Looking under the hood? Interested in a job? Send a mail....

OAI Document Library

is a document management application intended for the management and tracking of large amounts of documents in an organization. The OAI Document Library (OAI-DL) helps authors maintain their documents, automatically handling versioning, workflow, and expiration notification. It provides reviewers (librarians) with updates, fast approval, and overviews of all activity.

Information in the library can be accessed using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), meaning that besides being open source, the OAI-DL is an open data application. Because it’s open data, the OAI Document Library is easy to integrate with other systems, such as the Silva CMS or any other application capable of OAI-PMH harvesting.

For organizations in the UK, the OAI-DL has specific features that help ensure compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. For example, the application supports archiving via a custom Publication Scheme, following the FOI Act guidelines.

Why is a OAI Document Library needed?

Organizations deal with numerous documents, such as word processor documents and PDFs. These documents often reside on someone’s computer and are not network accessible. Versions of documents are hard to track – the same document may be passed around using email in multiple versions over time. In large organizations it therefore becomes important to structure the flow of documents and present them in a common format. This is typically done using a DMS (Document Management System).

The OAI Document Library is one such DMS. It can help organizations in the following ways:

OAI Document Library characteristics

The main focuses of the OAI Document Library are:

A document life cycle

This is the typical lifecycle of a document in the OAI Document Library:

OAI Document Library features

The Open Archives Initiative

The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting is a well-established standard in the content management and library science worlds gaining in importance. It provides an application-independent interoperability framework for metadata exchange between online parties. Many academic libraries and other organizations expose OAI-PMH compliant repositories to the web that can be harvested. The OAI-PMH standard defines the following parties and software components:

Infrae has extended Silva so it enables users to browse and search harvested metadata, further enriching the extensive feature set of this open source CMS. An organization that uses Silva can easily become an OAI-PMH Service Provider.

In the process, Infrae also developed a module for accessing OAI-PMH compliant repositories in Python, and developed a sophisticated harvesting and indexing system for using harvested metadata in Zope. These reusable components are designed to be building blocks for other Python or Zope-based applications (see the OAI Pack product).

Silva integration features

The OAI Document Library can be integrated with external systems using the OAI-PMH protocol. Following are the features of the OAI-DL’s integration with Silva.


The OAI Document Library is a document management system with a wide set of features and simple usability that can be introduced into an organization relatively easily. It does not try to take over all document-related activities such as their publication on the web, just the management of the documents themselves in a single repository.

By doing integration via OAI-PMH, the information in the OAI Document Library can be made available in numerous ways, such as web publication using Silva, as well for other systems that support the protocol.