Many digital scholarly projects strive towards some form of online presentation/publishing, for example in the Digital Humanities. For showcasing such collections with a wide variety of media and interrelated content, the Ibali platform is a brilliant tool. Ibali allows for a highly configurable user experience through the creation of relevant narratives using your digital media. In using Ibali you also ensure that all items stored in the system are well organised and accessible.

As part of an extensive review done in 2018/2019 of available infrastructure for showcasing Digital Collections online, UCT Libraries (through DLS, Special Collections and Discovery Services) have decided to retire the Libraries’ Islandora Fedora platform, and move to an appropriately renamed university-wide system running on a locally hosted Omeka S  publishing server, in conjunction with a locally installed iiif media server .

The dedicated iiif media server  installed by ICTS and DLS will be delivering digital media files and their metadata in a standards-led, structured manner. The server enables deep-zoom, side-by-side comparison, crowdsourced annotation, in-line metadata display and bookmarking. iiif server metadata standards are being adopted by GLAM institutions (Galleries/Gardens, Libraries, Archives, Museums) to foster the accessibility, interoperability and sustainability of digital collections worldwide.

Ibali can be accessed at

Furthermore, training sessions (UCT staff can access here) for community data stewards are available through DLS, in conjunction with specialist cataloguing and systems experts at UCTL, to ensure standards-led metadata creation. Ibali Iindaba sessions, where the latest updates on the platform and collections are showcased, are organised every month and are open to all.

Omeka S

Omeka S  is a web publishing platform for GLAMs designed to create relationships between objects in collections as well as describe them through linked open data resources.  The ‘S’ in Omeka S stands for ‘semantic’, as in connecting to the semantic web, where data in web pages is structured and tagged. Its primary focus is on organising elements of a collection so that the links between its items and the greater elements of the internet are strengthened, allowing for much more relevant searches and deeper explorations of underlying narratives.


Live since March 2021.

Technical Information:

The testing environment for Omeka-S has been completed and a growing number of collections are now published on the site. Together with collection development, there are several ongoing processes to ensure full functionality: 

  1. integration with IIIF server (see below),
  2. installation of additional modules to enhance user experience ( ).
  3. application of standardised UCT branding while allowing users a level of customization in the look of a published website,
  4. establishment of best university practices to ensure a level of uniformity (monthly meetings of the UCT Metadata Working Group),
  5. development of training material for users (open resources on Ibali ).


The International Image Interoperability Framework is a growing community of the world’s leading research libraries and image repositories, which have embarked on an effort to collaboratively produce a standards-based technology and community framework for rich media delivery.

They have 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.

Source: About IIIF. Accessible: 


Live since June 2021.

Technical Information:

The iiif media server  server consists of two parts, an Image API which deals with the presentation of images online in standardised manner (including the option of deep zoom), and a Presentation API which carries the integral metadata of the image (e.g. name, source, copyrights, etc). The use of these two APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) allows for images to be served all over the Internet without being separated from their metadata.


Access our open resources on Ibali . UCT Staff can view training sessions dedicated to Ibali here .

Watch the recording from our latest Ibali Indaba session: