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Need help using the Viewer? Please send questions and feedback to the Harvard Library Viewer support team.


The Harvard Library Viewer is a new image viewing platform based on the open source Mirador project and compatible with the IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) standard. Harvard Library Viewer provides access to book-like digital objects (manuscripts, broadsides, photograph albums, musical scores, etc.) hosted by the Harvard Library Digital Repository Service (DRS) or any other repository that is IIIF-compatible. 

What functions are available? 

Besides core page-viewing capabilities such as page-turning navigation, table of contents, full text search and print (PDF download), the Harvard Library Viewer implements frequently-requested features, including:

  • Two-page and scroll views
  • Improved page image rotation, zooming and panning
  • Comparison of IIIF-compatible documents

And the new Viewer is a platform that can be expanded in the future to support new capabilities for research and teaching, such as annotation and document portfolios, as well as expanded comparison of compatible text and images from collections at Harvard and internationally.

Switching between the Viewer and Old PDS

The new Viewer interface will automatically display for page-turned objects discovered through Harvard Library catalogs and websites. For the time being, access to the old Page Delivery Service (PDS) interface will remain available via a "View in PDS" link in the Viewer top menu.

Large documents and serials with 5000 pages or more will continue to display in the old PDS interface for now, until migration to PDS list objects is complete.

Navigating an object

This screenshot shows basic options for navigating pages in an image object. Click the image to enlarge.

Changing the view of an object

This screenshot shows options for how an image object can be displayed. 


Searching the full text of an object

Search terms may be combined using the following operators:

and or not near

The default operator is "and", so the following two queries produce identical results:

harvard yard
harvard and yard

which will only match documents that contain both of the terms "harvard" and "yard".

The and operator will match terms that occur anywhere in a document. To search for a phrase, enclose it in quotation marks:

"harvard yard"

which will only match documents containing the phrase "harvard yard".

The near operator will match terms that are within 100 words of each other, regardless of their order.

Tip: Use * as a wildcard. Examples: cat*, oper* and Harv*

Viewing multiple image objects

You can use the Viewer workspace to compare multiple image objects. This can include image objects at Harvard or external sources, as long as they come from a IIIF-compatible repository. At this time, page-turned objects stored in DRS and delivered by the Harvard Library Page Delivery Service (PDS) are IIIF-compatible. 

In this release of the Viewer, compatible image objects can be loaded directly into the viewer if you know the object’s manifest url. This url retrieves a manifest – a collection of presentation and structural metadata that the Viewer uses to display the object.  (A future release will let you search for compatible image objects.)

For DRS page-turned objects, the manifest url format is:[DRS_ID]


To load another object in the Viewer:

See the next section for a list of compatible image objects to try out in the Viewer.

  1. Click the Change Layout grid icon (in upper left corner of workspace). Add a new slot in your preferred location (right, left, above or below the current object).


    Or, click the "Change Layout" option (in upper right corner of workspace). Click into the grid and drag to select the number of slots you want.

  2. A new slot containing "Add Item" will display. Click the plus sign to open an object selection page.
  3. Insert the manifest url of the new object into the "Add new object from url" box. Press Enter and the object will be added to your selection list.
  4. Click your selection to open it in the new slot.
  5. To increase viewing area for each image, you can minimize the Table of Contents column. To minimize, click the down arrow above the Contents column.

Note that objects added in this way will remain on your selection list during the current Viewer session but cannot be saved for future sessions.

To close an additional object slot:

  1. Click the Change Layout grid icon (in upper left corner of workspace). 

  2. Click the x Close option and the slot will disappear (but the object remains on your selection page).

Sample compatible objects

Here are sample IIIF-compatible image objects at Harvard and other repositories that you can open in the Harvard Library Viewer. For Harvard objects, use the "Viewing URL" in a browser and use the "Manifest URL" when loading a new object into an existing Viewer session. 

Harvard page-turned objects

ExampleViewing URLManifest URLDescription
1, James Henry. Scrapbook of clippings, photographs, cartes-de-visite studio portraits, manuscripts and other materials, 1871-1940.
2, James Henry. Hassler Expedition watercolors and pencil drawings, 1871-1872.

