[OAI-implementers] OAI-PMH & SOAP

Thomas Krichel krichel@openlib.org
Sat, 2 Feb 2002 15:25:41 -0600

  Walter Underwood writes

> Unlike the STARTS workshop, OAI seems to have almost no commercial
> participation. This is unfortunate, because commercial harvester
> technology is far ahead of public and academic technology.
> This is a critical problem, because the primary users of OAI
> will be harvesters.

  I think that some notes on the background of OAI
  may help to put this into perspective. OAI was founded
  as an initiative to foster the interoperability between
  eprint initiatives. A harversting protocol and metadata
  scheme were produced. The harvesting protocol was  later on 
  "hijacked" as  general interoperability protocol by other groups
  working in the digital library setting. The OAI group
  felt that the protocol could be made sufficiently
  general so that it could be used outside the eprints
  community, without any loss to the eprints community.
  Thus the protocol is not planned as a general harvesting
  protocol for general contents.

> "Build it and they will come" simply will not work for this
> protocol. Currently, it is designed by providers, and for
> providers. So only providers will use it.

  It is true that there are a limited number of service
  providers out there. The stumbling block, in my 
  opinion is not with the harvesting protocol, but with
  the fact that there has not yet been sufficient community
  building around rich community specific metadata sets
  that would allow the construction of specific user
  services. Such a community building is a social
  process, not a technical one. Therefore it will
  take a long time. But OAI brings the right ethos, and
  that is what counts, as far as I am concerned.

  I am a member of the tech committee, but these remarks
  should be taken as personal. 


  Thomas Krichel                              mailto:krichel@openlib.org