Case Study

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

A lightweight approach to making an archive available online.

Royal College of Vetinary Surgeons

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has been progressing a multi-year digitisation strategy to make some of their archives freely available. They had begun digitisation and had some material available but were looking for the best way to make it available online.

Digirati provided the deep zoom image services through our IIIF Cloud Services platform and identified the Universal Viewer as the best way to show the digitised objects in the pages of their WordPress-based archives site. To join these two ends together, we needed a bridge between RCVS' manual digitisation workflow (a scanner and metadata entered into spreadsheets) and the richly described, searchable, multipage object viewable on the web site.

We customised a middleware component for RCVS's workflow and metadata. It takes folders of images, and spreadsheets describing those images and turns them into IIIF Manifests - descriptions of the archive items that will work with any compatible viewer. This additional component serves RCVS's descriptions of the archive items; the viewer on the web page loads this description and renders the object.

We also supported RCVS in customising the Universal Viewer configuration to best fit with their web environment. We created a WordPress plugin that lets them easily embed hosted manifests into their pages using the Universal Viewer. As a result of this work, RCVS can easily curate this material through a standard WordPress website with rich functionality provided by the Universal Viewer for the archive items themselves.

In addition to supplying the necessary access to the IIIF Cloud Services and customised middleware, we also worked with RCVS to identify a metadata format that suited their internal workflow, and assisted them in transitioning their infrastructure to AWS.

"Our needs for the online display of our archive collections were quite specific, and the open-source Universal Viewer was a brilliant solution, but beyond our technical capabilities to implement. Digirati were great at taking our specification and exceeding our expectations with the results. They showed a great understanding of what we wanted to achieve, and were very patient and adaptable throughout the development. We are delighted with the final product, which presents our collections to the standard they deserve."

- Lorna Cahill, Archivist, RCVS

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