Start date: Monday 14 June 2021
Value: £60,000
Company size: SME
The National Archives

Experienced RDF Developer to build ‘Alpha’ archival catalogue system, data store and API interfaces

8 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 0 large

11 Completed applications

10 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Thursday 29 April 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 6 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 13 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Specialist role
Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Summary of the work
Develop a consolidated pan-archival RDF catalogue to meets users’ needs and implementing this by building ETL processes, an RDF triple store and API services, underpinned by AWS Neptune and AWS Elasticsearch.
Latest start date
Monday 7 June 2021
Expected contract length
4 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 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 now seek a second development specialist to speed up progress on the following work strands:
• data extraction and transformation
• infrastructure
• editorial workflow
• API.
Who the specialist will work with
The specialist will work with a Technical Architect and another RDF Developer. 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. Developer required to join a technical architect/another developer to work on the alpha development.

You will join a small team to deliver a new catalogue management system. This will involve developing API functions to search, select, add, export, edit, import, delete catalogue data; developing search for use by expert users (using SPARQL with Elasticsearch); developing an Extract, Transform, Load process to migrate 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 creating and working with RDF databases and SPARQL, for example AWS Neptune
  • Have experience, knowledge and understanding of building Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) processes
  • Have experience, knowledge of Java/Scala and an understanding of working with mixed content in the context of large, semi-structured datasets
  • Have experience, knowledge and understanding of implementing 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. Is there a current incumbent?
2. Is this in scope for IR35?
We have checked the role requirements (to the best of our knowledge) using the assessment tool found at and the determination for the role(s) as advertised is that the intermediaries legislation does apply to this engagement. For this reason we will be adding clauses to the contract which ensure the appointed supplier is responsible for PAYE, NI and all other tax arrangements.
3. Do candidates need valid Baseline security or will this be carried out for the successful candidate?
If you do not hold current BPSS clearance, you must be prepared to apply, which TNA will facilitate and cover the cost.
For every individual requiring access to our systems we will require:
The applicant’s First Name and Surname (as per passport);
Company name (if applicable);
Email address (for Data Protection reasons, the e-mail address must be for a mailbox that can be accessed only by the applicant. This can be a work e-mail address).
Do not include this information in your tender response. The information will be requested by us from the appointed supplier.