Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mapping Vincent Van Gogh


The Center for Open Data in the Humanities has created a very impressive Leaflet.js based tool for browsing historical manuscripts, paintings and other documents. The IIIF Curation Viewer is an open-source image viewer that allows you to view any image that has an IIIF Manifest (a common standard used by many museums, galleries and universities around the world).

In this demo of the IIIF Curation Viewer the application is being used to allow you to explore an ancient Japanese manuscript. Using the document viewer you can move backwards and forwards through the different pages of the manuscript (or select any page from the drop down menu). Selecting the black square button from the map menu allows you to draw around individual text characters in the document. When you select a character in this way an information window opens with the modern Japanese translation of the character.


You can use the IIIF Curation Viewer to view any document, painting or image that has an IIIF Manifest. For example here is Van Gogh's Self Portrait (Dedicated to Gauguin).  If you look at the URL for the Van Gogh painting in the viewer you should be able to see where I added the URL for the painting's IIIF Manifest (I got the manifest from the Harvard Art Museum website). Here is another example where I simply added the URL for Rossetti's A Sea Spell.


If you are more interested in seeing how the IIIF Curation Viewer handles text then here is a letter from Francis Crick to Michael Crick, where Crick discusses the discovery of something he calls DNA. The drawing tool in the map allows you to select any part of the document to create an image of your selection (you can see the image I saved above of Crick's mention of 'Deoxyribonucleic acid' in the letter.

If the play's the thing for you then you might prefer this Leaflet map of the complete works of Shakespeare. Of course the IIIF Curation Viewer can also be used to look at maps. Here's the Gough Map from around 1360.
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