The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) research prototype persistent archive is a preservation environment using data grid technology to develop implement, and test a seamless, nationwide data management infrastructure. The NARA data grid was extended to include the University of North Carolina, where RENCI provides data management infrastructure as the sixth node in the NARA 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 in the grid (in Washington D.C., West Virginia, California, Maryland) and with the Odum Institute for Research and Social Science’s SRB zone at UNC-Chapel Hill, in order to test distributed data preservation technology. The data grid environment and the federation of SRB zones allows synchronization of collections (data and metadata) across grid nodes and offers replication services that allow reliable distributed data preservation.

The RENCI Contribution

RENCI is collaborating with NARA’s office of Electronic Records Archive (ERA) and SDSC on development of a prototype persistent archive. The collaboration is examining how advanced data management systems can be used to support the long-term cross-platform preservation of distributed data. The RENCI system which serves as the UNC NARA node was implemented as a 32-bit virtual machine on 64-bit architecture for compatibility with the SRB MCAT server. The prototype RENCI NARA zone is a replication mirror for NARA collections. RENCI experts will continue to test the prototype for replication and maintenance of NARA collections.




  • Jon Crabtree, Odum Institute for Research and Social Science, UNC
  • Cal Lee, School of Information and Library Science, UNC
  • Helen Tibbo, School of Information and Library Science, UNC
  • Richard Marciano, San Diego Supercomputer Center
  • Reagan Moore, San Diego Supercomputer Center
  • Sheau-Yen Chen, San Diego Supercomputer Center
  • Mark Conrad, National Archives and Records Administration
  • Richard Lopez, National Archives and Records Administration
  • Mike Smorul, University of Maryland
  • MacKenzie Smith, MIT

Project team

  • Leesa Brieger, project leader
  • Mat Bidwell
  • Brad Viviano



Reagan Moore, Society of American Archivists Annual Conference, August 2006
Reagan Moore, et all, TeraGrid07 All Hands Meeting, June 2007