Harvesting Friday, 6 September 2013

As outlined by OAI-PMH there are 2 classes of participants in the harvesting framework:

  1. Data Providers administer systems that support the OAI-PMH as a means of exposing metadata
  2. Service Providers use metadata harvested via the OAI-PMH as a basis for building value-added services.

To promote repository content via harvesting, repository managers register repositories (data providers) with service providers. Once registered, the service providers request structured XML (conforming to OAI-PMH standards) to perform harvesting.

Service providers add value by building services incorporating the harvested data. Examples of these services include record searching functionality for both machine and people increasing the exposure and availability of the harvested data.

On a more advanced level, the following illustration shows that a service provider, while operating OAI harvesters may in fact technically be also operating as a data provider. The OAI harvester (labeled Harvester) is itself being harvested by the People Australia Database.

Advantages of registering a repository

  • Registering allows service providers to locate repository data using the OAI Base URL that is provided.
  • Harvesting increases the opportunity for end-users to locate data from institutional repositories via common search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

Places to register for harvesting

There are a number of places to register for harvesting. The Australian repository community register with ADT (Australasian Digital Theses Program) and ARO (Australian Research Online) amongst others.

If an institution requires a one-off data migration from VT-ETD ADT software into their repository software please contact CAIRSS for assistance

Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH)

OAI-PMH is a mechanism that enables the sharing of metadata. It allows institutions (data providers) to make data available via the web to service providers. Once a repository data has been rendered OAI compliant, the OAI Base URL may be registered with a harvesting service. For further information see technical overview of OAI-PMH.


Examples of OAI-PMH implementation combined with repository software include DSpace, VITAL, FEZ and EPrints.
CAIRSS are currently in the process of testing the implementation of harvesting for each software package and additional software specific OAI-PMH information will be made available in the future.

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