random library quotation Link: Publications Forum Link: About DLF Link: News
Link: Digital Collections Link: Digital Production Link: Digital Preservation Link: Use, users, and user support Link: Build: Digital Library Architectures, Systems, and Tools
photo of books






Please send the DLF Director your comments or suggestions.

Open Archives Initiative

News: In September 2004, DLF received an IMLS National Leadership Grant to research a "second generation" Open Archives Initiative (OAI) finding system. The project team has been conducting a series of teleconferences and face-to-face meetings. Many working groups have been established to help further the mission of the project team, i.e., an institutional affiliates group, a scholars' advisory group, and a technical advisory group. Read the project narrative.

DLF is pleased to further the mission of OAI, an international initiative that is developing a technical framework for facilitating the efficient dissemination of content via the network.

OAI's early significance for libraries is outlined in a vision statement that reflects a preliminary review conducted at Harvard University in May 2000 with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. A background document introduces the OAI and supplies a brief history of DLF's involvement with it.

In 2001 DLF joined the Coalition for Networked Information in providing organizational support for OAI during its critical development stage (2001-2003), resulting in the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metatdata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) Version 2.0, available from the Open Archives Initiative Web site.

DLF member institutions have also been early adopters and continue to be proving grounds for OAI, through a series of early and evolving harvesting services, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: at Emory University, two grant projects—AmericanSouth.org and MetaArchive.org—have been collaboratively conjoined and are being carried forward in cooperation with partner institutions SOLINET and the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL). Services will integrate access to digital collections dealing with the American south; integrate finding aids for archives of papers of major American political figures, and of records of theological institutions, and Africana; The University of Illinois is creating a web portal for searching materials focusing on cultural heritage and coming from variety of institutions including library special collections, museums, historical societies, and public libraries; The University of Michigan is building a service, OAISTER, that will integrate access to digitally reformatted materials irrespective of their subject, whether art or zoology, and format, whether text or image; the University of Virginia is working to integrate access to digital Americana, all formats. Many other DLF members are contributing metadata to these harvesting services. A project report supplies information about these practical evaluation projects.

A glance through the OAI news site shows much continuing activity in OAI from DLF members, and in early 2004 we began the planning for another round of work, taking what Michigan, Illinois, Emory, CDL, and others have learned and beginning to envisage a new set of good practices for OAI's use in distributed libraries. Use of OAI has reached critical mass, and of central importance now is making the transition from experimental protocol to a robust, reliable infrastructure component. This will require the building and regularization of collaborative relationships between OAI metadata providers and service providers. For recent work on this (Fall Forum 2005) please see the following presentations from a panel OAI for Digital Library Aggregation: David Seaman, DLF; Kat Hagedorn, University of Michigan Libraries; Martin Halbert, Emory University; and Tom Habing, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

To aid our understanding of the OAI space we commissioned a 2003 report A Survey of Digital Library Aggregation Services (Martha L. Brogan) that provides an overview of a diverse set of more than thirty digital library aggregation services, organizes them into functional clusters, and then evaluates them more fully from the perspective of an informed user. An update to the 2003 report is currently under way, and will be available by fall 2006.

return to top >>