The National Library of Australia is progressively making information about its digitised collection materials available using the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) protocol for metadata harvesting. This service provides access to metadata describing the Library's digital collections which is held in the Digital Collections Manager (DCM) database. The DCM database has been developed by the National Library to record management and technical information about digital collection items and digital surrogates. It is used to manage the digitisation workflows, storage and access to the Library's digital collections.

The National Library encourages wider use of its metadata, and harvesting is a free service. Please contact us for advice on harvesting the Library's metadata, or to provide valued comments on your experience in harvesting our metadata and for information on its use in other Internet services. The following collections are currently available using OAI:


The Pictures Collection focuses on people, places and events located on the Australian continent and its territories, and on the activities of Australians overseas, especially in Antarctica and Papua New Guinea. For the period up to the mid-nineteenth century, the geographic focus is broader, encompassing European exploration of the South Pacific and the departure of convicts and settlers from Great Britain.

setSpec: Picture
setName: Pictures Collection items including pictorial items from other collections


The digitised printed music collection comprises most Australian sheet music and some published albums held by the National Library published before 1930. Music is defined as Australian if it involved an Australian composer, librettist, arranger, subject or place of publication.

setSpec: Music
setName: Music Collection items including music items from other collections


The digitised map collection comprises most sheet maps and selected atlases held by the National Library published before 1900. The selection of map collections for digitisation is based on such factors as historical and/or cultural significance, uniqueness of the material, likely demand for the material. Copyright and preservation considerations are also taken into account.

setSpec: Map
setName: Map Collection items including map items from other collections


The Library’s manuscript collections cover all kinds of unpublished records including: letters, diaries, notebooks, speeches, lectures, drafts of books and articles, research or reference files, cutting books, photographs, drawings, minute books, agenda papers, logbooks, financial records, maps and plans. The Library has digitised several significant manuscript collections and some individual items or parts of large collections, taking into account any copyright and/or access restrictions.

setSpec: Manuscript
setName: Manuscript collections including manuscript items from other collections

Books and Serials

Selected books and serials have been digitised to support of the Library’s exhibition, publication and education programs and as part of collaborative projects such as Australian newspaper digitisation and the International Children's Digital Library, as well as in response to user demand through the Copies Direct service and to reduce the risks associated with physical handling.

setSpec: BookSerial
setName: Books and serial items

OAICat software

The OAI interface to DCM was created using the OAICat software which is governed an OCLC Research Public Licence. The OAICat Open Source project is a Java Servlet web application providing an OAI-PMH v2.0 repository framework. This framework has been customized to work with the National Library's DCM database and the Library's Java application development framework.

Licence Information

Harvesting of the National Library's metadata does not provide automatic access to the Library's digitised images. Use of the Library's digitised images is restricted by Copyright Law, and by agreements between the Library and creators of works that have been digitised. If you wish to download specific images, please use the Library's Copies Direct service.

Use of Metadata

Sites harvesting metadata using OAI from the National Library of Australia Digital Object Repository are encouraged to contact us by email. Sites currently harvesting digital collections metadata from the National Library of Australia using OAI include:


Protocol Request Forms

  1. Identify
  2. GetRecord
  3. ListIdentifiers (Resumption)
  4. ListMetadataFormats
  5. ListRecords (Resumption)
  6. ListSets (Resumption)