Ensure the reliability of your storage media

All storage media, whether hard drives, discs or data tapes, will wear out over time, rendering your data files inaccessible. To ensure ongoing access to both your active data files and your data archives, it is important to continually monitor the condition of your storage media and track its age. Older storage media and media that show signs of wear should be replaced immediately. Use the following guidelines to ensure the ongoing integrity and accessibility of your data:

Identify and use relevant metadata standards

Many times significant overlap exists among metadata content standards. You should identify those standards that include the fields needed to describe your data. In order to describe your data, you need to decide what information is required for data users to discover, use, and understand your data. The who, what, when, where, how, why, and a description of quality should be considered. The description should provide enough information so that users know what can and cannot be done with your data.

Identify data with long-term value

As part of the data life cycle, research data will be contributed to a repository to support preservation and discovery. A research project may generate many different iterations of the same dataset - for example, the raw data from the instruments, as well as datasets which already include computational transformations of the data.

Plan for effective multimedia management

Multimedia data present unique challenges for data discovery, accessibility, and metadata formatting and should be thoughtfully managed. Researchers should establish their own requirements for management of multimedia during and after a research project using the following guidelines. Multimedia data includes still images, moving images, and sound. The Library of Congress has a set of web pages discussing many of the issues to be considered when creating and working with multimedia data. Researchers should consider quality, functionality and formats for multimedia data.

Provide identifier for dataset used

In order to ensure replicable data access:

  • Choose a broadly utilized Data Identification Standard based on specific user community practices or preferences
    • DOI
    • OIDs
    • ARKs
    • LSIDs
    • XRIs
    • URNs/URIs/URLs
    • UUIDs)
  • Consistently apply the standard
  • Maintain the linkage
  • Participate in implementing infrastructure for consistent access to the resources referenced by the Identifier

Store data with appropriate precision

Data should not be entered with higher precision than they were collected in (e.g if a device collects data to 2dp, an Excel file should not present it to 5 dp). If the system stores data in higher precision, care needs to be taken when exporting to ASCII. E.g. calculation in excel will be done to the highest possible precision of the system, which is not related to the precision of the original data.

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