Basic Information and Reference

This section provides the basic information to use SIPI as a high performance, versatile media server implementing the IIIF standards that can be used in many different settings, from a small standalone server providing basic metadata to the deployment in a complex environment. For more information about the IIIF standard see The basic idea is that an image or rectangular region of an image can be downloaded (e.g. to the browser) with a given width and height, rotation, image quality and format. All parameters are provided with the IIIF conformant URL that has the following form:


The parts do have the following meaning:

  • {server}: The DNS name of the server, eg. The server may include a portnumber, eg.
  • {prefix}: A path (that may include /'s) to organize the assets. Usually the prefix reflect the internal directory or folder hierarchy. However this can be overridden using special features of SIPI (see pre-flight-script and sipi configuration file).
  • {region}: a region of interest that should be displayed. full indicates that the whole image is being requested. For more details see IIIF regions
  • {size}: The size of the displayed image (part). max indicates the the "natural" maximal resolution should be used. For more details see IIIF size
  • {rotations}: The image can be rotated and mirrored before being transmitted to the client. SIPI allows for arbitrary rotations. The Value 0 indicates no rotation. For more details see IIIF rotation
  • {quality}: The quality parameter determines whether the image is delivered in color, grayscale or black and white. Valid values are:
  • default: the "natural" quality of the original image
  • color: A color representation
  • gray: A gray value representation
  • bitonal: A bitonal representation

All quality values are supported by SIPI - {format}: The file format that should be delivered. SIPI supports the following formats, irrelevant on the format the image as in the repository of SIPI: - jpg: The image is delivered as JPEG image. Unfortunately the IIIF standard does not allow the dynamic selection of the compression ratio used in creating the JPEG. However, a server wide rate may be set in the configuration file. - tif: The image is delivered as TIFF image. - png: The image is delivered as PNG image. - pdf: The image is delivered as PDF document. Note: *If the file in the SIPI repository is a multi-page PDF, a SIPI-specific extensions allows to address single pages and deliver them as images in any format. - jpx: The image is delivered as JPEG2000 image.

The SIPI Executable

The SIPI executable is a statically linked program that can be started as - command line tool to perform image operations, mainly format conversions - as server deamon that provides IIIF conforming media server

Using SIPI as Command Line Tool

The SIPI command line mode can be used for the following tasks:

Format Conversions:

/path/to/sipi infile outfile [options]
/path/to/sipi -x infile
/path/to/sipi --query infile

Compare two Images Pixelwise

The images may have different formats: if the have exactely the same pixels, they are considered identical). Metadata is ignored for comparison:

/path/to/sipi -C file1 file2
/path/to/sipi --compare file1 file2

General Options for the Command Line Use

In command line mode, SIPI supports the following options:

  • -h, --help: Display a short help with all options available
  • -F <fmt>, --format <fmt>: The format of the output file. Valid are jpx, jp2, jpg, png and pdf.
  • -I <profile>, --icc <profile>: Convert the outfile to the given ICC color profile. Supported profiles are sRGB, AdobeRGB and GRAY.
  • -q <num>, --quality <num>: Only used for the JPEG format. Ignored for all other formats. Its a number between 1 and 100, where 1 is equivalent to the highest compression ratio and lowest quality, 100 to the lowest compression ration and highest quality of the output image.
  • -n <num>, --pagenum <num>: Only for input files in multi-page PDF format: sets the page that should be converted. Ignored for all other input file formats.
  • -r <x> <y> <nx> <ny>, --region <x> <y> <nx> <ny>: Selects a region of interest that should be converted. Needs 4 integer values: left_upper_corner_X, left_upper_corner_Y, width, height.
  • -s <iiif-size>, --size <iif-size>: The size of the resulting image. The option requires a string parameter formatted according to the size-syntax of IIIF see IIIF-Size. Not giving this parameters results in having the maximalsize (as the value "max"would give).
  • -s <num>, --scale <num>: Scaling the image size by the given number (interpreted as percentage). Percentage must be given as integer value. It may be bigger than 100 to upscale an image.
  • -R <num>, --reduce <num>: Reduce the size of the image by the given factor. Thus -R 2would resize the image to half of the original size. Using --reduce is usually much faster than using --scale, e.g. --reduce 2 is faster than --scale 50.
  • -m <val>, --mirror <val>: Takes either horizontal or verticalas parameter to mirror the image appropriately.
  • -o <angle>, --rotate <angle>: Rotates the image by the given angle. The angle must be a floating point (or integer) value between 0.0and w60.0.
  • -k, --skipmeta: Strip all metadata from inputfile.
  • -w <filepath>, --watermark <filepath>: Overlays a watermark to the output image. must be a single channel, gray valued TIFF. That is, the TIFF file must have the following tag values: SAMPLESPERPIXEL = 1, BITSPERSAMPLE = 8, PHOTOMETRIC = PHOTOMETRIC_MINISBLACK.

