Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH)

Maintained by OAI-ORE Executive.

The Open Archives Initiative develops and promotes interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content. The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting is a technology used to share metadata in a mostly automated way. “Data providers” set up servers where descriptions of resources are available using requests governed by the OAI-PMH protocol, and “service providers” collect metadata from multiple data providers and create value-added services on top of the aggregated data, such as cross-repository discovery. The protocol requires at a minimum a Simple Dublin Core record for every resource exposed, but also allows supplemental metadata formats as long as they are represented by a W3C XML Schema. The OAI-PMH protocol grew out of communities wishing to share pre-prints of scientific papers, but was quickly adopted by the larger cultural heritage community. While OAI-PMH is primarily about sharing metadata, some implementers have experimented with using it to share content as well, by providing links to thumbnail images or sharing full METS packages encapsulating or linking to full digital objects.

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