British Library: Digirati to Deliver ‘Universal Player’

Since June 2013 the British Library has been looking to deliver a ‘universal player’ that can render digital content stored in their Digital Library System and described in any of their strategic metadata repositories, suitable for use by researchers, learners and the public. The aim is to create a consolidated infrastructure with an enriched and consistent user experience that replaces all of 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 on behalf of the Wellcome Library) was the viewer most likely to meet their requirements for their diverse audiences. 

Consequently Digirati were commissioned to investigate the technical feasibility of deploying the Wellcome Player within the British Library’s web and digital library infrastructure, with a preliminary focus on delivering to the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) standard. IIIF is an interoperable technology and community framework for image delivery being led by world-leading cultural and research institutions, including the British Library and Stanford University. For more information on IIIF see http://iiif.io/.

The British Library & St Pancras

The Player was successfully deployed as a proof-of-concept using digitised still images of books and manuscripts held within the British Library’s Digital Library System and metadata from its strategic metadata stores. Digirati have now been appointed to build on the proof-of-concept work and develop the ‘universal player’ for content provided through the British Library’s website for a range of exciting content including printed books, manuscripts, maps and digitised images stored in the British Library’s Digital Library system. This will deliver many additional enhancements to the Wellcome Player and be IIIF2.0 compliant. The code will be open source and freely available for all to develop further. Next year the British Library hopes to extend the player to its audio and video collections and a greater range of printed material such as digitised newspapers.

Lucie Burgess, Head of Online Services at the British Library said: “‘We are delighted to be working with Digirati, an innovative company with a talented and multi-disciplinary team. The ‘universal player’ is a key component of the digital infrastructure which will deliver rich digital content to our users, including researchers, the public and learners. Digirati impressed us with their ability to understand diverse audience needs and develop a solution which will create an outstanding experience for our users on the web.”

We’re really excited to be working with the British Library on what we hope to be the first of many IIIF implementations as adoption of this standard gains momentum across the digital library community and the fantastic potential it enables for learning and research starts to be realised

– John Baker, Managing Director of Digirati

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library’s collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website – www.bl.uk– every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

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digirati_logo[/column][column]Digirati is a digital consultancy that provides strategy, design, integration, and engineering services to public and private sector clients for online publishing and customer engagement solutions. Digirati’s reputation is built upon solid technical delivery of well-architected innovative digital systems that provide exceptional user experiences.[/column][/columns_row]

  1. Digirati corporate website 
  2. The British Library
  3. Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) standard
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