From Closed Book to Open Access

Merve Verlag published the first book on CD-ROM in 1995 and the first mobile phone book in Germany in 2005 - prefiguring eReaders such as Kindle by two years. At the 2017 Frankfurt Book Fair Merve becomes the first German publisher to present a digital edition of its complete back-list. Working with the Data Futures project [1] - a consortium of European and U.S. universities and companies working on sustainability - Merve has made its back-list available online using IIIF [2] and Mirador [3] and also as PDF download.

Previewed at the Book Fair in 2014, the permanent service now launched in Frankfurt includes a number of new components focusing on sustainability and interoperability:

  • access in perpetuity free of charge using the Mirador IIIF viewer, ePub or Book-in-Browser
  • flexible subscription to printable versions - from individual volumes to complete publisher's list: download PDF and other formats
  • creation and management of annotations and comments using the W3C WADM (Web Annotation Data Model) [4]: keep private in subscriber account or share selectively with individuals and groups
  • multiple private and shared reading lists, groups and research activities
  • sustainable repository (books and annotations) through integration with CERN's Invenio framework [5]
  • interoperability with standards-based corpora and authorities for discovery and sharing; conversion between multiple metadata formats such as MODS, MARC-XML, Dublin Core, BibTex

During the next 12 months:

  • single texts or books available as print-on-demand from 2018
  • compilation of custom electronic titles, including selected annotations and comments


1. The Data Futures project is a consortium of institutions and publishers including Aix-Marseille, Basel, Heidelberg, Lyon and Princeton universities. Data Futures is a founder member of IIIF-C, based in the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture at the University of Westminster, London.

2. The International Image Inter-operability Framework Consortium (IIIF-C) comprises a growing community of the world’s leading research libraries and image repositories which has embarked on an effort to collaboratively produce an inter-operable technology and community framework for image delivery.

3. Mirador is an open-source, web based, multi-window image and page viewing platform with the ability to zoom, display, compare and annotate digital material from around the world. It has been optimized to display resources from repositories that support the IIIF API's.

4. The Open Annotation Community Group's Open Annotation Data Model specifications were superseded by W3C's Web Annotation Working Group Candidate Recommendations in July 2016 and currently form the Web Annotation Data Model (WADM) W3C Recommendation of 23 February 2017.

5. Invenio is a digital library software framework for articles, books, journals, audio, images and videos - originally developed in 2002. It runs the CERN document server, managing over 1,000,000 bibliographic records.