[OAI-implementers] points to ponder

Young,Jeff jyoung@oclc.org
Tue, 13 May 2003 17:32:13 -0400

Herbert Van de Sompel, Thom Hickey, and I are writing a paper for D-Lib
(scheduled for the July/August issue) to explore the application of OAI
beyond the realm of mere harvesting. Indeed, the topic of pushing the
boundaries of the OAI-PMH is a sensitive subject. The fear seems to be that
any extension will obfuscate the simple premises of OAI, which I'm sure we
can all sympathize with. Accordingly, our paper avoids this sensitive

Nevertheless, it often occurs to me that OAI provides 90% of the
functionality I need for certain simple web applications, and I too am
tempted to extend it that extra 10%. The most fruitful example is the
OpenURL Registry (http://www.openurl.info/registry/) which I was able to get
up and running in a couple of hours from it's conception using OAICat. (I
won't go into where the extra 10% occurs in this instance.)

I think this is just the tip of the iceberg for what could be done with OAI.
Because of this, I too would like to see a discussion of this topic.

My general solution has been to add '/extension' to the baseURL for any
application-type verbs. Whether this enough to differentiate it from OAI-PMH
proper may be debatable.

I've encountered three cases so far:

verb=GetMetadata&metadataPrefix=oai_dc&identifier=oai:xyz:123 - to return
the content of the <metadata> element without the OAI wrapper.

verb=Redirect&identifier=oai:xyz:123 - to look up the first dc:identifier in
the record and perform an HTTP redirect to it. (This is in relation to
another upcoming paper that Thom and I are doing with Andy Powell.)

verb=FRBRRedirect&identifier=OPAC_ID&isbn=ISBN - to support bookmarklets
that direct users from a web page containing an ISBN (such as Amazon) to
their local library's OPAC. (See http://alcme.oclc.org/bookmarks/ for the

I find the possibilities here fascinating. My boss is making fun of me, now,
for turning everything I do into an OAI repository. How bad can that be,


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Hussein Suleman [mailto:hussein@cs.uct.ac.za]
> Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2003 12:20 PM
> To: OAI-implementers
> Subject: [OAI-implementers] points to ponder
> hi
> i am sitting here looking out the window wondering why OAI 
> people are so 
> wedded to the idea that we should not use parts of the 
> protocol in any 
> way for other purposes ... on the board behind me i have a matrix of 
> protocol requirements and i need to name and parametrise the 
> individual 
> interfaces ... and i dont want to create new names just to be 
> different 
> but past experience says that if i do not, it will be an 
> uphill battle 
> against people who believe OAI is not to be tampered with ...
> should i use a completely new vocabulary for random access to a 
> repository/database/component or are words like "GetRecord" and 
> "ListRecords" ok? can the parameters be the same or are 
> "identifier" and 
> "set" reserved for OAI-PMH? is the record format strictly for 
> OAI-PMH only?
> obviously OAI did not invent remote access to records - all 
> it did was 
> popularise and standardise a way of doing it. is it not time 
> we realised 
> that the OAI-PMH specifies so much more in terms of DL practices than 
> just a harvesting protocol?
> precisely where is the line between metadata harvesting and 
> DL practices?
> i remember some 3 years ago, when OAIv1.0 was being designed 
> we referred 
> to Z39.50 as the "800-pound gorilla" - the protocol that everyone 
> supported and you did not openly challenge. is OAI-PMH the 
> new 800-pound 
> gorilla?
> anyway, just thought i would throw this out for discussion. 
> it seems the 
> general forum is announcement-only so this is the only place 
> for discussion.
> ttfn,
> ----hussein
> -- 
> =====================================================================
> hussein suleman ~ hussein@cs.uct.ac.za ~ http://www.husseinsspace.com
> =====================================================================
> _______________________________________________
> OAI-implementers mailing list
> List information, archives, preferences and to unsubscribe:
> http://oaisrv.nsdl.cornell.edu/mailman/listinfo/oai-implementers