Awarded to LHi Group Ltd

Start date: Monday 18 January 2021
Value: £96,000
Company size: SME
The National Archives

Developer to build alpha for managing catalogue data using RDF

7 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 1 large

10 Completed applications

9 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Monday 26 October 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 2 November 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 9 November 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Specialist role
Summary of the work
After a successful discovery, we now need an expert RDF developer to help us implement an alpha of a new pan archival catalogue, developing a solution meet the users’ needs, using AWS Neptune and Elasticsearch.
Latest start date
Monday 4 January 2021
Expected contract length
5 to 8 months
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
The National Archives
Maximum day rate
Up to £900 per day

About the work

Early market engagement
We have run a discovery phase leading to plans for an alpha using AWS Neptune and Elasticsearch. You can read more about the project:

The discovery produced a proposal for a new Catalogue Data Model using RDF, a new identifier scheme, and transformation routines for the existing data to the new model. We have held workshops identifying the key ways that staff managing the catalogue work with the data and what they would like in future. The archivist needs to search, analyse, add to, correct, edit, enrich, and enhance record descriptions so that the catalogue is properly maintained. The archivist needs to work with catalogue entries individually or as large sets, making (or reversing) bulk changes, so they can work efficiently. The archivists need to understand the version history of the catalogue so they can be confident about where the information has originated.

We have investigated all the current databases that hold catalogue data and how they inter-relate. We have investigated a wide range of existing data standards and ontologies. We have documented all the findings in a detailed published report.
Who the specialist will work with
The specialist will work with a Technical Architect/Developer (another specialist being recruited at the same time). The core in-house team is a data analyst, two senior archivists and the Head of Cataloguing, Taxonomy and Data. The specialists will also work with a wider group of users, archivists across the organisation responsible for the management of the catalogue.
What the specialist will work on
We are developing a pan-archival catalogue, bringing together record descriptions from multiple catalogues into a single new system. We are looking for a developer to work on the alpha development.

The specialist will develop a new catalogue management system. This will involve developing API functions to search, select, add, export, edit, import and delete catalogue data; developing search for use by expert users (using SPARQL in combination with Elasticsearch); developing an Extract, Transform, Load process to migrate The National Archives catalogue data from multiple relational database (SQL Server) and RDF databases to a cloud based native RDF database (AWS Neptune).

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Whilst mainly working remotely, the Catalogue, Taxonomy and Data team is based at The National Archives, Bessant Drive, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.
Working arrangements
Given the situation with COVID-19, remote working will be the main arrangement for this project. Some work may be conducted at The National Archives, Bessant Drive, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, but only when it is appropriate and safe to do so.
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
  • Have experience with using standards based ontologies/vocabularies, such as W3C PROV data model, Dublin Core and W3C ODRL
  • Have experience of validating RDF data, for example using RDF SHACL
  • Have experience of working with RDF databases and SPARQL, for example AWS Neptune
  • Have experience, knowledge and understanding of Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) processes
  • Have experience, knowledge and understanding of working with mixed content in the context of large, semi-structured datasets.
  • Have experience, knowledge and understanding of create resilient and secure systems using IAM in a cloud context.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Have experience developing a user interface/front end to support non-expert, editorial engagement with RDF
  • Have experience, knowledge and understanding of EAD3 and EAC-CPF.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a work history.

How many specialists to evaluate
Cultural fit criteria
  • Have collaborative and flexible working approach, e.g. working with in-house technical and other digital specialists
  • Approach to supporting teams to adopt new technologies
  • Examples of delivering transition, knowledge transfer and handover of code.
  • An appreciation for the importance of technical documentation as a means of ensuring ongoing maintainability of systems.
  • Demonstrable commitment to a diverse working environment, with a team comprised of experts from a wide variety of backgrounds
Additional assessment methods
  • Reference
  • Interview
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Please let us know if you have an incumbent in place
No, there is no incumbent
2. Is this role inside IR35?
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.
3. Would you consider responses that offered between 0.5 and 0.75 FTE?
We might be able to accommodate something between 0.5 and 0.75 (or explore a time extension) for the successful consultant, but this type of flexibility would have an impact on other team members and product delivery. We would consider this possibility in the context of work history assessment and interview.
4. Would you consider responses that offer two experienced individuals with an aggregate effort level up to 1 FTE?
We might be able to consider sharing arrangements. We would consider this possibility in the context of the paper work histories submitted, before interviews take place.