Open Archives Initiative
Virginia Tech DLRL Projects

Introduction to the Open Archives Initiative

The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) is dedicated to solving problems of digital library interoperability. Its focus has been on defining simple protocols, most recently for the exchange of metadata from archives. The OAI evolved out of a need to increase access to scholarly publications by supporting the creation of interoperable digital libraries. As a first step towards such interoperability, a metadata harvesting protocol was developed to support the streaming of metadata from one repository to another, ultimately to a provider of user services such as browsing, searching, or annotation.

Virginia Tech's Involvement in the OAI

Members of Virginia Tech's DLRL have been involved with this process from the early stages and continue to contribute towards the development, support and advocacy of protocols and standards. Professor Edward Fox was one of the original participants in the project, representing the NDLTD (Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations) project. At that first meeting Virginia Tech made a commitment to integrate NDLTD into the OAI project. Subsequent to that, the CSTC (Computer Science Teaching Center) and W3C Web Characterization Repository became the two of the first OAI-compliant digital libraries. Many other projects at Virginia Tech have since been linked to OAI, including High Performance Interoperable Digital Libraries in the Open Archive Initiative.
Work is also done in testing compliance of archives, defining metadata transport formats and developing client/server implementations of the protocols. Wherever possible, new and existing projects of the DLRL are being linked to the OAI to provide a proof of concept of the ubiquitous capability of the OAI's protocols and specifications.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 427043.


  • Open Digital Libraries
    ODL is a framework for building componentized digital libraries using extensions of the OAI-PMH as the basis for a component interaction protocol and adopting the philsophies and best practices of the OAI. ODL is currently employed in multiple projects and reference implementations of components may be downloaded and connected to existing OAI sites to supply functionality such as localized searching or browsing.

  • I2-DSI OA Replication
    Internet2's Distributed Storage Initiative uses dynamic routing to exploit locality of reference for mirrors of popular HTTP content. DLRL's project seeks to use the existing I2-DSI infrastructure to replicate archives that support OAI-PMH using only the existing harvesting interface.

  • Virginia Tech Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Collection
    Virginia Tech is one of the few institutions worldwide that requires the submission of theses and dissertations in an electronic format. This collection may now be accessed through an OAI-compliant data provider interface.

  • Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations
    The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations is an international project that supports the creation, archiving and exchange of digital versions of theses and dissertations. OAI protocols are being used where appropriate to create a federated digital library.

  • Repository Explorer
    The Repository Explorer is a technical compliance test for data archive that comply with the OAI's data provider interface.

    US-MARC was included as one of the initial metadata formats because of its widespread usage in library and library-related systems, like the Marian system being developed at Virginia Tech. An XML transport format is being defined for MARC so that MARC records could be exchanged using the OAI protocols.

  • Web Characterization Repository
    The W3C Web Characterization Repository is an online database of metadata for resources in the field of Web characterization. It is an OAI-compliant data provider.

  • Computer Science Teaching Center
    The Computer Science Teaching Center is a digital library of peer-reviewed teaching resources for computer science educators. It is an OAI-compliant data provider.

  • Virginia Tech Imagebase
    The Imagebase is a managed collection of images that was made into an OA as a student term project.

Reports, Papers, Presentations, and Demonstrations




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Last updated : 18 September 2003