ASIS&T IA Summit 2003 "Making Connections"  
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Metadata Harvesting
Sunday, 1:30 - 2:30
Session Two

Karl Fast
Metadata Harvesting
University of Western Ontario

Metadata is fundamental to information architecture. Furthermore, networks afford new models for exchanging metadata. However, metadata exchange over the Internet remains an ad-hoc, messy, and informal affair. There are several initiatives to develop formal protocols for exchanging metadata over the Internet. The Semantic Web is the most high profile and ambitious, but the furthest from implementation. RSS is arguably the most common, though it is rarely described as a protocol for metadata exchange. A promising newcomer to this field is the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting, or OAI-PMH. The OAI-PMH aims to be a simple, low-barrier to entry, XML based protocol for the formal exchange of metadata records over the Internet. The protocol seems poised to have a major impact. The specification has stabilized, several toolkits are available, and it has been implemented in several successful projects.

In this paper I will describe the OAI-PMH. I will present goals and architecture of the protocol. I will explain how it works, what it does, and what it does not do. Projects based on the protocol will be demonstrated. There will be a brief survey of existing toolkits. I will also discuss how the protocol can be used to support more robust information architecture solutions.

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