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The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) is an attempt to build a "low-barrier interoperability framework" for digital archives (aka "institutional repositories") containing digital content (aka "digital libraries"). It allows people (Service Providers) to harvest metadata (from Data Providers). This metadata is used to provide "value-added services", often by combining different data sets.
Initially, the initiative has been involved in the development of a technological framework and interoperability standards specifically for enhancing access to e-print archives, in order to increase the availability of scholarly communication; OAI is, therefore, closely related to the Open Access movement. The developed technology and standards, though, are applicable in a much broader domain than scholarly publishing alone.
The OAI technical infrastructure, specified in the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), currently in version 2.0, defines a mechanism for data providers to expose their metadata. This protocol mandates that individual archives map their metadata to the Dublin Core, a simple and common metadata set for this purpose.
Funding for the initiative comes from various organizations including the Joint Information Systems Committee.
PictureAustralia is an example of OAI-PMH in action. PictureAustralia harvests image data from Australian libraries, universities, museums and galleries. It then provides a single search system to access all the images.
- OAI News
- Largest OAI-Harvester (OAIster)
- UIUC OAI Metadata Harvesting Project
- Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals
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