The 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:
- New catalog software!
- 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.