Open Archives Initiative Appoints Steering Committee

CLIR Press Release


For Immediate Release August 25, 2000

Contact: Daniel Greenstein (
202-939-4762 or
Clifford Lynch (

Open Archives Initiative Appoints Steering Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Open Archives initiative (OAi) has established a steering committee to guide its development and promote its adoption as an enabling framework for the development of innovative networked information services. In addition, the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) and the Digital Library Federation (DLF) have agreed jointly to supply some organized support and resources for the ongoing OAi effort.

The OAi has its genesis in a meeting held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in October 1999, under the sponsorship of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), the DLF, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Research Library of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Focusing on the interoperation of “e-print archives” (collections of electronic journal articles and preprints), the OAi discussed an approach known as metadata harvesting. In this approach, there are data providers and service providers. Data providers (such as individual e-print archives) support a simple harvesting protocol and provide extracts of metadata in a common, minimal-level format in response to requests from service providers. Service providers use extracted metadata to build higher level, user-oriented services, such as catalogs and portals to materials distributed across multiple e-print sites. The approach and its protocols were documented in the “Santa Fe convention,” along with preliminary ideas about acceptable use policies, registries, and other issues. More information is available at

A subsequent workshop, held in conjunction with the ACM Digital Libraries meeting in San Antonio in June 2000, reviewed experiences in implementing the Santa Fe convention and mapped out issues that needed to be addressed. Out of that meeting came a consensus that the Santa Fe convention will be revised and updated with the intent of producing a new version of the document by January 2001. The newly established steering committee will oversee these efforts and will assemble technical experts as required.

In addition, there is considerable interest in extending the concepts developed at the Santa Fe convention beyond their initial context in order to support metadata harvesting for a wider range of digital resources of academic and scholarly interest. Besides e-prints and electronic texts, such resources include science and social science data sets, visual materials, archival collections, geographic information system data, sound and music, and video. This work is being pursued under the auspices of the DLF, with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Unlike the project involving the e-print archives, this effort is still highly experimental and requires validation through implementation experience. The steering committee will also help to guide the integration of this effort into the further evolution of the Santa Fe convention.

Members of the OAi steering committee include Caroline Arms (Library of Congress), Lorcan Dempsey (Joint Information Systems Committee, UK), Dale Flecker (Harvard University), Ed Fox (Virginia Tech), Paul Ginsparg (Los Alamos National Laboratory), Daniel Greenstein (DLF), Carl Lagoze (Cornell University), Clifford Lynch (CNI), John Ober (California Digital Library), Diann Rusch-Feja (Max Planck Institute for Human Development), Herbert van de Sompel (Cornell University), and Don Waters (The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation).

The Digital Library Federation is a partnership of research libraries dedicated to creating, maintaining, expanding, and preserving a distributed collection of digital materials accessible to scholars and to a wider public. It operates under the umbrella of CLIR, which works in partnership with libraries, archives, and other information providers to advocate collaborative approaches to preserving the nation’s intellectual heritage and strengthening the many components of its information system.

The Coalition for Networked Information is an organization to advance the transformative promise of networked information technology for the advancement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity. Founded in 1990 by the Association of Research Libraries, Educom, and CAUSE, CNI is supported by the members of an institutional Task Force representing higher education, publishing, network and telecommunications, information technology, and libraries and library organizations. CNI works on issues related to the themes of developing networked information content; transforming organizations, professions, and individuals; and building technology, standards, and infrastructure.