News Archive

SDSC-led DOCT Project Enters into Partnership with National Archives and Records Administration

Published 06/05/1998

For more information, contact:
National Archives Public Affairs staff, 301-713-6000
Ann Redelfs, NPACI/SDSC, 619-534-5032,

SAN DIEGO, CA -- The National Archives and Records Administration ( NARA) has entered into a partnership with the Distributed Object Computation Testbed (DOCT), a project led by the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), to test high-performance computing solutions for managing the life cycle of large quantities of records data. DOCT is funded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

"All agencies need to address the challenge of life-cycle management of records in an automated environment," said Archivist of the United States John Carlin. "This is a great opportunity to apply information technology to improve both internal processes and services to customers. We are interested in whether the technical approaches explored in the DOCT project could be applied throughout the federal government in managing records as well as specifically within NARA to address some of the challenges of archival preservation and access to electronic records."

The quantity of electronic federal records is growing exponentially. While all of the electronic records stored into the National Archives since 1972 amounts to less than 100,000 files, NARA expects to receive tens of millions of files in the next few years. NARA's current system for preserving electronic records cannot process the expected growth.

NARA's involvement in this partnership is intended to solve its critical need to develop better ways to preserve historically valuable electronic records of the federal government. The DOCT testbed provides an infrastructure on which to test advanced technologies for the preservation of electronic records.

The DOCT project at SDSC-one of several projects contributing to the data-intensive computing environment being constructed by SDSC and NPACI-is investigating implementations of the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model.

"The goal is to demonstrate the ability to migrate all aspects of archived data forward in time, including moving the data onto new media, reformatting the data sets to comply with new standards, importing metadata into new catalogs, and incorporating new mechanisms for retrieving data," said Reagan Moore, principal investigator for DOCT and the leader of the Data-intensive Computing thrust area of the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI). "By integrating archival storage systems, advanced data-handling systems, and digital library technology, these capabilities can be demonstrated at the scale required by NARA."

NARA's involvement in DOCT is one of several strategic partnerships it has formed to address the challenges of managing electronic records. For more information about NARA's records management initiatives, visit NARA's home page at or contact NARA's Modern Records Program at 301-713-7100. Information about DOCT is available at

SDSC is a research unit of the University of California, San Diego, and the leading-edge site of the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure. SDSC is sponsored by the National Science Foundation through NPACI and by other federal agencies, the State and University of California, and private organizations. For additional information about SDSC, see, or contact Ann Redelfs at SDSC, 619-534-5032,