Redesigning Electronic Record Processing and Preservation at NARA

Notes: View the community notes Google doc for this session.

Session Type: Project Update

Session Description
The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is in the process of refactoring its infrastructure for the processing and preservation of electronic records.

In gathering requirements to enhance the tool suite at NARA, a number of needs were identified. The key need was for a flexible processing environment with an expandable set of software tools to verify and process a significant volume and varieties of electronic records. Existing systems lacked support for non-Federal digital materials (e.g., digital surrogate masters, Legislative, Donated, Supreme Court, etc.) or classified digital materials. And given highly successful partnerships with other types of organizations, there are growing storage for digital surrogates and a need for a more efficient workflows to provide public access.

This new infrastructure is described as the Optimized Ingest Framework (OIF). This framework includes a new model for managing the receipt and processing of digital materials for preservation and access; a modular approach to systems managing digital materials; a departure from the model of a single, monolithic system; the refactoring and evolution of existing systems; the establishment of an environment to provide necessary processing flexibility and tools for a wide variety of digital materials; and a more automated and robust solution for digital preservation with reduced complexity.

This refactoring comprises three modular systems: a Digital Processing Environment (DPE) that encompasses a suite of tools for processing including validation, characterization and transformation of files; a Business Object Management system to create and manage workflows for transfer and ingest; and an enhanced Digital Object Repository for the management and preservation of records and surrogates.

This project is just getting underway at NARA with its first iteration DPE prototype currently scheduled for early 2015.

Session Leader
Leslie Johnston, National Archives and Records Administration