Best practices in data storage and preservation entail several factors:
Read more below on how to implement these criteria below. Read more on how to submit datasets for publication in W&M ScholarWorks on our library data services page.
Data documentation, also known as metadata, helps you understand your data in detail, and also helps other researchers find, use, and properly cite your data.
Various metadata standards are available for particular file formats and disciplines. General guidelines are provided below. For help in documenting your data, email email@example.com.
You have several options for storage and processing of your data during the active phase of research:
Unencrypted security is ideal for storing your data so that you and others can easily read it, but if encryption is required because of sensitive data:
Uncompressed is also ideal for storage, but if you need to do so to conserve space limit compression to your 3rd backup copy.
To make sure your backup system is working properly, test your system periodically. Try to retrieve data files and make sure you can read them.
Need more help? The UK Data Archive provides additional guidelines on data storage, backup, and security.
As technology changes, researchers should plan for both hardware and software obsolescence and consider the longevity of their file format choices to ensure long term readability and access.
File formats more likely to be accessible in the future have the following characteristics:
Examples of preferred file format choices include:
Consider migrating your data into a format with the above characteristics, in addition to keeping a copy in the original software format. If you deposit your data in a repository, your files may be migrated to newer formats, so that they’re usable to future researchers.
William & Mary Libraries will archive datasets and their documentation in W&M ScholarWorks, supporting the data through changing technologies, media, and data formats. William & Mary Libraries provides guidance and support for all aspects of the data lifecycle, from planning data management strategy through preserving data at the conclusion of the project, and works with researchers to insure this process includes appropriate documentation and requirements for data integrity.
A standardized metadata record for the data will be added to repository. This record includes a standardized data citation with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to provide permanent linking and access, gives credit to the research team, and enables users to obtain a copy of the product. W&M Publish provides public, open access to the deposited data, via full-text searchable records, making them discoverable through Google, Google Scholar, and other large search engines.
Read more on how to submit your data here.