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Overview of ResourceSync, by Herbert Van de Sompel, June 2014


Presentation by Herbert Van de Sompel and Martin Klein at the CNI 2014 Spring Membership Meeting, April 2014, St. Louis, MO.

ResourceSync Change Notification Demo, March 2014 (~12 min YouTube video)




ResourceSync researches, develops, prototypes, tests, and deploys mechanisms for the large-scale synchronization of web resources. ResourceSync, begun in late 2011, is a joint cooperation between NISO and the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) team, with work funded by the Sloan Foundation. Building on the OAI-PMH strategies for synchronizing metadata, this project enhances that specification using modern web technologies, and allows for the synchronization of the objects themselves, not just their metadata. 

Because of the proliferation of replicated copies of works or data on the Internet, keeping the repositories’ holdings up-to-date and accurate is an increasingly challenging problem. By automating the replication and updating process, the new standard will save a tremendous amount of time, effort, and resources by repository managers, increase the general availability of content available from these repositories, as well as alleviate the variety of problems created by outdated, inaccurate, superseded content that exists on the Internet.

Synchronization is especially important for high integrity or essential web resources. For example, portals that deliver high quality services pertaining to aggregations of cultural or scholarly resources would clearly benefit from reliable, uniform, and scalable techniques to remain in sync with the collections they build upon. 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.

The end product of the work will be a specification, vetted by experts and test implementations, which details an approach to synchronize Web resources at scale in an interoperable manner.

Current status (as of April 2014): The ResourceSync Framework Specification, written as NISO Z39.99-201X, is now before members of its NISO Voting Pool for final approval.  It will then be submitted to ANSI for its approval as ANSI/NISO Z39.99-2014.  NISO hopes to publish this work before the end of May. The ResourceSync team is continuing work on ResourceSync Notification and ResourceSync Archives extensions, both in beta draft form.  Public discussion of the work takes place on the ResourceSync Google Groups list. 


Committee Roster


Herbert Van de Sompel

Chief Innovation Officer
DANS (Data Archiving and Networked Services), The Hague, The Netherlands


Simeon Warner

Director of Repository Development
Cornell University Library