Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, April 28, 2008

Google drops OAI-PMH support in Sitemaps

John Mueller, Retiring support for OAI-PMH in Sitemaps, Google Webmaster Central Blog, April 23, 2008. (Thanks to Paul Walk.)
When we originally launched Sitemaps, we included support for the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) 2.0 protocol, an interoperability framework based on metadata harvesting. In the meantime, however, we've found that the information we gain from our support of OAI-PMH is disproportional to the amount of resources required to support it. Fewer than 200 sites are using OAI-PMH for Google Sitemaps at the moment.

In order to move forward with even better coverage of your websites, we have decided to support only the standard XML Sitemap format by May 2008. We are in the process of notifying sites using OAI-PMH to alert them of the change. ...
See also the analysis and discussion at Paul Walk's blog:

... There are a few ways of looking at this. Perhaps 'open access' repositories are less concerned with Google rankings than the typical website owner. Perhaps the penetration of OAI-PMH in the world is still below any level that Google could find particularly interesting - certainly they never went to great lengths to advertise this support while it lasted. Clearly, Google have come to the end of a 'trial period' for their support for this protocol in their main indexing service.

Can we conclude anything from this? Probably not - surely OAI-PMH can thrive without Google Sitemap support? ... Or should we view this as a symptom of decline...? ...