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NISO and Open Archives Initiative Receive Grant from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to Create Resource Synchronization Standard

New Standard Will Improve Availability and Timeliness of Repository Content

Baltimore, MD, December 14, 2011 - The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and the Open Archives Initiative have been awarded a $222,000 grant for a joint project to develop a new open standard on the real-time synchronization of Web resources. Increasingly, large-scale digital collections are available from multiple hosting locations, are cached at multiple servers, and leveraged by several services. This proliferation of replicated copies of works or data on the Internet has created an increasingly challenging problem of keeping the repositories' holdings and the services that leverage them up-to-date and accurate. As we move from a Web of documents to a Web of data, synchronization becomes even more important: decisions made based on unsynchronized or incoherent scientific or economic data can have serious deleterious impact.
"This proposal is an outgrowth of the issues exposed in the context of the Memento project that developed a protocol for uniformly accessing time-stamped resource versions on the Web," explains Michael L. Nelson, Associate Professor, Old Dominion University Computer, and a principal investigator on the Memento project. "We have assembled a stellar core team to devise the standard from the Sloan grant. It includes people that have worked on a variety of information interoperability efforts such as Memento; the OAI Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE), a protocol for describing aggregations of Web resources; Open Annotation, a resource-centric annotation framework; and the DSNotify change detection framework for Linked Data."

"The OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (PMH) 2.0 specification can be used to effectively synchronize the metadata about the resources," states Carl Lagoze, Associate Professor, Cornell Information Science, and OAI Executive, "but synchronizing the resources themselves was never specified. Although some resource synchronization methods exist, they are generally ad hoc, arranged by the individuals involved, and cannot be universally deployed."

"As we started to explore this problem domain, it became increasingly clear that an interoperable, efficient and lightweight mechanism to support synchronizing resources at scale is missing from the Web infrastructure;" states Herbert Van de Sompel, Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory, OAI Executive and a principal investigator on the Memento project. "Candidate technologies that can help to tackle the problem exist, but they need to be put together and profiled in an appropriate manner."

"We expect this new standard will save a tremendous amount of time, effort, and resources by repository managers through the automation of the replication and updating process," states Todd Carpenter, NISO Managing Director. "The end result will be to increase the general availability of content in Web repositories and alleviate the variety of problems created by out-dated, inaccurate, superseded content that exists on the Internet today."
A new work item for the project has been approved by the NISO Voting Members. An interest group e mail list will be established for those interested in following the project. Contact NISO ( to be added to the list.

About the National Information Standards Organization (NISO)
NISO fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of an information standard. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). More information about NISO is available on its website:

About the Open Archives Initiative (OAI)
The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) develops and promotes interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content. The Open Archives Initiative has its roots in an effort to enhance access to e-print archives as a means of increasing the availability of scholarly communication. Continued support of this work remains a cornerstone of the Open Archives program. OAI is committed to exploring and enabling the fundamental technological framework and standards to open up access to a range of digital materials.