Worldwide

  • English

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 they needed assistance. OCLC believes, as do many others, that OAIster provides a useful aggregation of millions of records representing millions of open access papers, journal articles, and other items with useful academic content. As a global non-profit 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.

Additionally, OAIster records are fully accessible through WorldCat.org and will be included in WorldCat.org search results along with records from thousands of libraries worldwide. They will also continue to be available on the OCLC FirstSearch service to Base Package subscribers, providing another valuable access point for this rich database and a complement to other FirstSearch databases.

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. OAIster records have been searchable in FirstSearch since January 2009.

How do I contribute my metadata records to OAIster?

Beginning in July 2010, OCLC is transitioning OAIster harvesting to the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway. This change offers several advantages, including:

  • 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, and
  • Your metadata will be syndicated wherever WorldCat data is syndicated.

Why is OAIster harvesting transitioning to the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway?

OCLC is transitioning harvesting to the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway in order to provide repository managers with more control over the harvesting process and to ensure the long-term sustainability of open access content. With the previous harvesting mechanism, repository managers had little control over when their data was harvested or how it was presented in OAIster. With the Gateway's self-service model, repository managers can manage the harvesting process to best highlight their unique digital materials. For more information on using the Gateway, visit Getting Started with the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway.

If my data has already been harvested to OAIster, do I still need to use the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway?

Yes. All OAIster harvesting is transitioning to the Gateway. In order to keep your data refreshed and up to date, you will need to register for the Gateway. For more information on using the Gateway, visit Getting Started with the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway.

If my metadata was previously included in OAIster, will using the Gateway create duplicates?

During the transition from the original OAIster harvesting process to using the Gateway, there will be a period of time where duplicate records will show up for users searching WorldCat.org and OAIster. This will provide continuity of access for users during the transition. As each metadata contributor completes transitioning their harvesting workflow to the Gateway, OCLC will remove the duplicates.

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?

Beginning in July 2010, OCLC is transitioning metadata harvesting to the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway. This change will put you in control of the harvesting process and allow 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 would perform 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 is transitioning the harvesting process from the custom/specialized process that University of Michigan implemented to a scalable self-service model.

Beginning in July 2010, OCLC is transitioning metadata harvesting to the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway. These changes offer several advantages for OAIster contributors, including:

  • 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, and
  • Your metadata in will be syndicated wherever WorldCat data is syndicated.

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, semi-annually 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 User Support 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 User Support Center (login required), which has information specific to CONTENTdm.

We are a worldwide library cooperative, owned, governed and sustained by members since 1967. Our public purpose is a statement of commitment to each other—that we will work together to improve access to the information held in libraries around the globe, and find ways to reduce costs for libraries through collaboration. Learn more »