Re: EPrints, DSpace or ESpace?

From: Dempsey,Lorcan <dempseyl_at_OCLC.ORG>
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2003 15:50:07 +0000

> Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 15:50:42 +0000
> From: Leslie Carr <>
> To:
> > DS > How much do either [EPrints or DSpace -- or]
> > DS > conform to the OAIS reference model?
> >
> > SH> How much do they *need* to (and why?), in order to provide many years
> > SH> of enhanced access and impact to otherwise unaffordable research, *now*?
> Quite. OAIS
> is an unfortunate acronym in that the "O" (open) and the "A"
> (archive) clash quite rudely with the same letters in OAI
> and BOAI
> The "Open" in OAIS comes from the fact that the standard is open (the
> archives may be closed), whereas OAI and BOAI assume open distribution
> of metadata and open access to texts (respectively). The emphasis on
> "Archive" in OAIS is a safe place to keep your data; in OAI and BOAI a
> place to distribute your data/metadata from is of paramount
> importance.

This is misleading. The "open" in OAI is explained in the OAI FAQ on the OAI
website as follows:

What do you mean by "Open"?
Our intention is "open" from the architectural perspective - defining and
promoting machine interfaces that facilitate the availability of content
from a variety of providers. Openness does not mean "free" or "unlimited"
access to the information repositories that conform to the OAI-PMH. Such
terms are often used too casually and ignore the fact that monetary cost is
not the only type of restriction on use of information - any advocate of
"free" information recognize that it is eminently reasonable to restrict
denial of service attacks or defamatory misuse of information.

This is available from

The protocol is agnostic about the business or service environment in which
it is used. The RDN for example uses OAI to gather metadata
from its contributing partners in a closed way.

> It is worth noting that the scenarios given in OAIS are without exception
> data archives - enormous collections of database records comprising
> government forms or scientific measurements. In contrast, scholarly
> papers are documents, not data; their purpose is communication rather
> than processing. It is perhaps unsurprising that the users of these
> documents require something different from their archives, accounting
> for Stevan's emphasis on immediacy and access.

This is again misleading. If you look at the following tutorial on the OAIS
website by Don Sawyer and Lou Reich (dated October 2002)
you will see several examples of document-related scenarios. In fact this
tuturial notes that the OAIS model "adopted terminology that crosses various
disciplines" and enumerates these as "traditional archivists", "scientific
data centers", and "digital libraries".

> Perhaps there is an unavoidable tension here - for a librarian, an article
> about Cognitive Science can only be an object to be curated, whereas for a
> Cognitive Scientist it is a message to be interpreted and used.

Well ... I would argue that this is also again misleading. Curation and use
are intimately connected: libraries engage in curatorial practices to
support use. A librarian wants to make sure that what was written yesterday
is available for you to use today. A librarian wants to make sure that an
article you write today is available for somebody else to read tomorrow. I
doubt whether you really only want to read today's articles, or to have your
own work unavailable to somebody else tomorrow.

And finally, this is a response to the specifics of Les's note; it does not
comment on the wider discussion of which it is a part.

Lorcan Dempsey, VP, Research, OCLC
Received on Sun Feb 16 2003 - 15:50:07 GMT

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