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The OAIster ® database at a glance

OAIster is a union catalog of millions of records representing open access digital resources that was built by harvesting from open access collections worldwide using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). Today, OAIster includes more than 30 million records representing digital resources from more than 1,500 contributors. Additionally, the OAIster records are included in search results for those libraries with WorldCat Local and WorldCat Local "quick start."

Multidisciplinary resources

The records of the open access digital resources available via OAIster lead to a wide range of materials and include:

  • Digitized (scanned) books, journal articles, newspapers, manuscripts and more
  • Digital text
  • Audio files (wav, mp3)
  • Video files (mp4, QuickTime)
  • Photographic images (jpeg, tiff, gif)
  • Data sets (downloadable statistical information)
  • Theses and research papers

History of OAIster

OAIster began at the University of Michigan in 2002 funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and with the purpose of establishing a retrieval service for publicly available digital library resources provided by the research library community. During its tenure at the University of Michigan, OAIster grew to become one of the largest aggregations of records pointing to open access collections in the world.

In 2009, OCLC formed a partnership with the University of Michigan to provide continued access to open access collections aggregated in OAIster. Since OCLC began managing OAIster, it has grown to include over 30 million records contributed by over 1,500 organizations. OCLC is evolving OAIster to a model of self-service contribution for all open access digital repositories to ensure the long-term sustainability of this rich collection of open access materials.