JPEG2000 Specific Options

Usually, the SIPI command line tool is used to create JPEG2000 images suitable for a IIIF repository. SIPI supports the following JPEG2000 specific options. For a in detail description of these options consult the kakadu documentation!

  • --Sprofile <profile>: The following JPEG2000 profiles are supported: PROFILE0, PROFILE1, PROFILE2, PART2, CINEMA2K, CINEMA4K, BROADCAST, CINEMA2S, CINEMA4S, CINEMASS, IMF. Default: PART2.
  • --rates <string>: One or more bit-rates (see kdu_compress help!). A value "-1" may be used in place of the first bit-rate in the list to indicate that the final quality layer should include all compressed bits.
  • --Clayers <num>:Number of quality layers. Default: 8.
  • --Clevels <num>: Number of wavelet decomposition levels, or stages. Default: 8.
  • --Corder <val>: Progression order. The four character identifiers have the following interpretation: L=layer; R=resolution; C=component; P=position. The first character in the identifier refers to the index which progresses most slowly, while the last refers to the index which progresses most quickly. Thus must be one of LRCP, RLCP, RPCL, PCRL, CPRL, Default: RPCL.
  • --Stiles <string>: Tiles dimensions "{tx,ty}". Default: "{256,256}".
  • --Cprecincts <string>: Precinct dimensions "{px,py}" (must be powers of 2). Default: "{256,256}".
  • --Cblk <string>: Nominal code-block dimensions "{dx,dy}"(must be powers of 2, no less than 4 and no greater than 1024, whose product may not exceed 4096). Default: "{64,64}".
  • --Cuse_sop <val>: Include SOP markers (i.e., resync markers). Default: yes.

Using SIPI as IIIF Media Server

In order to use SIPI as IIIF media server, some setup work has to be done. The configuration of SIPI can be done using a configuration file (that is written in LUA) and/or using environment variables, and/or command line options.

The priority is as follows: configuration file parameters are overwritten by environment variables are overwritten by command line options.

The SIPI server requires a few directories to be setup and listed in the configuration file. Then the SIPI server is launched as follows:

/path/to/sipi --config /path/to/config-file.lua

SIPI specific extensions to IIIF

SIPI implements some backwards compatible, non-standard extensions to the IIIF Image API:

Page access to PDF's

SIPI allows to access the pages of a multipage pdf in any format using the well known IIIF image API. The prerequisite is that the file is available in the repository in PDF format. Only the identifier section of the IIIF syntax has to be extended with a non-standard extensions: adding a @-character followed by an integer between 1 the number of pages retrieves this page of the PDF as if it would a a single standard image an can be rendered to any supported format:,10,800,500/!500,500/0/default.jpg

The above command would extract page #5 from the PDF, convert it into an image, select the given region and return it a JPEG image. This, with this feature, a 3rd party viewer such a mirador or universalviewer may be used for scrolling through the pages of a PDF file.

In order to better support full PDF files, SIPI also adds the total number of pages to the info.json response if being requested for a PDF file (e.g. with the URL http// in addition to the standard info.json-format:

  "width": 2480,
  "height": 3508,
  "numpages": 27,
Access to a raw files

Sometimes it max be usefull to store non-image files such as XML-sidecars, manifests as JSON or complete PDF's etc. in the same environment as the images. For this reason supports an extension of the IIIF API:


The /file-path at the end of the URL makes SIPI to send the file as it is. Thus, for example a manfifest file could be accessed by

This works also for PDF's. The URL

will download in toto to be opened by an external viewer or the webapplication.

It is possible to use the IIIF-info.json syntax also on non-image files. In this case the info.json has the following format:

   "@context": "",
   "id": "http://localhost:1024/images/test.csv",
   "mimeType": "text/comma-separated-values",
   "fileSize": 327

Setup of SIPI Directories

SIPI needs the following directories and files setup and accessible (the real names of the directories must be indicated in the configuration file). The following configuration parameters are in the sipi-table of the configuration script:

  • imgroot=path: This is the top-directory of the media file repository. SIPI should at least have read access to it. If SIPI is used to upload and convert files, it must also have write access. The path may be given as absolute path or as relative path.
    Cmdline option: --imgroot
    Environment variable: SIPI_IMGROOT
    Default: ./images

  • initscript=path/to/init.lua: SIPI needs a minmal set of LUA functions that can be adapted to the local installation. These mandatory functions are definied in a init-script (usually it can be found in the config directory where also the configuration file is located).
    Cmdline option: --initscript
    Environment variable: SIPI_INITSCRIPT
    Default: ./config/sipi.init.lua

