Meaning & purpose

The OriginatingSource is the entity holding the managed version of the RegistryObject metadata, represented by a URI. The OriginatingSource is the primary source of truth for the metadata record.

Aggregators need to be able to distinguish incoming feeds from each other. If metadata is exchanged using the OAI-PMH protocol, data source information is included in the OAI-PMH wrapper. However, not all metadata is exchanged using this protocol. Therefore OriginatingSource is included to record the data source within the record so that the information is available for use in other metadata exchange situations. This provides historical information and authority for the content of the metadata record.

In a federated aggregation context, OriginatingSource 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 Research Data Australia.

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

Originating Source attributes

Originating Source Type

If the OriginatingSource URI refers to the location of the authoritative version of metadata about this registry object, provide an Originating Source Type with value '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 included mainly for management of records aggregators; accordingly, it is not displayed or searchable from Research Data Australia.

Best practice

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

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 RegistryObject; this enables a group of contributors to be associated with a parent organisation for display in Research Data Australia.

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

If your data source is an aggregator

XML encoding examples

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

Change history

DateChange history
April 2010Consultation draft
26 October 2010First web publication, incorporating additional clarification
2 November 2010Clarification of when it may be appropriate to use institutional url in originating source element
31 July 2017Content revised and updated. XML examples clarified.