[OAI-general] OAIster Reaches 10 Million Records

Kat Hagedorn khage at umich.edu
Thu Jan 25 11:08:03 EST 2007

**Apologies for cross-posting.**


ANN ARBOR, Mich. - OAIster Reaches 10 Million Records.

We live in an information-driven world-- one in which access to good 
information defines success.  OAIster's growth to 10 million records takes 
us one step closer to that goal.

Developed at the University of Michigan's Library, OAIster is a collection 
of digital scholarly resources.  OAIster is also a service that 
continually gathers these digital resources to remain complete and fresh. 
As global digital repositories grow, so do OAIster's holdings.

Popular search engines don't have the holdings OAIster does.  They crawl 
web pages and index the words on those pages.  It's an outstanding 
technique for fast, broad information from public websites.  But scholarly 
information, the kind researchers use to enrich their work, is generally 
hidden from these search engines.

OAIster retrieves these otherwise elusive resources by tapping directly 
into the collections of a variety of institutions using harvesting 
technology based on the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) Protocol for 
Metadata Harvesting.  These can be images, academic papers, movies and 
audio files, technical reports, books, as well as preprints (unpublished 
works that have not yet been peer reviewed).  By aggregating these 
resources, OAIster makes it possible to search across all of them and 
return the results of a thorough investigation of complete, up-to-date 

Ann Devenish, Publication Services Project Manager at Woods Hole 
Oceanographic Institute, notes that "Harvesting by OAIster is a primary 
'selling point' when we talk to scientists and researchers about the 
visibility, accessibility, and impact of their contributions in an 
institutional repository.  From their own experiences they know that a 
search using one of the popular search engines can bring back thousands 
(if not, millions) of results which will require careful and 
time-consuming screening, with no guarantee that they will ever get to the 
content they seek.  A search of OAIster, across hundreds of open and 
scholarly archives and millions of records, brings back results with the 
key metadata elements that allow for quick identification of, and easy 
navigation to, the content they seek."

OAIster is good news for the digital archives that contribute material to 
open-access repositories.  "[OAIster has demonstrated that]...OAI 
interoperability can scale. This is good news for the technology, since 
the proliferation is bound to continue and even accelerate," says Peter 
Suber, author of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.  As open-access 
repositories proliferate, they will be supported by a single, 
well-managed, comprehensive, and useful tool.

Scholars will find that searching in OAIster can provide better results 
than searching in web search engines.  Roy Tennant, User Services 
Architect at the California Digital Library, offers an example: "In 
OAIster I searched 'roma' and 'world war,' then sorted by weighted 
relevance. The first hit nailed my topic-- the persecution of the Roma in 
World War II. Trying 'roma world war' in Google fails miserably because 
Google apparently searches 'Rome' as well as 'Roma.' The ranking then 
makes anything about the Roma people drop significantly, and there is 
nothing in the first few screens of results that includes the word in the 
title, unlike the OAIster hit."

OAIster currently harvests 730 repositories from 49 countries on 6 
continents.  In three years, it has more than quadrupled in size and 
increased from 6.2 million to 10 million in the past year.  OAIster is a 
project of the University of Michigan Digital Library Production Service.

For more information about University of Michigan's OAIster Project, visit
http://www.oaister.org/, or contact Kat Hagedorn at khage at umich.edu.

Kat Hagedorn
OAIster/Metadata Harvesting Librarian
DLXS Bibliographic Class Coordinator
Digital Library Production Service
University of Michigan

email: khage at umich.edu
phone: 734-615-7618

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