  • tmpdir=path: For the support of multipart POST SIPI requires read/write access to a directory to save temporary files.
    Cmdline option: --tmpdir
    Environment variable: SIPI_IMGROOT
    Default: ./tmp

  • scriptdir=path: Path to the directory where the LUA-scripts for the routes (e.g. RESTful services) can be found.
    Cmdline option: --scriptdir
    Environment variable: SIPI_SCRIPTDIR
    Default: ./scripts

  • cachedir=path: SIPI may optionally use a cache directory to store converted image in order to avoid computationally intensive conversions if a specific variant is requested several times. Sipi starts with a warning if the cache directory is defined but not existing.
    Cmdline option: --cachedir
    Environment variable: SIPI_CACHEDIR
    Default: ./cache

In addition, SIPI can act as a webserver that offers image upload and conversion as web service. In order to use this feature, a server directory has to be defined. This definition ist in the fileserver-table of the configuration file:

  • docroot=path: Path to the document root of the SIPI web server.
    Cmdline option: --docroot
    Environment variable: SIPI_DOCROOT
    Default: ./server

SIPI Configuration Parameters

The following configuration parameters are used by the SIPI server:

Cache Configuration

SIPI may optionally use a cache directory to store converted image in order to avoid computationally intensive conversions if a specific variant is requested several times. The cache is based on timestamps and the canonical IIIF URL. Before an image is being converted, the canonical URL is determined. If a file associated with this canonical URL is in the cache directory, the timestamp of the original file in the repository is compated to the cached file. If the cached file is newer, it will be served. If the file in the repository is newer, the cache file (which is outdated) will be deleted and replaced be the newly converted repository file (that is being sent to the client).

The following configuration parameters determine the behaviour of the cache:

  • cachedir=path: SIPI may optionally use a cache directory to store converted image in order to avoid computationally intensive conversions if a specific variant is requested several times. Sipi starts with a warning if the cache directory is defined but not existing.
    Cmdline option: --cachedir
    Environment variable: SIPI_CACHEDIR
    Default: ./cache

  • cachesize=amount: The maximal size of the cache. The cache will be purged if either the maximal size or maximal number of files is reached. The amount has the form "M" with M indication Megabytes.
    Cmdline option: --cachesize
    Environment variable: SIPI_CACHESIZE
    Default: 200M

  • cache_nfiles=num: The maximal number of files to be cached. The cache will be purged if either the maximal size or maximal number of files is reached.
    Cmdline option: --cachenfiles
    Environment variable: SIPI_CACHENFILES
    Default: 200

  • cache_hysteresis=float: If the cache becomes full, the given percentage of file space is marked for reuse and purged.
    Cmdline option: --cachehysteresis
    Environment variable: SIPI_CACHEHYSTERESIS
    Default: 0.15

Configuration of the HTTP File Server

SIPI offers HTTP file server for HTML and other files. Files with the ending .elua are HTTP-files with embeded LUA code. Everything between the ... tags is interpreted as LUA code and the output embedded in the data stream for the client.

All configurations for the HTTP server are in the fileserver table:

  • docroot=path: Path to the document root of the file server.
    Cmdline option: --docroot
    Environment variable: SSIPI_DOCROOT
    Default: ./server

  • wwwroute=string: Route for the file server should respond to requests.That is, a file with the name "dada.html" is accessed with http://dnsname/server/dada.html, if the wwwrouteis set to /server.
    Cmdline option: --wwwroute
    Environment variable: SIPI_WWWROUTE
    Default: /server

Configuration of Administrator Access

SIPI allows special administrator access for some tasks. In order to allow for this, an administrator has to be defined as follows:

admin = {
    -- username of admin user
    user = 'admin',

    -- Administration password
    password = 'Sipi-Admin'

If You're using the administrator user, please make sure that the config file is not exposed!

Routing Table

SIPI allows to implement RESTful interfaces or other services based on LUA-scripts which are located in the scripts directory. In order to use these LUA-scripts as endpoints, the appropriate routes have to be defined in the routes table. An entry has the following form: - method: the HTTP request. Supported are GET, POST, PUT and DELETE. - route: A URL path that may contain /'s. - script: Name of the LUA script in the script directory.

Thus, the routing section of a SIPI configuration file may look as follows:

routes = {
        method = 'DELETE',
        route = '/api/cache',
        script = 'cache.lua'
        method = 'GET',
        route = '/api/cache',
        script = 'cache.lua'
        method = 'POST',
        route = '/api/upload',
        script = 'upload.lua'
        method = 'GET',
        route = '/sqlite',
        script = 'test_sqlite.lua'