Open Access to Archives

Mackenzie Owen, George Open Access to Archives., 2002 . In 2nd. Open Archives Forum Workshop, Lisbon, December 2002. [Presentation]


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English abstract

The OA Forum has commissioned this report from practising archivists in the UK and Sweden. It looks at the potential for using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting as a simple means of disseminating and exchanging archive catalogues. The world of conventional archives is interested in exchanging metadata, and has widely adopted international data structure standards produced by the International Council on Archives. It has also shown interest in a system for encoding catalogues known as Encoded Archival Description, or EAD. Archive descriptions are complex and collection based, proceeding from the general (fonds or collection level) to the particular (item level). The report briefly examines two implementations of OAI, the University of Illinois Project and the AIM25 project in the UK. It also considers a related hybrid implementation in Australia, and a planned use of the protocol in A2A, another UK project. It observes that OAI can be used for exchanging archive descriptions, but that there are problems. The first is difficulty in accurately reflecting linkages between levels of description. The second is the inconsistent application of EAD. The report also looks briefly at alternative means archivists are using for exchanging metadata, particularly the Z39.50 protocol. The report concludes that OAI will be used by conventional archives only if three conditions are fulfilled. First, archivists must be confident that compliant descriptions will respect archival principles, second, descriptions must be produced with little effort from existing systems, and third, archivists must believe that the wider OAI user base contains sufficient numbers of potential users. It suggests possible strategies in which archives would produce OAI compliant records for parts of their descriptions only.

Item type: Presentation
Keywords: Open Archives Initiative (OAI), Archives, EAD
Subjects: L. Information technology and library technology
Depositing user: Andrea Marchitelli
Date deposited: 11 Apr 2005
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 11:58


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