Title:A New Way of Making Cultural Information Resources Visible on the Web: Museums and the Open Archives Initiative
Authors:John Perkins
Publication:MW2001: Museums and the Web 2001

Museums hold enormous amounts of information in collections management systems and publish academic and scholarly research in print journals, exhibition catalogues, virtual museum presentations, and community publications. Much of this rich content is unavailable to web search engines or otherwise gets lost in the vastness of the World Wide Web. The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) has developed an easily implemented protocol to enable data providers to expose their information and service providers to access and use it. The CIMI Consortium is working with the OAI to make it possible for museums to enhance the availability of their research resources, allowing them to be discovered in Web-space by the specialist audiences for which they are intended or by service providers who collect, distribute or in other ways provide access. By building on the OAI protocol, Dublin Core, and museum community XML developments, significant advancements can be made in exposing museum information resources. This paper introduces the OAI and its protocol, explores its potential relevance to museums, presents CIMI's work as an alpha tester of OAI, and looks ahead to future developments.