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The Forum moved on to a discussion of the
science and software behind the Semantic Web.
Moderator Seamus Ross started by questioning
whether `key thinkers' were `missing a fundamental
point that Web pages are dead, that database-driven
Web pages are the future, that people are going to
stop making Web pages and make databases.'
He recalled that James A. Hendler, co-author with
Tim Berners-Lee in the Semantic Web paper, and a
professor in the Department of Computer Science at
the University of Maryland, had recommended seman-
tic representation as part of any Web pages. Dr Ross
commented:`This notion of the Semantic Web is not
going to work with these databases. Is this true, or not?'
Bert Degenhart-Drenth, the managing director of
Netherlands ADLIB Information Systems
(, thought it was true.
But it was a practical problem that would be solved
DigiCULT 17
Open Archives Initiative (OAI) Protocol for
Metadata Harvesting
The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) is a mainly US-
based group of people and organisations that evolved
out of a need to increase access to scholarly publi-
cations through interoperable digital repositories.
Support for the OAI's goals comes from the Digital
Library Federation, the Coalition for Networked
Information, and from a NSF Grant. One of its major
achievements is an application-independent inter-
operability framework based on metadata harvesting:
the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting.
The OAI Protocol is based on the standard Web
protocols http and XML, and employs Dublin Core
(unqualified) as metadata standard. Heritage organi-
sations who have systems that support the OAI
Protocol can expose metadata about the content in
their repository, i.e. allow service providers to harvest
the data for services such as search engines. In the
OAI Protocol, the XML schema is used at two levels:
to define the format of responses to all OAI Protocol
requests, and to define the format of metadata streams
embedded in the GetRecord and ListRecords
responses. In both cases, the goal is to provide a
mechanism for data validation.
The OAI-PMH, version 2.0, released in June 2002,
can be found at
See also: John Perkins: A New Way of Making
Cultural Information Resources Visible on the Web:
Museums and the Open Archives Initiative. Museums
and the Web Conference 2001,
Open Archives Forum Project
The Open Archives Forum Project is a two-year
Fifth Framework Programme IST accompanying
measure that will run until September 2003.The
Forum is building a Web-based database on OAI-
related projects, software, implementations and
services, and supports the information exchange
between OAI user communities.
Their surveys provide good insight into the status of
uptake of the OAI in Europe. For an overview of the
results, see: S. Dobratz, B. Matthaei: Open Archives
Activities and Experiences in Europe. An Overview
by the Open Archives Forum. In: D-Lib Magazine,
Vol. 9, No. 1, January 2003,
Recently, one of their workshops, `Providing Access
to Hidden Resources' (Lisbon, December 2002),
targeted the libraries and archives communities.
Requirements, standards, best practice, and solutions
to interoperability problems of these communities
were analysed and compared with the features
provided by the OAI Protocol for Metadata
Harvesting.The Tutorial `OAI and OAI-PMH for
Beginners' and other presentations can be found at:
by projects like the Web Services of the Open
Archives Initiative (OAI).
Several members spoke of difficulties created by
dynamic Web pages generated from ASP databases.
Paul Miller, the UK Interoperability Focus for the
University of Bath's UKOLN (formerly the UK
Office for Library Networking) project, said the UK's