The National Archives and the San Diego Supercomputer Center Sign Landmark Agreement to Preserve Critical Data
Press Release · Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Washington, DC


The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), with concurrence from the National Science Foundation (NSF), today signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding that provides an avenue for preserving valuable digital data collections. This collaboration marks the first time NARA has established an affiliated relationship for preserving digital data with an academic institution. Some of the digital data under SDSC’s technical stewardship was produced by or for agencies of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. The Memorandum of Understanding provides for governance of Federal electronic records and other Federal informational materials within the collections under applicable Federal laws, regulations and authorities.

The agreement provides a formal framework for collaboration, innovation, demonstration, and preservation of some of the nation’s most valuable digital research collections. SDSC, an organized research unit of UC-San Diego, is a leader in cyberinfrastructure and is a national data repository featuring unique large-scale data storage, preservation, management, and analysis facilities. This Memorandum of Understanding establishes an unprecedented affiliation that allows SDSC and NARA to build on past research. It manifests our shared vision of the future of preserving and providing sustained access to the scientific data collections at SDSC.

"SDSC has been one of our partners since 1998, and this relationship is evidence of our shared commitment of ensuring that our children’s great grandchildren have access to the records of our time. Our collaborations have affirmed this shared commitment to NARA’s mission," said the Archivist of the United States, Allen Weinstein.

"The signing of this memorandum of understanding establishes an unprecedented affiliation that allows SDSC and NARA to build on past research and make evident our shared future of preserving and sustaining access to the scientific data collections at SDSC."

"Advancement and discovery in the 21st century is driven by data," said SDSC Director Fran Berman. "Preserving our most valuable digital assets is critical for leadership and competitiveness in research and education. This unprecedented MOU will lay the groundwork for SDSC to expand and formalize its role as a national data repository, and provide a venue for the preservation of valued digital collections from federally sponsored research."

"NARA and SDSC, along with NSF, have a 10-year history of furthering archival storage and data retrieval research. This MOU is a milestone that recognizes those years of collaboration and the benefits from this important effort," said Dan Atkins, Director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure, National Science Foundation.

The partnering of NARA, SDSC, and NSF is timely as our nation’s scientists and engineers seek to increase U.S. competitiveness and leadership. In response to the deluge of data faced by researchers, educators, and practitioners, new and innovative strategies to achieve digital preservation are increasingly important.

The digital preservation challenge is further accelerated by the increasing investment by NSF, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and other Federal agencies in critical research which relies on experimental observations, computational analysis, sensors, scientific instruments, and other sources of massive amounts of digital data.

The parties believe that this agreement will enable research and education, support national security and emergency preparedness and catalyze continuing technology research and innovation.

The official ceremony took place at the National Archives Building at College Park, MD. with the Archivist of the United States, Allen Weinstein, Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, Francine Berman, and the Director of the NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure, Daniel E. Atkins signing the Memorandum of Understanding. The Chancellor of the University of California, San Diego, Marye Anne Fox was unable to attend the ceremony, but signed the document prior to the ceremony.

About NARA
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) ensures, for the citizen, the President, the Congress, and the Courts, access to records that document the rights of citizens, the actions of Federal officials, and the national experience. NARA plays a key role in fostering effective and responsible government through management of the records in all three branches of the Federal Government and through sustained access to historically valuable records in the National Archives and the Presidential Libraries. For More information, please visit the National Archives and Records Administration web site at

About SDSC
For more than two decades, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) has enabled breakthrough data-driven and computational science and engineering discoveries through the innovation and provision of information infrastructure, technologies and interdisciplinary expertise. A key resource to academia and industry, SDSC is an international leader in Data Cyberinfrastructure and computational science, and serves as a national data repository to nearly 100 public and private data collections. SDSC is an Organized Research Unit and integral part of the University of California, San Diego and one of the founding sites of NSF’s TeraGrid. For more information, see

About NSF
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of $5.58 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 1,700 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 40,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes nearly 10,000 new funding awards. The NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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