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open archives initiative

The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) is an attempt to build a "low-barrier interoperability framework" for archives (institutional repositories) containing digital content (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 publishing movement. However, the developed technology and standards 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. In other words, the relation of OAI compatibility to Dublin Core is that OAI standards allow a common way to provide content, and part of those standards is that the content has metadata that describes the items in Dublin Core format. OAI has recently begun work on the Object Reuse and Exchange (OAI-ORE) project which defines standards for the description and exchange of aggregations of Web resources. (Excerpt from <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Archives_Initiative">Wikipedia article: Open Archives Initiative</a>)

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