Use of OAI-PMH

OpenAIRE supports a number of transfer protocols and interfaces for collecting bibliographic metadata. The usage of one of the major protocols, OAI-PMH v2.0 protocol, in the context of these Guidelines and its application profile is described below.

Metadata Format

OpenAIRE expects metadata to be encoded following the metadata format defined in the OpenAIRE Application Profile. The recommended metadataPrefix is oai_openaire. For information on how to use the individual properties, please refer to the section Application Profile Overview.

Metadata Content

OpenAIRE collects metadata of scientific products according to the OpenAIRE Content Acquisition Policy published at . This includes bibliographic metadata describing open access and non open access items.

Compatibility of Aggregators

Besides individual repositories and journals, also aggregators (e.g., on the national level) can become OpenAIRE compatible. In this case, additional provenance information on the original content providers harvested by such an aggregator has to be encoded for OpenAIRE on the metadata record level. In accordance with the OAI-PMH guidelines, the provenance information has to be provided in the about node element of an OAI record, as displayed in the following example:

   <provenance xmlns=""
     <originDescription altered="true" harvestDate="2012-09-17T14:58:36Z">

This means information encoded in the following elements is expected (taken from

  • baseURL - the baseURL of the originating repository from which the metadata record was harvested.
  • identifier - the unique identifier of the item in the originating repository from which the metadata record was disseminated.
  • datestamp - the datestamp of the metadata record disseminated by the originating repository.
  • metadataNamespace - the XML namespace URI of the metadata format of the record harvested from the originating repository.
  • originDescription - an optional originDescription block which was that obtained when the metadata record was harvested. A set of nested originDescription blocks will describe provenance over a sequence of harvests.

Each originDescription must also have the following two attributes which relate to the act of harvesting and any subsequent processing:

  • harvestDate - the responseDate of the OAI-PMH response that resulted in the record being harvested from the originating repository.
  • altered - a boolean value which must be true if the harvested record was altered before being disseminated again.