British Library

Developing a leading viewer of digitised artifacts based on the IIIF Standard.

Universal Viewer and IIIF Standard across various form factors

In June 2013 the British Library began to consider developing a new viewer to render content from their Digital Library System suitable for use by researchers, learners and the public. Their aim was to create a consolidated infrastructure with an enriched and consistent user experience that replaces the disparate viewers/players provided by the British Library on its website and in its reading room and online services.

Following a requirements gathering and analysis exercise the British Library concluded that the ‘Wellcome Player’ (developed by Digirati for the Wellcome Library) was the viewer most likely to meet their requirements for their diverse audiences. The British Library are founding members of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), and required a viewer based on these standards.

For an initial proof of concept, Digirati demonstrated the Wellcome Player consuming the BL’s prototype IIIF resources.

We then entered a multi-phase engagement, which saw the Wellcome Player become the Universal Viewer (UV). The UV implements the IIIF standard for presentation of image based material, as well as maintaining the Wellcome Player’s original support for audio, video and born-digital material.

The Universal Viewer now supports the IIIF Presentation API 2.1, and includes many additional features such as multi-up for paged books views, enhanced thumbnail display, full control over settings, right to left and top to bottom, many accessibility enhancements, extra integration with British Library services for printing, and other features.

You can see a blog post from the BL about their most recent phase of development here: