NARA Outgrows ARC: Researching New Catalog Software Options

ARC LogoThe Archival Research Catalog (ARC) of the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) needs to be replaced. NARA has put out an official Request for Information (RFI) and plans a “Vendor Day” for April 6th with final responses required by April 24th, 2009.

This is exciting for two very different reasons:

  1. New catalog software!
  2. Getting to read all the gory details about ARC!

If this makes you curious, then go give the RFI a read, but here are some juicy ARC tidbits to consider:

  • ARC’s Logical Data Model – 20 pages worth of data model that I am sorely tempted to print out, tape together and hang on a very large wall
  • ARC was built as a customization of OLIB back in 2003 and has been upgraded along the way
  • ARC currently contains 2,478,259 archival descriptions and 8,810,938 authority records
  • An average of 25,000 archival descriptions are added to ARC each week

The RFI states: “NARA has outgrown the existing ARC system and requires a more robust solution that’s capable of scaling to support at least 250 million archival descriptions and links to upwards of 500 million digital copies over the next 4-7 years.” Why so many records? Because all of NARA’s partners are digitizing records so quickly that they are creating a massive backlog of documents and the future only holds more of the same.

This RFI is only for planning purposes, but I will definitely be following this story as it unfolds.
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Posted on 19th March 2009
Under: digitization, metadata, software | 1 Comment » | Print This Post Print This Post

One Response to “NARA Outgrows ARC: Researching New Catalog Software Options”

  1. Ben Brumfield Says:

    I’m with you on the data model — it’s pretty cool!

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