background image
with interoperability alternatives such as
building discovery services on the Z39.50
distributed search and retrieval protocol.
In addition, unqualified Dublin Core
provides a common denominator, a
cut-down switching language for which
mappings from a number of metadata
formats already exist. (For example, see
Day 1996-2002.)
ven given the simplicity for the data
provider of implementing OAI, the
complexity of providing enhanced high-
quality services remains and must be
addressed by the service provider. Among
projects that are exploring provision of
value-added services layered onto the
metadata harvested by the OAI service
provider, the ePrints UK project
uk/) is working with the OCLC Office
of Research (
research) to enhance metadata with
authority control and Dewey subject
classification; and with the OpCit Project
at the University of Southampton
( to include
OpenURLs for citations. For COINE
(Cultural Objects In Networked
Environments Project)
(, OAI
implementation is one piece in the puzzle
of the possible architecture for providing
truly innovative ways of involving users
with cultural objects.
Artiste ( a
collaboration among four major European
galleries and other specialist partners ­ sees
OAI as part of a new management system
for visual information (Addis et al. 2002).
he other chief attraction of the open
archives approach to the cultural
heritage sector is its potential to provide
or improve access to material in what is
sometimes called the `Hidden Web'. The
Hidden Web refers to material that is
potentially accessible via the Web because
it is in digital format and held on organi-
sations' servers, but could not ordinarily
be located through publicly available
Internet search facilities or subject gate-
ways, or even through organisations' own
public Web sites.This includes, for instance,
the output of digitisation projects and
unpublished reports produced within
organisations.The OAI Metadata
Harvesting Project at the University of
Illinois ( is an
example of this kind of access provision. It
provides a search service built on metadata
describing manuscript archives and digitised
cultural heritage information resources
harvested from more than two-dozen
idespread take-up of the OAI frame-
work will be needed in order to
realise the potential of OAI-based inter-
operability. It is crucial at this stage of trials
and pilot services incorporating OAI that
many players in the field of cultural heritage
work to common standards and develop
best practice guidelines in their application.
When representatives of around forty
cultural content creation programmes in
Europe and the Americas met in March
2002, they found that a number were
already exploring OAI within their pro-
grammes (Miller et al. 2002).The Open
Archives Forum (OA-Forum)
( is an IST-
funded ( focus
for dissemination of information about
European activity related to open archives.
OA-Forum workshops in May and
December 2002 attracted participants from
the heritage sector, including invited
speakers.There is some evidence that take-
up is likely to reach the critical mass
required in at least some communities, as
perhaps it has already done within the
e-prints community. In the cultural herita-
ge sector, projects and initiatives such as
those mentioned above indicate at least a
lively and growing interest in applying this
solution to service problems involving
More information about OAI is available in and through:
The Open Archives Initiative:
Open Archives Forum:
UKOLN links to Open Archives Initiatives resources:
Deutsche Initiative für Netzwerkinformation (DINI):
Addis, M., Lewis, P., Martinez, K. `ARTISTE image retrieval system puts
European galleries in the picture', Cultivate Interactive, issue 7, 11 July 2002
Day, M. `Mapping between metadata formats', UKOLN site
Miller, P., Dawson, D. and Perkins, J. `Towards a Digital Cultural Content Forum',
Cultivate Interactive, issue 7, 11 July 2002