their content with the Khan Academy learning platform. Rebecca Sinker and colleagues showed us how content can be levered and resurrected through a series of video tutorials around the content (be they archival, technical, biographical etc). Pushing the collaborative textual content from the comments area on the tutorials through to social media allows further engagement and new perspectives on the museum objects. Speaking personally, I have had little exposure to our VLE, but I’m quite sure that developing an interface between it and our collections sites could be highly beneficial.

That’s all the tip of the iceberg, though, so take a look at the programme link at the top to find out about lots of other interesting projects.

Outside of the lecture theatre, I had some really interesting conversations with people who have exactly the same problems as ourselves: building image management workflows, incorporating technological enhancements to content-driven websites, and thinking about beacon technology (the sponsors, Beacontent, deserver top marks for the name at least). Additionally, a tour of The Samsung Digital Discovery Centre– where state of the art technology meets British Museum content to improve the experience for children, teenagers, and families- was highly informative.

Scott Renton, Digital Developer

ArchivesSpace at the University of Edinburgh – the techie side

Introducing ArchivesSpace for researchers and public users, as well as the administrative side for our Archives Team within the Centre for Research Collections, has been an ongoing project for the last 18 months. It has taken us a while to get the service live for a number of reasons and we have learnt lots along the way.

ArchivesSpace is free open source software and is easy to set-up using Jetty and MySQL, however some of our requirements have meant getting to grips with the underlying set-up and APIs of the system. We have also joined ArchivesSpace as paid members as this enables us to get additional support through documentation and mailing lists.

Import of authority controls
We had an existing MySQL database containing thousands of authority terms collected by the Archives Team. It was very important for us to keep these and import them into our ArchivesSpace instance. We imported the subjects using the ArchivesSpace API. Learning how to use the API was made easier by the Hudson Molonglo Youtube videos. We have written simple PHP scripts to allow us to connect to the ArchivesSpace backend and import the subjects and agents from MySQL database exports of our existing authority terms. After some trial and error we have imported 9275 subjects and 13703 agents into ArchivesSpace.

For a while the authorities were not linking with the  resources migrated into ArchivesSpace by the Archives Team,  via the EAD importer. To enable the authorities to link we had to make modifications to the EAD importer in the plugins. The changes are available to view on our Github code repository. We also made changes to the importer to allow us to get a greater understanding of why EAD imports were failing. The reasons why EAD failed to import have changed as new versions of ArchivesSpace were released and the EAD importer is quite strict. The Archives Team migrated 16836 resources (including components) for launch on 9th June.

API for other things
We have also used the API to run through all resources imported from EAD and publish them. By default they were not all published and a lot of the notes and details of the resources were hidden from the public interface. Therefore being able to script the publishing was a great time saver.

Tomcat set-up
We decided to run ArchivesSpace under Tomcat as it is a web server that we have a lot of experience with. However, ArchivesSpace runs easily under Jetty and running it under Tomcat has caused us some headaches, due to URLs issues and the fact that the Tomcat installation script adds a lot of files to Tomcat and not just the web apps.

Customisation
We have customised the user interface for the administrative and public front ends of ArchivesSpace. These changes were made within the local plugin. The look and feel has been made to fit in with our other services such as collections.ed and the colour scheme of the University. This was relatively straightforward as ArchivesSpace UI is based on Twitter Bootstrap. Unfortunately the public UI images were displaying when running in Jetty but not in Tomcat. After some copying of files the images appeared.

ArchivesSpace at University of EdinburghThe Public ArchivesSpace Portal http://archives.collections.ed.ac.uk

Early Adopters
It has taken longer than we had initially hoped to launch ArchivesSpace for a number of reasons. Primarily as early adopters of software there were issues that we did not foresee when the initial version was made available. The ArchivesSpace members mailing list is very active, as it is a new system there are lots of shared questions from those getting to grips with the system and working through their implementation.  ArchivesSpace, particularly Chris Fitzpatrick, have helped steer us in the right direction and shared code. The migration of EAD has been a huge task that has been undertaken by Deputy Archives Manager, Grant Buttars, it has been great to work with him and to get a greater understanding of the format of EAD when resolving issues with failing imports.

We still have lots to do with the system to leverage its full functionality and fully showcase our amazing archives collection through links to http://collections.ed.ac.uk and our image repository. So watch this space.

This post follows on from Grant’s post http://libraryblogs.is.ed.ac.uk/edinburghuniversityarchives/2015/06/22/implementing-archivesspace/

Claire Knowles
Library Digital Development Team