Topics Participation in 4th CODH Seminar


I’m Okada, a Research Associate at the IRC. Today, I would like to talk about my experience of participation in 4th CODH seminar.

CODH Seminar series are organized by the Center for Open Data in the Humanities (CODH). The first seminar provided the discussion on the potential of big data in the humanities, the second seminar took up the machine recognition of “Kuzushi-ji (Old handwriting Japanese),” and the third seminar offered discussion on assignment of a web address called DOI to articles and research materials. The fourth seminar picked up IIIF, a framework of displaying image showing on the web which is recently becoming popular. The materials for the past seminar are available in the Repository of this Center.

I have been participating in this series since the 2nd seminar, but I have never seen more participants than in the 4th seminar, which had 122 participants according to an official record. Though I thought the past seminars were also popular, but the number of their participants was only 40-50. Thus, this time more than twice as many people participated in it.
IIIF is an abbreviation of International Image Interoperability Framework, and to be frank, it can be regarded as a community or movement which designs common standards for API of image access servers. We generally take three steps to post images: preparation of a server, arrangement of images, and posting on the web. According to the seminar, publications through IIIF allow us to reduce costs of posting on the web.

To be more specific, the arrangement of a server corresponding to IIIF enables us to see images with any existing viewers compatible with IIIF, so it seems to me that no expense will be imposed for development of viewers and we will be able to avoid depending on a specific product among other things. In addition, as IIIF is a system using established techniques, I think its stability can be expected.
There were 16 titles of 8-minutes presentations, which gave me a intense time. These presentations can be roughly classified to 3 categories: Development trend of IIIF, the efforts of the organizations and development companies dealing with publication of images, and expectation from players planning future entry.

Needless to say, there is no all-mighty system in this world and each person has his own way of relating to the IIIF. I think, however, there must be someone who is the best candidate in publishing images according to common standards. When we conform to technical standards like the JIS, we can benefit from the compatibility of products: we can use any kinds of size AA battery for a product compatible to size AA battery. On the other hand, we have few other choices than using size AA battery and it is difficult to improve its function even if we are unsatisfied with it.

However, I think this system is valuable enough to consider if we want the images to be widely used by the people. Please feel free to ask me if you are considering to publish images in the IRC.

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