Many Digital Humanities projects strive towards some form of presentation and/or publishing. When it comes to collections with a wide variety of media and interrelated content, the Ibali platform (combination of Omeka S and IIIF ) is a most suitable place to showcase them. Ibali allows for a customisable user experience through the creation of narratives using digital media. Ibali also ensures all items stored in the system are well organised and accessible.
As part of an extensive review in 2018/2019 of available infrastructure for showcasing Digital Collections online, UCT Libraries (through DLS, Special Collections and Discovery Services) have decided to retire the Libraries’ Islandora Fedora platform (https://digitalcollections.lib.uct.ac.za/ ), and move to an - appropriately renamed - university-wide system running on Omeka S, in conjunction with a locally installed iiif server. Also, 2020 training sessions (UCT staff can access here) for community data stewards/curators are being developed by DLS, in conjunction with specialist cataloguing and systems experts at UCTL, to ensure standards-led metadata creation. DLS and ICTS have installed an iiif server which will deliver digital media files in a standards-led, structured manner. The server enables deep-zoom, side-by-side comparison, crowdsourced annotation, in-line metadata display and bookmarking. iiif server metadata standards are being adopted by GLAM institutions worldwide to foster interoperability, as users can query media and associated metadata in a standardised way.While the media will be made accessible via Omeka-S, the existence of the iiif server will foster future scalability and discovery of media from different entry points worldwide.
Digital Library Services is launching Ibali at the start of 2021, with several collection showcases already in development.
Omeka S is a web publishing platform for GLAMs (Galleries | Libraries | Archives | Museums), designed to create relationships between objects in collections as well as describe them through linked open data resources. The ‘S’ in Omeka S stands for ‘semantic’, as in connecting to the semantic web, where data in web pages is structured and tagged. Its primary focus is on organising elements of a collection so that the links in between items and the greater elements of the internet are strengthened, allowing for much more relevant searches and deeper explorations.
Testing (scheduled go live date January 2021)
The testing environment for Omeka-S has been functioning for over a year (set up by ICTS), with several demo collections being developed. Together with collection development, there are several concurrent process to ensure full functionality for 2021:
integration with IIIF server (see below)
additional modules to enhance user experience
application of standardised UCT branding while allowing users some customization
establishment of best university practices to ensure a level of uniformity
development of training material for users.
The International Image interoperability Framework is a growing community of the world’s leading research libraries and image repositories, which have embarked on an effort to collaboratively produce an interoperable technology and community framework for image delivery.
They have the following goals:
To give scholars an unprecedented level of uniform and rich access to image-based resources hosted around the world.
To define a set of common application programming interfaces that support interoperability between image repositories.
To develop, cultivate and document shared technologies, such as image servers and web clients, that provide a world-class user experience in viewing, comparing, manipulating and annotating images.
The IIIF server consists of two parts, an Image API which deals with the presentation of images online in standardised manner (with the option of deep zoom), and a Presentation API which carries the integral metadata of the image (name, source, rights, etc). The use of these two API allows for images to be served all over the Internet without being able to be separated from their metadata.