[OAI-implementers] DSpace OAI-PMH support changes, issues

Tansley, Robert robert.tansley at hp.com
Thu Jun 10 14:57:25 EDT 2004

[Resending, as this seemed to bounce...]

Hi all,

As part of DSpace 1.2, I've made a few changes and fixes to the OAI-PMH support in DSpace.  In particular, communities can now be organised into an hierarchy which may change over time.  Hence the set structure exposed by DSpace is now just collections, where the set spec is the CNRI handle of the set.

This (and other changes) have a variety of consequences on the OAI-PMH side:

- In existing DSpaces, the sets of existing items will change after the code update.  There are previously-discussed issues with this.  The "'delete' every record and re-issue with new ID" approach won't really work for us, since the IDs of records are the item Handles.

- The upgrade also involves minor changes to each item (apart from the set spec), which means that after an upgrade, every record will be modified and presumably be re-harvested.

In view of the above, I'm wondering whether it might be a good time to introduce a couple of other changes:

- Are Handles appropriate IDs for the OAI metadata records?  Originally, it seemed pointless to me to use anything else; forcing people to jump through yet another hoop to get yet another unique ID to get set up.  However, on occasion people have indicated they'd rather use an oai: prefixed identifier.  If anyone can offer reasons and suggestions either way I'd appreciate it.

- Might it be a good idea to change the base URL from something like http://dspace.mit.edu/oai/ to something like http://dspace.mit.edu/oai/request?  Having that / on the end has confused a few people, as URLs like this look a little awkward:


Additionally, not having a / at the end also would allow the OAI implementation to use XSLTs to render the responses for browsers.

However, of course this would of course require DSpace instances to re-register with openarchives.org, which isn't exactly ideal, but since there are other changes happening at the same time, perhaps now's a good time to just take the hit and clean things up a bit.


 Robert Tansley / Digital Media Systems Programme / HP Labs

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