Linked data from OAI repositories

Here’s an interesting approach. Bernhard Haslhofer at Media Spaces has developed OAI2LOD Server, a system which harvests metadata with OAI-PMH, processes the records to create a triple store and exposes interfaces to this for linked-data clients, SPARQL clients and web-browsers.

According to the web-page:

The OAI2LOD Server exposes any OAI-PMH compliant metadata repository according to the Linked Data guidelines. This makes things and media objects accessible via HTTP URIs and query able via the SPARQL protocol.

I find myself wondering if there is an application for this software in the institutional repositories space. Leaving the SPARQL aspect aside for a moment, note that this system makes resources available via URLs, having harvested metadata via OAI-PMH. I know from experience that there are all kinds of issues with simply identifying a link to a ‘thing or media object’ in many metadata records harvested from institutional repositories, so how well this works in practice remains to be seen. However, this could provide another approach to getting digital objects buried in repositories exposed as resources in the web-architecture. And while I don’t suppose that OAI2LOD is particularly aimed at institutional repositories, the SPARQL & linked-data interfaces do perhaps offer a route for some suitable repositories to participate in the web of data.

I’m also currently working with large, heterogeneous aggregations of metadata from repositories, so I’m curious to see how this software might fit with that kind of dataset. My guess is that this system will work best with collections which already contain some semantic coherence in the sense that it might suit a subject-based repository rather better than an institutional repository, although the three examples demonstrated on the OAI2LOD site are for national libraries.

So, what’s the real value of this software?. There are some perfectly good alternative systems offering triple stores with similar interfaces. And there is plenty of OAI-PMH harvester software out there. I haven’t seen these two things joined together directly in this way before, which is what has piqued my interest initially. But I assume that the real value must lie in the processing of the metadata records (and other information gleaned as part of the OAI-PMH transaction) into the triple store.

Anyway - it’s an interesting idea coupled with some working code - always a valuable thing in my book!



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