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Data Management


Keeping reliable backups is an integral part of data management. Regular backups protect against the risk of damage or loss due to hardware failure, software or media faults, viruses or hacking, power failure, or even human errors. It is recommended that you have three backup copies (original, external but local to your institution, and external at a remote location). Check the integrity of your backed-up files using checksum validation. Create a backup schedule, use reliable backup medium AND test out your backup system by testing file restores. The UK Data Archive provides additional guidelines on data storage, back-up, and security.

  • Personal Computer
  • Departmental or University Server
  • Tape Backups
  • Subject archive (repository)
  • External Hard Drives
  • ITC Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM)
  • Cloud Storage
  • CDs or DVDs are NOT Recommended

How to share and archive your data

File Formats for Long Term Access

  • The file format in which you keep your data is a primary factor in one's ability to use your data in the future. Plan for both hardware and software obsolescence. See the section Organizing Files and File Formats for details on preferable long-term storage file formats.

Don't Forget the Documentation

  • Document your research and data so others can interpret the data. It is important to begin to document your data at the very beginning of your research project and continue throughout the project.

Ownership and Privacy

  • Make sure that you have considered the implications of sharing data, in terms of copyright and IP ownership, and ethical requirements like privacy and confidentiality.