[OAI-implementers] User Specific Archive Access

Michael Krot krot@umich.edu
Tue, 22 Apr 2003 13:41:34 -0400

Hi all,

Thanks to all for your input - it is very nice to get worthwhile 
feedback so quickly!  I realize that access restriction is beyond the 
scope of the OAI standard, but it is unforntunately a messy part of life 
over here. 
I'm not so interested in the how of access restriction, ip recognition, 
controlling rights, etc. - these things I can handle.  The interesting 
part to me is managing this huge metadata repository in such a way as to 
provide the metadata I want a user to see given the constraints of the 
OAI standard.

I will try to address some of the questions you all have raised:

1)  Mr. Krichel made some comments about service providers and 
subscriptions to JSTOR.  JSTOR actually has more user groups than just 
service providers.
We also deal directly with Libraries (who may want the metadata to 
create their own search engines), Publishers (who will want the metadata 
for an entire run of a journal and have no
access restrictions at all), and other business partners who want access 
to our metadata.

Having such diverse groups with varying technical skills raises a number 
of issues - among them is how can we get the user the metadata that only 
they want/need and what are the implications in regards to OAI selective 
harvesting rules.

2)  As far as sharing ALL our metadata - this would greatly simplify my 
life in regards to this issue, but it is a business decision that is out 
of my hands.  I would still restrict by Journal, so users would only get 
metadata for those journals they subscribe to, but I would let them see 
ALL content for that journal including content that is not yet available 
on the public site (usually due to agreements with publishers).  These 
records could be flagged as "not yet publically available" and 
consequently screened out by the end user. 

There are two major problems I see with this approach:

a)  Metadata has some inherent value to it.  What's stopping someone 
from providing links to other content providers using our metadata to 
point to other providers?  Perhaps this question could be worked out in 
a legal metadata sharing contract.    I said before this is a business 
decision that is out of my hands for now...
b)  Users may not want to screen out large chunks of content that they 
can't yet see.  I'm already worried about the technical barriers that 
using OAI may provide for some of our less technically inclined 
partners, this might further complicate the process for them.

Yeah, yeah...information wants to be free...I know that song and dance.  
It certainly would make life easier, but I'm not sure it makes good policy.,

3)   Do I have this right that the "creation date" for a given object is 
subjective?  That is, does the creation date refer to the date that this 
object became available to repository for that particular user?  I'm 
guessing yes. 

If this is the case, we can potenially do some behind-the-sceens 
spoofing of the creation date to reflect the time that this record 
became available to the user.  We would aslo have to spoof the modified 
date in the same way, so that no record had a modified date older than 
the creation date.    This would be a fairly complex process and would 
require us to maintain information about what a user was able to see at 
a given point in time.  It would also require us to gather data about 
the record such as the published date (this is how we restrict access) 
and the date the record was publically released.  A difficult problem, 
but not impossible.

4)  The virtual repository idea is interesting, but would likely be 
unmangeable if we start getting large amounts of users when are dealing 
with millions of records.

Thanks to you all - I really appreciate your help!

Michael Krot
Data Manager