Open Archives Initiative gathers momentum
Scott Wilson, CETIS staff
February 15, 2002

The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) have announced new features for Version 2 of its Metadata Harvesting Protocol, while adoption of the existing protocol has been boosted by a new JISC program.

Recently the OAI released a list of the new features for version 2 of the Metadata Harvesting Protocol (MHP) on its website. Features announced include better handling of dates and times, improved de-duplication of metadata records, and new error handling capabilities. OAI expects to release Version 2 in May this year.

OAI's metadata harvesting protocol (MHP) allows search engines and applications to gather ("harvest") metadata records from digital repositories. Using a fairly lightweight specification, MHP makes it possible to search multiple archives from a single search.

A number of universities, libraries and other organisations have already implemented the MHP, including the arXiv.org e-Print library at Cornell and the Library of Congress. Complete lists of OAI-compliant repositories and service providers are available on the OAI website.

In the UK, JISC has issued a Circular (01/02) entitled Focus on Access to Institutional Resources (FAIR) in inspired by the work of the OAI. The Circular invites proposals for projects and studies concerning the submission and sharing of content generated by the UK's higher- and further-education communities. For more information, read the FAIR Circular on JISC's website.