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Preserving your data
I've shared my data. It's in the cloud. That's preservation... right?
Threats to data include much more than just keeping track of a thumb drive:
- Physical threats - Losing your storage media is the most commonly known about - but still the most common threat to data. Natural disasters, purposeful theft, and more physical threats also exist.
- Digital threats - "Bit Rot" is the slow degrading of digital information over time. Preservation repositories have audit software that monitors its inventoried data for bit rot.
- Development threats - lack of software updates superceding your files or rendering them obsolete
- "We keep this one giant computer from 1995 just so we can refer back to the directory on the old floppy disk that only runs on Windows 3.1"
- Or... "My open source software project was wildly successful during its implementation, but now that interest has faded it's not being updated as operating systems change"
- What if the website hosting the data loses its funding? Will anyone be able to find it?
- Insufficient description - perhaps it was common knowledge at the time, but now no one knows what the acronym OPP all over your dataset means, and you haven't described it.
Data Repository Standards for Preservation
Learn about Data Repository Preservation standards. Interrogate your own project to discover what threats are most important to address, and find out how your preferred or planned Repository
DRAMBORA is a self-audit tool for repositories. Knowing how a repository self-audits for preservation standards can help you when you're looking for a preservation-quality repository.
Data Seal of Approval
The Data Seal of Approval uses a self-audit process plus a Board review to issue a Seal of Approval to repositories of data. This is one certification you can check for.
ISO 16363 is an external audit and certification process for digital preservation.
International Council for Science World Data System
In the Scientific community, ICSU provides a data certification for scientific data repositories.