Start date: Wednesday 1 December 2021
Value: £60,000
Company size: SME
The National Archives

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

1 Incomplete application

1 SME, 0 large

4 Completed applications

4 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Monday 8 November 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 15 November 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 22 November 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Specialist role
Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Supply of resource: the off-payroll rules will apply to any workers engaged through a qualifying intermediary, such as their own limited company
Summary of the work
Develop a consolidated pan-archival RDF metadata catalogue to meet users’ needs and implement this by building ETL processes, an RDF triple store and API services, underpinned by AWS Neptune and AWS Elasticsearch.
Latest start date
Tuesday 30 November 2021
Expected contract length
Until 31 March 2022, with an option to extend by up to 6 additional months
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
The National Archives
Maximum day rate
Up to £750 per day

About the work

Early market engagement
We ran 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, 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 two RDF Developers. The core in-house team is a data analyst/Product Manager, a senior archivist and a Service Owner and the Head of Cataloguing, Taxonomy and Data. The specialists will also work with a wider group of users including 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 to join a Technical Architect/another RDF 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
You may work remotely but must be prepared to attend monthly team work sessions at The National Archives at Kew (a couple of days per month). 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
Additional assessment methods
  • Reference
  • Interview
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. What is your anticipated timetable?
Our anticipated timetable is as follows:
Scoring of all responses to produce shortlist for interview by 23 November 2021.
Interviews held 25 November 2021. Please keep this date free.
Award decision by end of day on 25 November 2021.
Contract negotiations to conclude in time for 30 November 2021 start.
2. Is there an incumbent in the role?
The work is currently being undertaken by a supplier appointed through a previous DOS advertisement. That contract will have come to an end before this one starts. The 'current' supplier is at liberty to apply for this role. All submissions will be evaluated fairly, openly and transparently. The 'current' supplier will receive no credit or preferential treatment in this exercise.
3. Please can you confirm if this role is within 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. This check was performed making certain assumptions and may be rechecked once a preferred supplier is identified.