OAIster Update: More Access & No Conditions

In previous posts, I sought to clarify our plans for taking over the OAIster aggregation of metadata from the University of Michigan. Since then a couple key things have changed, which are being communicated to the repositories being harvested as well as to the broader community.

One of the changes is that there are no longer any “terms and conditions” regarding the metadata. In keeping with the open style of the Open Archives Initiative community, if you make your metadata available for harvesting, you must intend for it to be harvested. We will also feel free to index it, provide access to it, and allow Google to crawl it. After all, we believe that discovery and access is the whole point of opening up your metadata for harvesting. If it isn’t, then all you have to do is let us know.

The other key change is that we have decided that the OAIster aggregation is an important enough destination for finding open access content that we will make it possible to search only the OAIster records on WorldCat.org, at separate web address, should you wish to do so. The records will still be integrated into the WorldCat.org database as well, and continue to be available as a separate database in FirstSearch, but there seemed to be enough interest in the OAIster aggregation as a unified database that we decided to support those uses. This will take a little time to put together, and our plan is to make it available after the first of the year.

We listened to your feedback, we carefully considered your comments, and we feel that it is important enough to get this right that we are willing to make an investment in it. We hope you feel that it is a worthy use of your resources. We do.

5 Comments on “OAIster Update: More Access & No Conditions”

  1. This is great news — kudos to OCLC for listening to the community concerns and adjusting the program appropriately. It sounds like the program is continuing to evolve. Thanks for reporting this news, Roy.

  2. MJ: If by “machine access” you mean via some machine process such as rsync or an API, then you should know that we are looking into providing this. And if we do, it is unlikely to be limited to OCLC members or subscribers.

    Jennifer: everyone (including metadata contributors) can view/access all the records via WorldCat.org. I don’t know what you mean by there not being “interactivity” with the metadata, so perhaps you could elaborate?

  3. I’m also intrigued– are metadata contributors allowed to view/access only those records they have created, or everyone’s? I also notice that there’s no interactivity with metadata in the free version.

    That said, all this valuable data is finally available and searchable, even if it’s as of yet difficult for libraries to harvest without an OCLC membership.

  4. Great news on the terms and conditions. However, if my understanding of the “Accessing OAIster” page is correct, machine access to OAIster is only available to OCLC members and FirstSearch subscribers — with the exception that if I’m a contributor, I can manually request access via FirstSearch for no charge.

    So, unless you’re paying OCLC money or contributing records, then there’s no machine access available? This would be a very unfortunate loss for the open access community.

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