IIIF hosting and delivery

We offer IIIF as a hosted service. We can provide Image API endpoints for any images, and convert your digital objects to IIIF Manifests.

What is IIIF?

The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) is mentioned throughout our site. But what is it?

IIIF provides a way of describing digital (usually digitised) objects - paintings, letters, manuscripts, movies, maps, documents, manuscripts and newspapers - in a format we can all agree on.

If a museum, archive or library publishes a IIIF Manifest for an object, it can be viewed in any compatible viewer. But more than this, it can be read by machines: loaded into more sophisticated tools, for annotation and exploration. The IIIF model allows us to address and reference any fine-grained part of a digital object, and make new content and links between and within objects.


We offer IIIF hosting for your images, turning them into the IIIF Image API, whatever their original format. We can also provide text extraction through print and handwriting recognition, and enrichment through natural language processing, as well as access control for images using the IIIF Authentication API. We also offer a suite of integrated tools for sorting archival material, managing emergent taxonomies and crowdsourcing.

Our platform, the DLCS (Digital Library Cloud Services), is available as a managed service and enables archives of any size to publish digitised material as IIIF for use in any compatible viewers and tools. When we build new discovery and engagement platforms for cultural heritage content, our components provide the standards-compliant plumbing. This allows us to concentrate our efforts on the special characteristics and user experience of different collections.

Asset Delivery

The first part of hosting is Asset Delivery. A common pattern is for the DLCS to sit in front of a repository or preservation system to provide scalable and flexible asset delivery using open standards. The source image might be a high-resolution TIFF file; the DLCS creates a IIIF Image API endpoint for it. For small numbers of images, registration with the DLCS can be done via spreadsheets or other data files, or even one at a time. You can also connect directly to the DLCS from inside our Manifest Editor, dragging in images from your desktop or anywhere on the web to assemble a manifest.

For larger integrations, you can use the DLCS API to script integration with your asset source, for example a repository, so that new assets acquire IIIF endpoints.

Object Delivery

The DLCS allows you to store arbitrary metadata with your images, and then use this metadata in queries that return IIIF Manifests. These manifests can be used as-is or enhanced with further information.

Sometimes, generation of IIIF Manifests for objects is entirely external to the DLCS, with the Manifests pointing at assets hosted in the DLCS but generated from catalogue records and digitisation data such as METS files.

In other scenarios, the DLCS platform manages the manifests and they act as points for content integration - whether that content is added by the enrichment pipeline, such as full text via OCR, or much later, such as the contributions from a crowdsourcing project or editorial annotations.


You can use the DLCS as a managed service for asset delivery without any deep integration. Or it can be part of your digitisation workflow, adding new content (e.g., OCR data) through enrichment. We can work with you to design a DLCS-powered platform that suits your content and workflows.

Through our work with the University of the Arts London, we have built a plugin called Forager that enables the DLCS to deliver IIIF representations of collections and data stored in Preservica. Forager fetches the original content, structure and metadata from Preservica, and the DLCS then delivers the web-ready assets derived from the Preservica content. This can be images, video, audio or other IIIF compatible formats.

Other Examples

The Wellcome Library hosts 38 million images using a standalone DLCS instance, which integrates with a digitisation workflow managed by Goobi.

The Royal College of Veterinary Science Archive creates new digital objects by scanning items in the office, then embedding the resulting digital objects in their WordPress archives site.

Delft University of Technology Library uses the DLCS to host image assets and takes advantage of its direct integration with our Manifest Editor, allowing new content to be added alongside existing archival material.