The National Archives

Experienced XML Developer to work with catalogue data

13 Incomplete applications

12 SME, 1 large

10 Completed applications

10 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Tuesday 17 September 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 24 September 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 1 October 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Specialist role
Summary of the work
Extract/transform/load our catalogue from relational database (SQL Server) into new native XML database. Develop minimum viable product application layer - API-based functions to search/select/add/export/edit/import/delete. We imagine: (1) application layer developed using XML technology stack (XQuery, XSLT, XProc, Schematron, XSpec); (2) API supports EAD3 (, EAC-CPF (; (3) database/application AWS cloud-hosted.
Latest start date
Friday 1 November 2019
Expected contract length
4 months
Organisation the work is for
The National Archives
Maximum day rate
£1,000 a day + VAT

About the work

Early market engagement
Who the specialist will work with
You will be based with the in-house Cataloguing and Taxonomy team working closely with the Data Analyst and the Head of Cataloguing and Taxonomy. You will also work closely with colleagues from the Government Audience, Digital Services, Digital Archiving team and Collections Experts.
What the specialist will work on
The migration of The National Archives catalogue data, consisting of 11 million record descriptions, from a relational database (SQL Server) to a native XML database (such as Marklogic); the development of sophisticated search functions for use by expert users (using XQuery and extensions), the development of API based data management services (import/export as tabular data for editing in Excel, data validation via Schematron) with supporting application logic (XSLT2/3 and XQuery plus XSpec) and processing pipelines (XProc).

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The team is based at The National Archives, Bessant Drive, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.
Working arrangements
Ideally co-located (for at least 2 days a week) so you can refine requirements with the team. Normal working hours are 9am to 5pm, there is some flexibility available.
Security clearance
Baseline security clearance will be required.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Experience, knowledge and understanding of native XML databases
  • Experience, knowledge and understanding of XSLT2/3
  • Experience, knowledge and understanding of XQuery
  • Experience, knowledge and understanding of related XML technologies such as XSpec, XProc and Schematron
  • Experience, knowledge and understanding of Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) processes
  • Experience, knowledge and understanding of working with mixed content in the context of large, semi-structured datasets.
  • Experience, knowledge and understanding of create resilient and secure systems using IAM in a cloud context
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience, knowledge and understanding of EAD3 and EAC-CPF
  • Experience, knowledge and understanding of XML based authoring and editing tools (XMetal, Oxygen etc.)

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many specialists to evaluate
Cultural fit criteria
  • Be willing to work at The National Archives
  • Be able to work alone to deliver work to a deadline
  • Be open to sharing findings and checking if on track
  • Provide evidence of working with non-technical team members
Assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Interview
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. What is the likelihood of a possible extension? Will this just be for 4 months?
We feel that 4 months is a reasonable length of time, for the amount of work involved and assuming an appropriate level of skill and diligence by the appointed specialist. However an extension (up to a maximum contract length of 6 months) may be considered provided that the quality and potential of the development work delivered convinces us that funding an extension is beneficial.
2. Do you have an incumbent supplier?
No, there is no incumbent.
3. Can you please confirm the IR35 status of this position?
We have checked the role requirements (to the best of our knowledge) using the assessment tool found at and, in our opinion, for the role(s) as advertised the intermediaries legislation does not apply to this engagement. If our opinion had been that these roles lay inside scope for IR35, we would not have published using this Framework.
4. Is there approximate timelines in place like when will Round 1 evaluation be done, resume sharing, interview, contract award etc.?
The closing date for this opportunity is 1 October, with a 'latest' 1 November start date. Round 1 evaluation should be done by around 10 October, and we would hope to hold interviews week commencing 14 October. Award decision would be week commencing 21 October. Please note these are estimated dates. We do not know what ‘resume sharing’ is, please post an additional question if required.