How to find and use the British Library's IIIF enabled images

'Bitter Melons' from Shasei sōka moyō by Furuya Kōrin. Unsōdō, Kyoto, 1907. Shelfmark: ORB.30/132
'Bitter Melons' from Shasei sōka moyō by Furuya Kōrin. Unsōdō, Kyoto, 1907. Shelfmark: ORB.30/132. An example of one of our IIIF enabled images.

The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) is a widely supported standard protocol for sharing images across the web, making image and media repositories of cultural institutions around the world, interoperable with each other.

About the collection

What is IIIF?


Access to image-based resources is fundamental to research, scholarship and the transmission of cultural knowledge. Digital images are a container for much of the information content in the Web-based delivery of images, books, newspapers, manuscripts, maps, scrolls, single sheet collections, and archival materials. Yet much of the Internet’s image-based resources are stored in silos, with access restricted to bespoke, locally built applications.

A growing community of the world’s leading research libraries and image repositories have embarked on an effort to collaboratively produce an interoperable technology and community framework for image delivery.

IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) has the following goals:

  • To give scholars an unprecedented level of uniform and rich access to image-based resources hosted around the world.

  • To define a set of common application programming interfaces that support interoperability between image repositories.

  • To develop, cultivate and document shared technologies, such as image servers and web clients, that provide a world-class user experience in viewing, comparing, manipulating and annotating images.


For more information on IIIF and how to use it, check out the recordings and resources from the December 2022 IIIF Online Workshop:

Please contact if you have any questions about this collection.

What is available online?

The British Library is adding IIIF enabled collections to our main catalogues and through major projects, partnerships and programmes all the time. 

Explore the British Library - Main Catalogue

We are working hard on developing an easier solution for discovering all of our IIIF content. In the meantime, to limit your search to all currently available IIIF items in our main catalogue (digital and print books, journals, newspapers, maps and scores) copy and paste this search string:

blmsd OR blww1 OR blplaybill OR bldcw 

Some IIIF collection highlights you’ll discover through this include:

……and more! 

Archives & Manuscripts Catalogue

The following archives and manuscripts collections items are now available in IIIF:

Projects, Partnerships & Programmes

How to access and use IIIF manifests for British Library collection items:


What is available in our Reading Rooms?

Should you wish to view the original materials from which these digitised images derive, visit any one of the British Library’s 11 Reading Rooms at St Pancras where the Reference team will be happy to help you.