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published: April, 2002

Archives & Museum Informatics, 2002.
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License


Now That We've Found the 'Hidden Web' What Can We Do With It? The Illinois Open Archives Initiative Metadata Harvesting Experience
Timothy Cole, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA
Joanne Kaczmarek, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Paul Marty, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Chris Prom, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, USA
Beth Sandore, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Sarah Shreeves, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Session: Standards in Action

The Open Archives Initiative(OAI) Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (PMH) is designed to facilitate discovery of the 'hidden web' of scholarly information such as that contained in databases, finding aids, and XML documents. OAI-PMH supports standardized exchange of metadata describing items in disparate collections such as those held by museums and libraries. This paper describes recent work done by the University of Illinois Library, recipient of one of seven OAI-related grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. An overview is given of the process used to export metadata records describing holdings of the Spurlock Museum at the University of Illinois. These metadata records were initially created to help track artifacts as they were procured, stored, and displayed and now are used also to support end-user searching via the Spurlock Museum Website. Spurlock metadata records were mapped to Dublin Core (DC) and then harvested into the Illinois project's metadata repository. The details of the processes used to transform the Spurlock records into OAI compliant metadata and the lessons learned during this process are illustrative of the work necessary to make museum collections available using OAI-PMH. Assuming institutions like Spurlock make metadata available, what then can be done with these information resources? We discuss the OAI-based search and discovery services being developed by the University of Illinois. Issues such as need for normalization of metadata, importance of presenting search results in context, and difficulties caused by institution-to-institution variations in metadata authoring practices are discussed.