OAI-PMH permits metadata harvesting from disciplinary archives, institutional repositories, and other digital archives. This allows the creation of specialized search services using this harvested metadata. OAI-PMH is a key technology for the open access movement, but does it require too much human intervention?
An interesting message on JISC-REPOSITORIES by Santy Chumbe, Technical Officer of the PerX project, suggests that it may. He says:
We have learned that in despite of its relative simplicity, an OAI-PMH service can be harder to implement and maintain than expected. We have spent a lot of effort harvesting, normalising and maintaining metadata obtained from OAI data providers. In particular the issue of metadata quality is an important factor here. A summary of our experiences dealing with OAI-PMH can be found at http://eprints.rclis.org/archive/00006394. . . . A final report outlining the maintenance issues involved in the project is in progress but the experience gained suggests that successful ongoing maintenance of OAI targets would require a mixture of automated and manual approaches and that the level of ongoing maintenance is high.
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Just to note that OAI-PMH may be labor intensive for those who are harvesting and providing a service using those harvested records, but it is designed not to be labor intensive for those becoming OAI data providers. For example, setting up a DSpace repository and putting metadata records in it makes you automatically OAI compliant. Many data provider tools, either out of the box or not, are quite simple to operate. Creating the metadata itself might be the most labor-intensive part of becoming a data provider.
More information on creating shareable metadata and becoming a data provider:
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