UK Web Archive blog

01 October 2020

Request for Information: Metadata Management Tool for the UK Web Archive

By Helena Byrne, Curator of Web Archives at the British Library

What is a Request for Information (RFI)? 

A Request for Information (RFI) is not a tender opportunity, but is part of a market consultation exercise aiming to ensure that the procurement route selected and the options ultimately developed for any procurement are properly informed.

At the conclusion of this RFI process, the information gathered may be used to assess potential suppliers and service offers and produce a shortlist for invitation to tender or procurement under a Government Framework Arrangement. At this stage, no final decision has been taken on the precise procurement route to be followed.


The UK Web Archive RFI

The UK Web Archive (UKWA) is a collection shared by the six UK Legal Deposit Libraries: the British Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales, Bodleian Libraries Oxford, Cambridge University Library and the Library of Trinity College Dublin. UKWA aims to archive, preserve and give access to the historic UK web space. This is achieved through annual domain crawls, the first of which was undertaken in 2013, and more frequent crawls of key websites and specially curated collections which date back as far as 2005. These collections reflect important aspects of British culture and events that shape society.

The UKWA team based at the British Library is seeking to acquire a metadata management tool or set of tools to integrate with our web archive services. This will support the description of websites and web pages in our archive, the creation of topic-based collections and encouraging the participation of non-specialists in describing our archived web records. The intention is for this tool to handle the metadata associated with our web archiving services rather than the technical aspects of crawling and storing web content.

Our current Annotation Curation Tool (ACT) covers many functions. However, as the collection has grown in size, and the system matures in age, some of these features have become difficult to manage and response times to enquiries can be very slow, meaning the system is becoming more difficult to use as basic functions become almost impossible to execute. ACT is a bespoke tool, and in this RFI we are looking to explore off the shelf options that can be adapted to suit our requirements and that can be easily modified as these requirements change over time.


RFI Timeline

Set out below is the proposed RFI timetable, this is intended as a guide and, whilst the British Library does not intend to depart from this timetable, it reserves the right to do so at any time.

Publish RFI

01st  October 2020

Initial responses returned by

12th  November 2020

Shortlist and clarifications

18th  November 2020

Presentations (via video conference)

26th  November 2020

RFI concludes and feedback provided 

10th  December 2020


British Library e-Tendering Service

To ensure that your organisation is involved in this project at this early stage of engagement please provide details of the most appropriate contact within your organisation’s business development team – ideally your business development director or similar – to allow us to invite them into the 001599 online Request For Information (RFI) process. Please send a named contact email address to at your earliest convenience.


Edit (05/11/2020): The timeline for the RFI process was changed to incorporate an extension on the deadline for submissions. You can read the unedited version of this blog post on the UK Web Archive Website: