Tech Tuesday: NARA @ NITRD

This week’s Tech Tuesday post comes from NCAST blogger, Mark Conrad.

Who wouldn’t want to sit at the table where important decisions are made?  Who would turn down an invitation from the White House? Who would turn down an opportunity to leverage billions of dollars of other agencies’ Research and Development (R&D) funds?

Not NCAST, that’s for sure.  We wouldn’t pass up a golden opportunity and that’s why we’re glad to be an active member of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program.  What is this program you might ask?

The NITRD Program is a unique collaboration of more than a dozen Federal agencies that support R&D activities in the Federal government, and serves as the source of federally funded revolutionary breakthroughs in advanced information technologies such as computing, networking, and software.

NARA was invited to participate in the activities of the NITRD Program in 2003 and became a full member in 2007.  Participation in the NITRD Program allows NARA to shape and leverage the research and development efforts of other NITRD Federal agencies.

At the same time, NARA participation raises awareness across the Federal government of the importance of finding ways to address issues related to the management, preservation, and access to electronic records and digital data.  For example, every year the NITRD Subcommittee prepares the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Supplement to the President’s Budget.  This document lays out the priorities for interagency R&D for the coming fiscal year.  For the past few years those priorities have included things like:

  • Maintenance of and access to long-lived science and engineering data collections, and Federal records;
  • Advance decision support technologies contributing to high-confidence processing of large collections (e.g., collections of Presidential records); and
  • New approaches, technologies, and tools for long-term preservation, curation, sustainability, accessibility, and survivability of significant electronic data and information collections.

These priorities demonstrate that preservation of electronic records is no longer seen as just an ‘archives problem.’  Long-term preservation of electronic records and other important digital data is viewed as a societal challenge. Hopefully this recognition at the highest levels of the U.S. Government will lead to better tools and methods for managing our records.  You can learn more about NARA’s participation in the NITRD Program on our website.

In other news, NCAST Research Partners at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, announced a new blog about their research project called CI-BER. The project involves NARA, the National Science Foundation, RENCI, and UNC/Chapel Hill.  CI-BER — which stands for “CyberInfrastructure for Billions of Electronic Records” — is a project that will build a master copy of all the NARA research holdings at UNC. This testbed will be networked with distributed holdings across other key NARA sites and will serve, among other things, as a testbed to explore visual analytics of records.
Visit the CI-BER blog at:

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