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open archives forum

Objectives  |   Organisational Evaluation  |   Technical Evaluation  |   Dissemination

Technical evaluation

Aims of technical evaluation within the Open Archives Forum project

  1. To facilitate building an open archives infrastructure within Europe forming part of an international infrastructure
  2. To encourage agreement on common solutions to technical issues
  3. To validate and evaluate the piloting of the OAI specification for metadata harvesting

Inventory of software tools

The project kept an inventory of software products in use and under development. It reviewed what software is available from OAI Europe, and what is coming from elsewhere. The project encouraged European projects to share software solutions. Close links with the US OAI encouraged exchange of information. Software, which is available in Europe and the outcome of projects has been reviewed.

Interoperability issues register

The project provided an overview of how open archive systems can be integrated with other digital library services. By gathering information from a variety of projects a high level view of different patterns of services has been formed. Issues concerning interoperability of protocols, standards and services has been highlighted and shared within the European Cluster.

OAI Current Implementations Database

The Open Archives Forum web site includes access to a searchable database giving information about current European open archive implementations. This supports collaboration and dissemination data and service providers, both EC funded initiatives and other national initiatives within Europe. The database includes for each provider details of scope of project, content, collection development policy, metadata formats, version of OAI implemented, contact names, tools in use. The project developed the database with a priority on sustainability and automated input using techniques such as self-registering or harvesting.

Evaluative review of metadata harvesting pilot

During the OAI metadata harvesting pilot various technologies has been evaluated including metadata harvesting, whether use of XML provides a robust model for wide mesh of interoperating services, whether choice of unqualified Dublin Core gives rich enough semantics to meet end-user requirements. The OAI metadata-harvesting pilot requires establishment of a system of registration, resource identifiers and identifier resolution. Issues of an identifier resolution (for archives) has been discussed and a European resolution service established.

Formative evaluation report on interoperating services

The project undertook an analytical review of the technical issues arising in the European context of collaborating thesis and dissertation services, e-print services and other such interest groups.

Recommendations for open source development environment

A shared software development environment will enable the full potential of managed funding programmes to be realised. The project encouraged projects to co-operate by developing software in a recommended open source environment.



The Open Archives Forum (OAF) is an IST– Accompanying Measures project (IST- 2001-320015).
The partners of OAF are: University of Bath-UKOLN (United Kingdom), Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie della Informazione-CNR (Italy) and Computer- and Media Service (Computing Center) of Humboldt University (Germany).

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