The first production release of the Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange (OAI-ORE) specification was published last Friday (17 Oct). OAI-ORE uses concepts from the web architecture, semantic web, linked data and Atom syndication to expose the relationships between parts of an aggregation, e.g. linked web pages, different formats of the same publication, chapters in an online book, and collections of documents, photos or recordings. OAI-ORE comes from the scholarly publication community, but has wider application: it’s sort of equivalent to parts of the manifest in an IMS Content Package, but with more emphasis on showing relationships between resources on the web and rather than describing what should be in a package and how it should be displayed. Further info: press release [pdf], OAI-ORE specifications.
Last week I went to Southampton for the European rollout of the OAI-ORE specification (now in alpha version 0.3). If you need a quick catch-up on what ORE (Object Reuse and Exchange) is about, try this article and presentation from last summer. Here’s a tidied-up mind-map of what I gathered from Southampton:
There seems to be some progress towards an implementable draft spec for OAI-ORE. Perhaps the best available description of what the ORE (Object Reuse and Exchange) spec is trying achieve is an article published by Herbert Van de Sompel and Carl Lagoze, which comes with a screencastdemonstration of a prototype system. It will be interesting when the full details of ORE are available to compare it to the IMS Content Packaging approach to reuse and exchange. ORE seems to benefit from being thoroughly in tune with and building on the web architecture. Is there anything important that IMS CP supports that ORE doesn’t? For example, is it possible in ORE to define how the contents are to be organized or structured? It’s not really possible to say much more without actually seeing a draft of the actual spec, and those are being kept secret. It seems that details will not be available until an open meeting on March 3rd to launch the first beta release [update: I was mistaken, the alpha spec was released in December, see Pete’s comment below]. Earlier versions of the spec exist, but are not available to anyone outside the ORE team, a situation I find curious and frustrating.