At a March 3rd meeting at the Johns Hopkins University, the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) introduced the Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE) specifications. The ORE Specification and User Guide was released the prior day.
Here's an excerpt from the press release about the meeting:
The ORE specifications are developed in response to a significant challenge that has emerged in eScholarship. In contrast to the paper publications of traditional scholarship, or even their digital counterparts, the artifacts of eScholarship are complex aggregations. These aggregations consist of multiple resources with varying media types, semantics types, network locations, and intra- and inter-relationships. The future scholarly communication, research, and higher education infrastructure requires standardized approaches to identify, describe, and exchange these new outputs of scholarship.
The ORE specifications address this challenge with the ORE data model that defines how to associate an identifier, a URI, with aggregations of web resources. By referring to these identifiers, aggregations can then be linked to, cited, and described with metadata, in the same manner as any web resource. The ORE data model also makes it possible to describe the structure and semantics of these aggregations. The ORE specifications define how these descriptions can then be packaged in the XML-based Atom syndication format or in RDF/XML, making them available to a variety of applications.
In addition to their utility in eScholarship, the ORE specifications also apply to our everyday web use where we often encounter aggregations such as multi-page HTML documents, and collections of multi-format images on sites like flickr. OAI-ORE descriptions of these aggregations can be used to improve search engine behavior, provide input for browser-based navigation tools, and develop automated web services to analyze and preserve this information.
Read more about it at "The Vision of ORE."