The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Transcontinental Persistent Archive Prototype (TPAP) is a data preservation environment using the Storage Resource Broker (SRB) and “/i/ Rule Oriented Data Systems” (iRODS) data grid technology to develop, implement, and test a seamless, nationwide data management infrastructure. The University of North Carolina serves as one of the nodes in the NARA data grid. RENCI provides data management infrastructure for the NARA data grid. Each data grid node manages its own preservation environment, with separate metadata catalog and storage systems. The UNC NARA node enables the university to federate with other NARA nodes on the grid in Washington D.C., West Virginia, California, and Maryland, and with the SRB/iRODS zone of the Odum Institute for Research and Social Science at UNC-Chapel Hill, in order to test distributed data preservation technology. The data grid environment and the federation of SRB/iRODS zones allows synchronization of collections (data and metadata) across grid nodes and offers replication services that support reliable distributed data preservation. The iRODS rule engine, in development and testing as the successor to SRB, offers the original SRB services along with rule-based support for implementation of administrative data management policy, even  for  data distributed across disparate administrative domains.

RENCI collaborates with the Data Intensive Cyber Environments (DICE) Research group, in the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at UNC and in the Institute for Neural Computation (INC) at UCSD, and with NARA’s office of Electronic Records Archives (ERA) on the testing of the persistent archive prototype and the tools and policies which support it. Researchers are examining the construction of advanced data management systems used to support long-term, cross-platform, multi-site preservation of distributed data. RENCI also collaborates on the NARA TPAP project with the other partners at SILS and in theOdum Institute for Research and Social Science, testing their integration of social science data in VDC/DataVerse with the TPAP/iRODS data grid.

The RENCI system which serves as the UNC NARA node enjoys 7TB of disk space. The prototype RENCI NARA zone is a replication mirror for NARA ERA collections. RENCI experts contribute to the testing and rule and microservice development of the new iRODS technology to support the transcontinental prototype for replication and maintenance of NARA collections.


The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)


Odum Institute for Research and Social Science, UNC

  • Jon Crabtree
  • Mason Chua

UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS)

  • Reagan Moore
  • Richard Marciano
  • Antoine de Torcy
  • Jewel Ward

Institute for Neural Computation, UCSD

  • Arcot Rajasekar
  • Michael Wan
  • Wayne Schroeder
  • Sheau-Yen Chen

Project Team

Leesa Brieger