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OAIster frequently asked questions

Why did OCLC partner with the University of Michigan to provide support for OAIster?

OCLC wanted to ensure sustainability of the OAIster aggregation when the University of Michigan realized it needed assistance. OCLC believes, as do many others, that OAIster provides a useful aggregation of millions of records that represent millions of open access papers, journal articles and other items with useful academic content. As a global nonprofit library cooperative, OCLC was a logical organization to provide support and maintenance of this service on behalf of the community at large. OCLC is committed to building on the success of OAIster by increasing the number of open access records that are available and ensuring that open access collections will be freely discoverable and accessible to information seekers worldwide.

Will OAIster users continue to have free access to OAIster records?

Yes, a freely-accessible site for searching only OAIster records is available at http://oaister.worldcat.org.

OAIster records are fully accessible through WorldCat.org, and are included in WorldCat.org search results along with records from thousands of libraries worldwide in WorldCat and other content collections included in WorldCat.org.

How do users access OAIster in FirstSearch?

OAIster is available as a discrete database in FirstSearch. Therefore, OAIster records can either be searched along with other FirstSearch databases, or selected to search alone.

How do I contribute my metadata records to OAIster?

OAIster harvesting happens through the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway. This offers several advantages:

  • you can do self-service harvesting, which means you set your own harvest schedule and customize your metadata map for collections
  • your library's holdings can be set in WorldCat
  • your organization's unique collections receive maximum visibility via WorldCat and the WorldCat Gateway, which is available at no charge
  • your metadata will be syndicated wherever WorldCat data is syndicated

My institution contributes metadata to OAIster. We recently learned that some of the records harvested for inclusion in OAIster need to be removed from the database. Will OCLC remove these records from OAIster?

Metadata harvesting happens through the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway. This puts you in control of the harvesting process and allows you to delete harvested records if needed.

To learn more, go to Getting Started with the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway and click on the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway Tutorial.

Does OCLC provide options for machine access to OAIster metadata?

Not currently. The University of Michigan did not offer an OAI-PMH or Web Services interface either, although they did offer an rsync option for use by some contributors. Learning the needs of the community will help inform what OCLC does in this area.

Will harvesting of metadata for inclusion in OAIster continue as it has under the University of Michigan, or does OCLC plan to change this process?

OCLC has sought to provide long-term scalability for this service and has looked to the cooperation of data providers as it works toward this goal. Something that is likely not widely known is that the University of Michigan performed specialized processing of the retrieved records because of standards noncompliance by some data providers. As a result, in order to make OAIster harvesting and aggregation sustainable for the long term, OCLC has transitioned the harvesting process from the custom/specialized process that University of Michigan implemented to a scalable self-service model.

Metadata harvesting happens through the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway. This offers several advantages for OAIster contributors.

How can my institution become an OAIster contributor?

Repository managers with OAI-compliant repositories can get started uploading their metadata to OAIster and WorldCat by using the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway. The WorldCat Gateway is a web-based tool that enables organizations to upload the metadata of their digital content to OAIster and WorldCat. Offering more control over the metadata harvesting process, the WorldCat Gateway allows you to customize how your metadata displays in WorldCat.org and determine your own metadata harvesting schedule—monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually.

To begin contributing your metadata to WorldCat, go to Getting Started with the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway.

CONTENTdm users should follow the steps outlined in the CONTENTdm Community Center (login required), which has information specific to CONTENTdm.

Is there a fee for using the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway for contributing records to OAIster and WorldCat?

No. The WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway is freely available for use with any OAI-compliant repository. Additionally, records contributed through the Gateway are freely accessible to end users through WorldCat.org and oaister.worldcat.org.

My institution uses CONTENTdm. What are our metadata harvesting options?

If you currently use CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software, you have the option of uploading your CONTENTdm metadata to WorldCat, for even better Web visibility, using the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway. The Gateway enables you to choose the right content and appearance for WorldCat display, as well as how often the metadata is synchronized with WorldCat.

CONTENTdm users should follow the steps outlined in the CONTENTdm Community Center (login required), which has information specific to CONTENTdm.