Using our OAI interface

The Open Archives logoThe Scheme's database can now be harvested from an OAI-PMH repository interface. We don't anticipate that this will be used widely as it is quite a specialised tool and is used for the Collections Trust and Europeana for ingesting collections into their databases.

Accessing the interface

The interface for accessing the OAI service can be located at:

It holds the details for all publicly available records held within our database (around 360,000 at time of writing) and some of these have attached images. There are several methods for interacting with the OAI server and these are shown below. However to use many of these you need to use certain parameters to retrieve content. We return a maximum of 30 records per call to the database, and details are cached to speed up the service. If you are mining the entire set of data, you will need to look for an xml element labelled resumptionToken, this indicates where you left of, therefore if you navigated to:{tokenID}

Things would pick up where you left off. The tokens currently expire after 1 hour.

  1. Identify
  2. List Metadata Formats Optional: identifier
  3. List Sets - Optional parameters: resumptionToken
  4. List Identifiers - Required parameters: metadataPrefix Optional parameters: from, until, set, resumptionToken
  5. List Records - Required parameters: metadataPrefix Optional parameters: from, until, set, resumptionToken
  6. Get Record - Required parameters: metadataPrefix, identifier

The format for an 'identifier' for oai mining on our database is as follows:


At the moment the only metadataPrefixs we serve up are Dublin Core, People's Network Discovery Service and Europeana metadata flavours, so you would use the parameter '&metadataPrefix=oai_dc' or '&metadataPrefix=pnds_dc' or '&metadataPrefix=ese'. When we serve up other metadata formats we will update this document. You can retrieve the metadataprefixs we use via the list metadataformats verb.

Testing this service

If you want to test the service out, the tools provided by University of Cape Town, hosted at: are extremely useful. They explain where any errors are found.