The Hesburgh Libraries and the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame have launched Marble (Museum, Archives, Rare Books and Libraries Exploration) — an online teaching and research platform designed to make distinctive cultural heritage collections from across the University accessible through a single portal.
The development of Marble was made possible, in part, by a three-and-one-half-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create an open-access, unified software solution that would enable universities to access museum and library holdings through a single online platform.
“Marble offers key features that fundamentally transform the way digital collections can be used for teaching and research,” said Diane Parr Walker, the Edward H. Arnold University Librarian. “The museum and library collaboration and the grant outcomes will have a transformational impact on pedagogical access, scholarly engagement and research outcomes at Notre Dame.”
Faculty, students and the general public can browse Marble and download select digitized materials from the Snite Museum of Art, Rare Books & Special Collections and the University Archives in a single platform — including books, manuscripts, sculptures, paintings, photographs, ephemera and more. Each item displays one or more images with descriptive information and linked metadata to view related or similar items.
At the heart of Marble is an open-source image sharing standard called IIIF, or the International Image Interoperability Framework. IIIF is a set of universal specifications that provides a standardized way of storing and displaying images. One of the benefits of using IIIF images is that they can be viewed alongside other IIIF-compliant images from institutions around the world. IIIF viewing features include zoom, rotation, color manipulation, comparable viewing and options for cross-institutional research.
The code for the Marble project was developed and will be maintained by the Hesburgh Libraries development team. The platform code is openly licensed under an Apache 2.0 license and available on GitHub. Project documentation, technical diagrams, collaborative processes and best practices are published on the Open Science Framework.
Direct to Marble