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A harvester to collect records from an OAI-PMH enabled provider.

Project description Latest Version license:BSD



A harvester to collect records from an OAI-PMH enabled provider.

The harvester can be used to carry out one-time harvesting of all records from a particular OAI-PMH provider by giving its base URL. It can also be used for selective harvesting, e.g. to harvest only records updated after, or before specified dates.

To assist in regular harvesting from one or more OAI-PMH providers, there’s a provider registry. It is possible to associate a short memorable name for a provider with its base URLs, destination directory for harvested records, and the format (metadataPrefix) in which records should be harvested. The registry will also record the date and time of the most recent harvest, and automatically add this to subsequent requests in order to avoid repeatedly harvesting unmodified records.

This could be used in conjunction with a scheduler (e.g. CRON) to maintain a reasonably up-to-date copy of the record in one or more providers. Examples of how to accomplish these tasks are available below.


John Harrison <> at the University of Liverpool

Latest Version

The latest release version is available in the Python Packages Index:

Latest PyPI Version

Source code is under version control and available from:


All executable commands are self documenting, i.e. you can get help on how to use them with the -h or --help option.

At this time the only additional documentation that exists can be found in this README file!

Requirements / Dependencies

Note that Python 3.x support requires pyoai 2.4.6+.

As this release is not yet available on PyPI, use pip3 install git+

Python3 support is still in beta and might have some bugs.



pip install git+


I recommend that you use virtualenv to isolate your development environment from system Python and any packages that may be installed there.

  1. In GitHub, fork the repository

  2. Clone your fork:

    git clone<username>/oai-harvest.git
  3. Setup development virtualenv using tox:

    pip install tox
    tox -e dev
  4. Activate development virtualenv:


    source env/bin/activate



Bugs, Feature requests etc.

Bug reports and feature requests can be submitted to the GitHub issue tracker:

If you’d like to contribute code, patches etc. please email the author, or submit a pull request on GitHub.


Harvesting records from an OAI-PMH provider URL

All records


Records modified since a certain date

oai-harvest --from 2013-01-01

Records from a named set

oai-harvest --set "some:set"

Limiting the number of records to harvest

oai-harvest --limit 50

Getting help on all available options

oai-harvest --help

OAI-PMH Provider Registry

Adding a provider

oai-reg add provider1

If you don’t supply --metadataPrefix and --directory options, you will be interactively prompted to supply alternatives, or accept the defaults.

Removing an existing provider

oai-reg rm provider1 [provider2]

Listing existing providers

oai-reg list

Harvesting from OAI-PMH providers in the registry

You can harvest from one or more providers in the registry using the short names that they were registered with:

oai-harvest provider1 [provider2]

By default, this will harvest all records modified since the last harvest from each provider. You can over-ride this behavior using the --from and --until options.

You can also harvest from all providers in the registry:

oai-harvest all

Scheduling Regular Harvesting

In order to maintain a reasonably up-to-date copy of all the the records held by those providers, one could configure a scheduler to periodically harvest from all registered providers. e.g. to tell CRON to harvest all at 2am every day, one might add the following to crontab:

0 2 * * * oai-harvest all

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