Technology

The LOTB project has developed a new platform for presenting and connecting images, texts, and annotations based on Mirador, an IIIF-compliant system developed at both Yale and Stanford for online collaborative visual and textual annotation. The relationships between our images, texts, and annotations are multiple and complex, and the LOTB project has challenged developers to design new components for Mirador that link both visual and textual primary sources and visual and textual annotations with each other in flexible ways. We spent several months experimenting with techniques for digitally annotating the life of the Buddha murals. Concurrently, we experimented with ways to structure and present multiple layers of annotations. We found solutions to both of these challenges in Mirador. We can mark up a portion of the mural and connect textual resources to specific regions in a structured fashion, such that the multiple resources are displayed in an organized hierarchy. Annotation windows are resizable, moveable, remained linked across different layers of data, and maintain internal hierarchies (chapters and scenes in multiple languages).

In order to carry out the image markup in Mirador, we created master image files for Panels 1 and 2 (out of 15) of the mural. These large hi-resolution files were created from hundreds of photos taken on site. Each photo was hand-stitched to fit within the larger image, color corrected, and adjusted to optimize viewer experience of the mural. Since Mirador was not previously equipped to handle such large image files, we carried out extensive testing to determine the best file resolution and format for maximum impact. Panels 1 and 2 have been fully analyzed and mapped into chapters and scenes, and can be browsed, viewed sequentially in chapter order, or searched via English or Unicode Tibetan text.

“Piecing Together the Life of the Buddha”