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A Guide To...Digital and Emerging Scholarship

This guide is dedicated to the advancement of digital and emerging scholarship at the College of the Holy Cross.

Storing Data

One of the major considerations for any data management plan is the issue of storage. Data, especially digital data, can be easily lost, corrupted, or mismanaged.

The first consideration is for your “active” or “working” data. This data is created as you are working on your project and will need to be regularly accessed and updated. Although it will need to be opened often, you should also make sure it is secure and in compliance with any privacy requirements for your project.

Major factors when considering data storage are:

  1. The size of the dataset - make sure that your Data Management Plan will be able to handle the appropriate amount of data
  2. Backup - there should never be only one copy of your data. Make sure that multiple copies are being kept and that they are located in different physical or computational locations.
  3. Security - are there any specific considerations for your type of research data? For example, if you are working with medical data, you will need to ensure that your storage system meets the appropriate security specifications.

Some general tips for keeping your data safe include:

  1. Use the 3-2-1 Rule. 3 copies, 2 different media, 1 copy off-site.
  2. Never rely solely on the cloud. Make sure you keep a local back-up in additional to any cloud storage.
  3. Document all locations of your data and who is responsible for each.
  4. Regularly test back-ups.
  5. Designate one copy as the working copy and sync with the back-ups at regular intervals.
  6. Automate the back-up process when possible.

Data Preservation

Many publications require data to be publicly accessible if your work is to be published. Conveniently, the same repositories that serve the purpose of making your data accessible also serve as a great preservation platform for completed data. Visit the next tab in this guide, "Finding and Sharing Data," for more information.

See Library of Congress’ Recommended Formats Statement for recommended file formats for long-term preservation.