A significant part of my research time in 2007-2008 was spent working on the Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse & Exchange project (OAI-ORE, or simply just ORE). Producing the ORE suite of eight documents was difficult and took longer than I anticipated, but we had an excellent team and I'm extremely proud of the results. In the process, I also learned a great deal about the building blocks of ORE: the Web Architecture, Linked Data and RDF.
I'm often asked "What is ORE?" and I don't always have a good, short answer. The simplest way I like to describe ORE is "machine readable splash-pages". More formally, ORE addresses the problem of identifying Aggregations of Resources on the Web. For example, we often use the URI of an html page as the identifier of an entire collection of Resources. Consider this YouTube URI:
Technically, it identifies just the html page that is returned when that URI is dereferenced:
But we frequently (incorrectly) use this URI to also identify all the information contained within that html page, which is actually a collection of many URIs, some of which include:
There is more to ORE than this, however. Interested readers can read the ORE primer, and then tackle more difficult documents like the ORE Abstract Data Model. There are a variety of presentations about ORE available as well, including all the presentations we gave at the 2008 Open Day at Open Repositories 2008 at Southampton University. Herbert Van de Sompel has several presentations uploaded to slideshare (see additional presentations with the "oaiore" tag), but some are quite lengthy (160+ slides).
Fortunately, there is now a short, gentle introduction to ORE. Herbert has just uploaded to YouTube a nice 10 minute narrated overview of ORE in preparation for the 2009 Dublin Core conference. Obviously, there is a limit to how much can be covered in a 10 minute presentation, but this should provide you with the answer to "what is ORE about?" and give you enough background to start reading the ORE suite of documents.
Thanks to Herbert for taking the time to record and upload this video.