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Created: February 17, 2001.
News: Cover Stories

Open Archives Initiative Publishes XML Schemas for the OAI Metadata Harvesting Protocol.

Version 1.0 of The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting has been published with appendices documenting XML schemas for metadata representation (e.g., Dublin Core metadata format, RFC1807 metadata format, MARC21 records in an XML format). The published OAI protocol defines a mechanism for harvesting records containing metadata from repositories, where metadata records be structured as XML data. The OAI protocol and has been extensively tested by a variety of alpha testers before its public release and is now widely implemented. The OAI metadata harvesting protocol supports an "interoperability framework with two classes of participants: (1) Data Providers administer systems that support the OAI protocol as a means of exposing metadata about the content in their systems; (2) Service Providers issue OAI protocol requests to the systems of data providers and use the returned metadata (XML-encoded byte stream) as a basis for building value-added services." An online 'Open Archives Initiative Repository Explorer' supports interactive testing of archives for conformance with the OAI protocol.

The Open Archives Initiative, with funding from the Digital Library Federation and the Coalition for Networked Information, "develops and promotes interoperability standards" for efficient dissemination of content on the Web. The Open Archives Initiative has its roots in an effort to enhance access to e-print archives as a means of increasing the availability of scholarly communication. Continued support of this work remains a cornerstone of the Open Archives program. The fundamental technological framework and standards that are developing to support this work are, however, independent of the both the type of content offered and the economic mechanisms surrounding that content, and promise to have much broader relevance in opening up access to a range of digital materials. As a result, the Open Archives Initiative is currently an organization and an effort explicitly in transition, and is committed to exploring and enabling this new and broader range of applications. As we gain greater knowledge of the scope of applicability of the underlying technology and standards being developed, and begin to understand the structure and culture of the various adopter communities, we expect that we will have to make continued evolutionary changes to both the mission and organization of the Open Archives Initiative... The current OAI technical infrastructure, which is specified in the Open Archives Metadata Harvesting Protocol, defines a mechanism for data providers to expose their metadata through an HTTP-based protocol. There is nothing in the OAI mission that restricts the work of the OAI to metadata alone. However, we are guided by the goal to define a low-barrier and widely applicable framework for cross-repository interoperability and believe that exposing metadata is plausible route to such a goal. We may, in the future, explore and define other mechanisms for interoperability."

[February 17, 2001] "The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting." Edited by Herbert Van de Sompel (Cornell University - Computer Science) and Carl Lagoze (Cornell University - Computer Science). Protocol Version 1.0. Document Version 2001-01-21. "The goal of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting is to supply and promote an application-independent interoperability framework that can be used by a variety of communities who are engaged in publishing content on the Web. The OAI protocol described in this document permits metadata harvesting. The result is an interoperability framework with two classes of participants: (1) Data Providers administer systems that support the OAI protocol as a means of exposing metadata about the content in their systems; (2) Service Providers issue OAI protocol requests to the systems of data providers and use the returned metadata as a basis for building value-added services. A repository is a network accessible server to which OAI protocol requests, embedded in HTTP, can be submitted. The OAI protocol provides access to metadata from OAI-compliant repositories. This metadata is output in the form of a record. A record is the result of a protocol request issued to the repository to disseminate metadata from an item. A record is an XML-encoded byte stream that is returned by a repository in response to an OAI protocol request for metadata from an item in that repository. Appendix 1 supplies 'Sample XML Schema for metadata formats': Each metadata format that is included in records disseminated by the OAI protocol is identified within the repository by a metadata prefix and across multiple repositories by the URL of a metadata schema. The metadata schema is an XML schema that may be used as a test of conformance of the metadata included in the record. XML Schemas for three metadata formats are provided: (1) An XML Schema for the mandatory unqualified Dublin Core metadata format; (2) An XML Schema for the RFC1807 metadata format; (3) An XML Schema to represent MARC21 records in an XML format. Appendix 2 supplies 'Sample XML Schemas for the description part of a reply to Identify request': The response to an Identify request may contain a list of description containers, which provide an extensible mechanism for communities to describe their repositories. Each description container must be accompanied by the URL of an XML schema, which provides the semantics of the container. XML Schemas for two examples of description containers are provided. See also the XML Schema for the Response Format [source] and related schemas. [cache]

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