[OAI-implementers] protocol comments, OAI 2.0

Jonathan Tregear jtregear@salud.unm.edu
Thu, 31 Jan 2002 14:29:41 -0700

I am also interested in the reasons that the OAI technical committee
doesn't feel that SOAP is the correct option at this moment. Has the
technical committee published any discussion on this issue that I can
read? If not, could someone from the technical committee post a summary
of the reasons for this conclusion?

This is particularly important to me because I need to make a decision
about a number of repositories that I am working on. As another
perspective on the ease of implementation justification for data
providers of continuing with the current custom OAI protocal,
personally, as one of those potential data providers I would rather
invest my institutions time and resources coding to a W3C web services
standard than to, what is in essence, a proprietary protocol. This has
caused me to delay, altogether, implementing our repositories for now.

I realize the unfortunate timing of the emergence of SOAP as a web
standard after a great deal of institutional infrastructure has already
been created around the current OAI protocol, but as they say times have
changed and what I seem to be seeing here is the beginnings of a web
services replay of the proprietary html tag wars of the past few years.
And the last thing I want to see is OAI playing the part of Netscape 4.7
in this replay.

We now insist that the web developers in our organization support and
code to W3C html standards. In the absence of really good reasons to the
contrary, I think OAI should support and implement W3C web services
standards as well. Gateways (other than as a transitional step) are not
the right answer here. It is very OAI centric to think that a much
larger web services community should come to you rather than OAI
supporting web service standards directly. For the long-term benefit of
the larger open archives community, I hope that this happens sooner
rather than later.

Jonathan Tregear
Health Sciences Center
University of New Mexico

>>> Walter Underwood <wunder@inktomi.com> 01/30/02 22:13 PM >>>
--On Wednesday, January 30, 2002 11:37 PM -0500 "Michael L. Nelson"
<mln@ils.unc.edu> wrote:
> I agree with your point about a one-off protocol.  However, as Simeon
> mentioned, OAI 2.0 will not have http dependencies.

SOAP does not have HTTP dependencies. HTTP is only one transport
for SOAP. E-mail is another.

> Perhaps the best description is the primary goal of keeping OAI as
> as possible for data providers, even at the expense of service
> The notion is that if being a DP is as *absolutely simple* as
> more DPs will exist.  A critical mass of DPs will cause SPs to emerge.

Custom protocols are never simple. They are dead ends. There won't be
an O'Reilly book for OAI. There will be for SOAP.

Why build something and wait for the users to come? Take it to them,
in their language. Now. Even AppleScript can make SOAP calls. Really.

> So, I guess the next question is "who will write the first OAI <->
> gateway?"

My question is, "why should it be neccesary, when it could have
been a SOAP protocol in the first place?" Why design something
that is destined to be an epicycle in the cosmology?

I'm guessing that 2.0 is "too far along" to change. That is not
a good reason to do the wrong thing. The model is already there,
recast it in WSDL.

Walter R. Underwood
Senior Staff Engineer
Inktomi Enterprise Search
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