The Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Yale Center for British Art are making it much easier for scholars (and the public) to compare images of artwork from different museums side-by-side.
The Getty Museum just published 30,000 images using the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), an API that allows researchers to compare images across different collections and institutions so that they can analyze them side-by-side. The release coincides with the publication of 70,000 public domain images from the Yale Center for British Art that are also IIIF-compatible. There are now millions of images from institutions all over the world available to study and compare using this technology.
All you have to do is click the IIIF logo (the red and blue logo below the painting in the image above) on an image in the Getty or the Yale Center’s online collections to pull the artwork into the open-source image viewer Mirador. You can drag and drop multiple images from multiple institutions to look at together in Mirador. Other institutions in the IIIF consortium include museums, libraries, universities, archives, and research institutions like the National Library of Norway, the Kyoto University Library Network, the British Library, and ARTstor.
"By adopting the IIIF, our images can now travel beyond the confines of our own website and become fully interoperable with images from other collections, greatly enhancing the ability to pursue research in the digital environment," as the Yale Center’s chief curator of art collections, Matthew Hargraves, explains in a press release [PDF].