Published June 8, 2023 | Version 1.0
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The LOUD Social Fabrics of IIIF

  • 1. Digital Humanities Lab, University of Basel; DaSCH


In the context of my PhD in Digital Humanities at the University of Basel (2021-2025), I investigate the semantics and interoperability dimensions of standards that adhere to the Linked Open Usable Data (LOUD) design principles, such as the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) specifications and more specifically the IIIF Presentation API 3.0, Linked Art and the Web Annotation Data Model.

This presentation is an opportunity to delve into one of my research questions which is related to the practices of IIIF and Linked Art by drawing attention to the social fabrics that constitute these communities notably from the standpoint of the Actor-Network Theory (ANT), a constructivist approach widely spread in Science and Technology Studies (STS) which should help me to better comprehend the roles and relationships of all actors in the implementation of LOUD standards within the cultural heritage domain and more broadly across the Digital Humanities.

While the presentation, structured around two parts, is aimed at a general audience and accessible to all, more technical aspects are also discussed, for example to illustrate how IIIF APIs are developed and maintained.

Firstly, I intend to identify the sociotechnical requirements for the establishment of community-driven initiatives, looking in particular at associations that are constituted around consensus-building and advocacy efforts. There are many good cases here, from the creation of community and technical specification groups, the relationship between the consortium and the community, the extent to which transparency plays a vital role, but also the relevance and impact of nonhuman actors such as data models, APIs, validators, as well as collaboratively developed software. This first part will also provide a means of testing the hypothesis that community-driven specifications, if they require significant commitment from all sides and are developed slowly, tend to be successful in the medium to long term.

Secondly, I will explore how the implementation of IIIF has progressed within cultural heritage institutions and the potential of the framework in relation to scientific movements and principles, such as Open Science, Citizen Science, FAIR as well as CARE. I will give an overview of the various surveys conducted within the IIIF community in recent years and present the results of my own investigation determining where IIIF stands both conceptually and technically. This second part offers a chance to report on the four key initiatives (Advocacy & Leadership, Technical Development, Community Development, Membership & Value) of the strategic framework presented at the IIIF online event held in December 2022.

More generally, this will be a platform to revisit and discuss over ten years of IIIF practice, the intersection with Linked Art for semantically conveying knowledge in an event-based manner and for metadata aggregation, and the Web Annotation Data Model for driving multi-layered assertions from observations to rich narratives, and to consider how LOUD situates itself in relation to communities maintaining such specifications.

The presentation is available online at



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Participatory Knowledge Practices in Analogue and Digital Image Archives CRSII5_193788
Swiss National Science Foundation