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Project to optimise Web crawling
The Computer Science Department of Old Dominion University and the Research Library of the Los Alamos National Laboratory have announced the launch of the “mod_oai” project. The aim of the project is to create the mod_oai Apache software module that will expose content accessible from Apache Web servers via the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). The mod_oai project (www.modoai.org) is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Apache is an open-source Web server that is used by 63 per cent – approximately 27 million – of the Web sites in the world. The OAI-PMH is a protocol to selectively harvest from data repositories. The protocol has had a considerable impact in the field of digital libraries but it has yet to be embraced by the general Web community. The mod_oai project hopes to achieve such broader acceptance by making the power and efficiency of the OAI-PMH available to Web servers and Web crawlers. For example, the planned OAI-PMH interface to Apache Web servers should allow responding to requests to collect all files added or changed since a specified date, or all files that are of a specified MIME-type.
The Apache Web server defines an extensible module format that allows specific functionality to be incorporated directly into the Web server. The mod_oai project will build such an Apache module that is able to respond to OAI-PMH requests pertaining to files made accessible by the Apache server. The mod_oai module will be developed under the GNU Public License (GPL) and distributed through sourceforge.net upon completion.