Harvard Library

IIIF at Harvard Library

Harvard Library has adopted IIIF as the standard for providing access to more than 53,000,000 digital images from Harvard’s libraries, archives, and museums. In addition to providing links to IIIF URIs from all of the Library's primary data sources, Harvard Library's LibraryCloud Item API makes those URIs accessible to a variety of user interfaces.

The Library Technology Services (LTS) software engineering team has built and implemented a modernized IIIF image delivery infrastructure with the latest technologies and specifications. The IIIF image delivery servers and APIs are centralized and generalized to support clients with a variety of use cases. This allows clients to build IIIF integrations into their projects without needing to spend time on IIIF-specific requirements. Clients are able to utilize existing IIIF services and APIs and no longer need to host their own image servers or build their own metadata services. Clients simply provide content and associated metadata and integrate with the IIIF services for asset ingest and delivery. The IIIF services are managed and supported by LTS and are available for use by various departments across the university.

An architecture diagram of the MPS ingest infrastructure.
An architecture diagram of the MPS ingest infrastructure.

Harvard Digital Collections

Screenshot of the Harvard Digital Collections Homepage

While much of Harvard Library’s digital content is available only to Harvard affiliates, Harvard Digital Collections provides free, public access to over 6,000,000 digital objects – from ancient art to modern manuscripts and even audio/visual material. All of the image content available through this platform is delivered in IIIF, and manifest links are available for each item.


CURIOSity digital collections are dedicated websites with search and browse features specifically designed for these digital collections. They contain publicly accessible digitized resources from a variety of formats and all image content is delivered via IIIF through the Harvard Library Viewer.

Harvard Library Viewer

Harvard Library uses Mirador as its primary delivery system for IIIF content, including both still images and page turned objects. Users can use links to IIIF manifests from Harvard Library records alongside manifests from IIIF partners across the world to utilize Mirador’s comparison features and more.

Screenshot of Harvard Library Image Viewer, based on Mirador