NSDL Documentation Wiki

Announcement: The operation of NSDL has been transferred to ISKME's OER Commons - Read more here.

This documentation describes the services that existed while NSDL was operated by UCAR.

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Note to developers: OAI Data Provider End of Life


This OAI Data Provide has reached its End of Life.

NSDL metadata collections are now being hosted at ISKME's OER Commons. Contact Michelle Brennan <michelle@iskme.org> for information about API access to NSDL metadata.

Please update your client implementations accordingly.

XML from the NSDL repository may be harvested using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), which is a standardized protocol for transferring and sharing metadata across open repository systems.


How to Harvest From NSDL

Access to the NSDL OAI data provider:

The NSDL OAI data provider has the following characteristics:

  • The NSDL repository contains collections of educational resources, annotations, paradata (use data), and a collection of collection metadata (metadata about the collections). Each collection in the NSDL repository is made available as an OAI set.
    • Sets/collections are added and removed from the repository occasionally (a few each quarter or so).
    • Collections of educational resource metadata make up the majority of the repository. All educational resource metadata sets/collections are available in nsdl_dc and oai_dc formats and some are also available in lar format.
    • The contents of some sets/collections change frequently (approximately monthly), while others remain relatively static.
    • No deduping is performed in the data provider. It is common to see multiple metadata records that describe the same resource URL, especially across different sets/collections.
    • View the list of available OAI sets/collections using the OAI ListSets request.
  • XML formats that are available from the repository include:

Tools for Harvesting

A number of open source tools are available for working with OAI-PMH:

  • The jOAI tool may be used to harvest metadata to a file system.
  • The OAI tools page lists additional tools that are available.

OAI-PMH Documentation

To learn about the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting, see the following:


For questions and more information, please send your inquiry to NSDL via the contact form

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