MS Richardson 7. Houghton Library, Harvard University. Heures de Nôtre Dame (use of Troyes and Sens) : manuscript, [ca. 1470]


Harvard University. Quinquennial catalogue of the officers and graduates 1636-1930. Cambridge : The University, 1930.


Harvard University. Corporation. College Book 1, 1639-1795. UAI 5.5, Harvard University Archives


Langdon, Samuel, 1723-1797. Papers of Samuel Langdon. Sermon by Samuel Langdon to Army in Cambridge, 1775 May 21. UAI 15.874 Box 1, Folder 10, Harvard University Archives.

7, Samuel, 1762-1812. Mathematical manuscript of Samuel Griffin, 1783-1784. HUC 8784.353, Harvard University Archives

Fisher, Jonathan. Orthographical Projection of Hollis Hall...,1791. HUC 8782.514 (36), Harvard University Archives

9 University. Butler. Records of the Butler, 1722-1799. Quarterly account book, 1722-1751. UAI 90 Box 1, Harvard University Archives
10, Chong-ho, active 1834-1864.  Taedong yojido / Kosanja [chuk Kim Chong-ho] kyogan. TK 3490.7 4574, Harvard-Yenching
11ī. Shāhnāmah : manuscript, 1718-1721. b MS Persian 78, Houghton Library
12 Harvard book : a series of historical, biographical, and descriptive sketches. Cambridge : Welch, Bigelow, and Company, 1875.
13ān, ʻAlī, 1845 or 1846-1902, photographer.  Album of photographs by Ali Khan Vali. Qajar., AKP111, Fine Arts Library

Dunster, Henry, 1609-1659? Papers of Henry Dunster and the Dunster and Glover families. Bill to Henry Dunster from Nathaniel Eldred, 1641 October. UAI 15.850 Box 1, Folder 6, Harvard University Archives.

15, Ebenezer, 1702-1778. Some account of a paper call’d the Telltale, begun in colledge Sept 1721, 1721-1723. HUD 721, Harvard University Archives.
16, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791. Zauberflöte. Vocal score. Selections. Merritt Mus 745.1.677 PHI
17, Georges, 1838-1875. [Carmen. German]. Carmen : Oper in 4 Akten / von Georges Bizet. Paris : Choudens : in die Edition Peters aufgenommen, [190-?]. Merritt Mus 629.1.659 Solti B. Gift of the Solti corporate entities
18 Typ 41. Houghton Library, Harvard University. Chronique du monde depuis la création, et des rois de France et d'Angleterre, jusqu'à l'an 1461 : manuscript, [ca. 1461]
19 Burkhardt Collection; Rome sketchbook, 1828. sAg 168.60.16. Ernst Mayr Library, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
20ók, Béla, 1881-1945. [Divertimento, string orchestra]. Divertimento for string orchestra. Merritt Mus 627.22.225 Solti B.
21, Joseph, 1768-1812. Joseph Dennie papers, 1783-1815. MS Am 715 (88). Fenno, John Ward, 1778-1802. Autograph manuscript letter (signed) to Joseph Dennie; Philadelphia, 7 March 1799. Houghton Library
22 Gordon Lyon. Diary, 1870-1871 Vol. 1 1861, 1871-1935. HUG 1541, Harvard University Archives

Compatible objects from external repositories

ExampleManifest LinkSourceDescription
1 Ms. W.34, Carrow Psalter
2 Song Book
3 MS 168
4, Admont, Benediktinerstift Admont Bibliothek & Museum, Admont MS 23
5 Library of WalesPoems by Guillaume de Machaut, [15 cent.]
6 Haven, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, Beinecke MS 10
7, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, MS Bodley 113
8èque nationale de FranceParis, BnF, MSS Arabe 3475
9èque nationale de FranceParis, BnF, MSS Italien 74
10 Manuscript Library of Switzerland[sine loco], codices restituti, Cod. 2 (Frowinus dispersus)
11 Manuscript Library of SwitzerlandGenève, Bibliothèque de Genève, Comites Latentes 15
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