Harvesting Institutional Repository Records

One of my final summer projects before campus descended into controlled chaos was integrating our institutional repository records from BePress into our discovery layer from EBSCO. As usual, I learned some interesting tidbits along the way.

To get started, Bepress has some good information about harvesting records from their system:  Digital Commons and OAI-PMH: Harvesting Repository Records. Much of this resource is about using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. What’s neat about this protocol, is that anyone with an internet connection can obtain the metadata and contents in a consistent format. I know this doesn’t sound impressive but ask me if it was easier to ask EBSCO to add our institutional repository or our catalog of books to the discovery layer and, hands down, the institutional repository wins. Some of the stuff involved in extracting and displaying our library catalog included: extracting marc records in specific formats; uploading the file to an FTP site; and converting that file to a format ready for our discovery layer based on lots of field mappings that are specific to our library.

On the other hand, our institutional repository metadata and contents can be viewed by using this link: http://digitalcommons.esf.edu/do/oai/?verb=ListRecords&metadataPrefix=oai_dc  The link is essentially the base url for the repository, with a few “commands” attached. The same can be said for obtaining several other details about the content including the field abbreviations found in the <setSpec> field in the previous link. The setSpec details can be viewed by adding /do/oai/?verb=ListSets&metadataPrefix=oai_dc to the base repository url. Check out the OAI-PMH documentation for more possibilities.

So in theory, the metadata fields from OAI-PMH repositories should be the same and people/vendors/groups who want to use that information in different interfaces can create a method that is easy to replicate.

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