IIIF, WordPress and Shakespeare too.

Digital Media
June 24, 2019

The recent development of new viewers (and viewing experiences) for IIIF images (what is IIIF?) by the V&A and the Folger Shakespeare Library led us both to consider how we might take the work the other has done and ‘port’ it across to each others websites and, more generally, make it available for wider use. This has reached an early (alpha!) stage, just in time for the  IIIF 2019 conference this week, and so this blogpost is a sneak preview of the work we have done in taking the Folger’s Universal Viewer plugin for WordPress (the software platform this blog and 1/3 of the web runs on). This has required some adaptions for use outside of the original infrastructure the Folger built it for. This is the tricky part, and will be the subject of our joint presentation this week at the conference this week.

As a first example, what better then to show an object we both hold in common – something that is part of the fabric of the Folger’s building in Washington D.C., the sculptural reliefs carved by sculptor John Gregory. We have eight photographs of the reliefs in our collection, taken during the 1920s. The Folger has nine photographs of the sculptures in situ on their building from 1932:

Photograph, John Gregory, 1920s, United States, Museum No. 4721-1938 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Folger Shakespeare Library (note the addition of the play titles on the base).
As mentioned, this is at an early stage. You may notice there are some issues with layout in the blog post: not all of the relevant metadata is showing, and we will probably look to migrate the plugin to Universal Viewer 3 when released (to have support for collections, so that only one instance is needed for comparisons like above). Once complete, this will be a convenient way for us to embed our and other institutions’ IIIF images into blog posts. We now look forward to the reciprocal work from the Folger so they can implement our slideshow functionality into their Miranda platform.

Thanks to the Folger for the initial plugin development (developed by ParsonTKO), to Stacey Redick from the Folger Shakespeare Library for project co-ordination, and to Ramona Riedzewski from the Theatre & Performance department at the V&A for starting everything off.

About the author

Digital Media
June 24, 2019

Is a web developer at the V&A interested in data and systems, and the complicated connections between them. ORCID: 0000-0002-3177-1313

More from Richard Palmer
4 comments so far, view or add yours


Did you succeed in furthering the integration of IIIF and WordPress? Have you written more on this?

Hi Andrew,

No haven’t done much more on this at the moment, we would like to return to it so we can embed some of our other viewers at some point. The Folger viewer is here https://github.com/vanda/Folger_iiif_uv if you’ve not found it already.

Are you wanting to add some IIIF viewer to your site ?


Yes, I want to figure out (or at least be able to explain it to others) how to take IIIF manifest(s) and use them to illustrate a narrative. I am working with CONTENTdm collections.

I thought about brute forcing this– build something simple in PHP that can “decode” a manifest and then use a WordPress plugin called “Insert PHP”. You’ll never guess what it does…

I use this technique to make use of CONTENTdm’s APIs: http://www.finditillinois.org/wordpress/?page_id=79.

I figured it out– I used a plugin called “Code Embed” and embedded the code from https://github.com/UniversalViewer/universalviewer/wiki/Embedding.

I also got it working in MediaWiki. I embedded the same UV embed from above into an Iframe, and used the Iframe extension to embed IIIF images/metadata into a wiki page.

Let me know if you want specifices. Also, if you pass by the Betley Window anytime soon, would you say hello to it for me?

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