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GEI-Digital content freely available to the general public and researchers over OAI interface

The 4,300 volumes and almost one million pages of historic textbooks that have been digitised since mid-2009 through the GEI-Digital project constitute an extensive collection of source materials available to historians, researchers and the wider public.

Due to the original texts being available as works in the public domain, their digitised versions could immediately be made available under CC0 licence. The application of the CC0 license means that the GEI-Digital project relinquishes all limiting copyright and moral rights of the authors for the works in question and related property rights.

In order to make these copyright-free works available for use beyond the GEI-Digital platform the project team has attempted to make the metadata accessible via the universal OAI interface. OAI stands for Open Archives Initiative and its aim is to define an open interface for the exchange of (meta) data. The interface allows the exchange of data between GEI-Digital as a data provider and a service provider. Acquisition takes place automatically through an OAI-Harvester. The protocol used for communication is known as OAI-PMH (OAI-Protocol for Metadata Harvesting). OAI enables continuous synchronisation of large amounts of data.

The provision of metadata over the OAI interface enables the project to match the particular requirements of the numerous users that use the data sets from GEI-Digital for their research activities in the field of digital humanities.

The Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research is digitising its own historic textbook collections, as well as those of external institutions, covering the period from the emergence of school systems up to 1918. The process is supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

GEI-Digital is a cooperation project. In addition to the GEI the participants are the Research Library for the History of Education at the German Institute for International Educational Research (BBF/DIPF) and the Gauß IT centre at the Technical University Braunschweig.

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