OAIster takes its name from the OAI harvesting protocol. See http://www.openarchives.org/ for more information on the protocol.
OAIster uses this protocol to harvest records that have been served by various institutions. For instance, OAIster is able to harvest the metadata provided by the Library of Congress for their American Memory Project. Folks who come to use OAIster are able to search this metadata and link directly to the digital representation linked to from the metadata.
To search OAIster (and for a lot more information) see http://oaister.umdl.umich.edu/. Try searching for "pennsylvania" in the Keyword field and "railroad" in the Subject field.
Would you like to make your digital representations more widely available? We can include your digital collections in OAIster, however, we need to have you OAI-enable your metadata first.
This is fairly simple using the "broker" application that comes with the newest CD Release. To find out in detail how to setup broker, go to http://docs.dlxs.org/collmeta/dlxs-broker.xml.
Once you have broker setup for your institution, go to http://www.openarchives.org/data/registerasprovider1.1.html. openarchive.org will send you an email letting you know if broker registered successfully.