Skip to main content
Australian National Data Service Research Data Australia

Research Data Australia Content Providers Guide: Originating source

A guide for contributors to Research Data Australia

Originating Source

Meaning and purpose

The originating source is the entity holding the managed version of the registry object metadata, as represented by a URI or URL. This provides historical information and authority for the content of the metadata record. The originating source is the primary source of truth for the metadata record.

Originating source is included mainly for the use of aggregators; accordingly, it is not displayed or searchable from Research Data Australia.

This element was included to make sure that there is a record of the original source of the metadata in an environment where there may be hierarchies or networks of aggregators. It refers to the physical source of the metadata record.

Where an institutional aggregator includes records from many different data sources from sub-entities within the institution, the originating source element can perform a technical role in distinguishing the source of incoming feeds.

This information answers the question: Which data source originally created this metadata record and holds the managed version of the record?

Originating source has only one type:

  • authoritative: the source holds the authoritative version of the metadata about the registry object.

There can only be one authoritative copy of a given metadata record; all other copies are not authoritative.

Use in Research Data Australia

Originating source is not displayed and is not searchable.

RIF-CS best practice guidelines

If your data source is not an aggregator (does not contain records from other data sources)

  • Supply your data source url (preferably in full).
  • If this is not appropriate (for example, the record is created dynamically and is not managed on an ongoing basis, or the record is managed in internal systems that it is not appropriate to expose), supply your institutional url.

If your data source is an aggregator

  • Supply the data source url of the original provider for each record. This means you need to have this information at the metadata record level.
  • If this is not appropriate (for example, the record is created dynamically and is not managed on an ongoing basis, or the record is managed in internal systems that it is not appropriate to expose), supply an institutional url.

Explanatory notes

In a federated aggregation context, originating source should identify the original physical source, such as a repository or server, from which the metadata originated, NOT the aggregator from which it was harvested by ANDS.

Aggregators need to be able to distinguish incoming feeds from each other. Data source information is included in the OAI-PMH wrapper if metadata is exchanged using the OAI-PMH protocol. However, not all metadata exchange uses this protocol. This originating source element is therefore included to record the data source within the record so that the information is available for use in other metadata exchange situations.

Originating source information should not be rounded up to the institutional level as this will nullify its purpose. Such grouping is already provided for by the Group attribute for each Registry Object; this enables a group of data providers to be associated with a parent organisation.

Originating source information is supplied by the metadata provider within a RIF-CS document. It is not derived.

RIF-CS examples

Multiple originating sources within an institution:

<originatingSource type="authoritative"></originatingSource>

<originatingSource type="authoritative"></originatingSource>

The two providers above are grouped within the Monash University group for display in Research Data Australia. However, they are distinct originating sources in terms of metadata feeds. If Monash University had a single metadata hub that provided these records to ANDS, the records would still show their separate origins using this originating source element.

Single originating sources:

<originatingSource type="authoritative"></originatingSource>

<originatingSource type="authoritative"></originatingSource>

Originating source where data source information is not appropriate:

<originatingSource type="authoritative"></originatingSource>


Date Change history
April 2010 Consultation draft
26 October 2010 First web publication, incorporating additional clarification
2 November 2010 Clarification of when it may be appropriate to use institutional url in originating source element





Please send any feedback on this page to

ANDS resources

Contact ANDS                                       ANDS Online Services                                      ANDS Technical Resources                                      ANDS Developers Toolbox                                       powered by Springshare

Thank you for visiting the 'new look' Content Providers Guide!  We'd really appreciate your feedback.  Please tell us what you like about the Guide or how it might be improved. 

Send your questions and comments to:

Thank you!