Depositing your data to a formal repository such as those mentioned in the previous section is a good practice for research projects.
However, preserving your data and making them accessible in only one place is not enough. A distributed approach to storing your data is highly recommended. By being part of a campus community, a researcher has options beyond local storage of her data. One should investigate options beyond campus as well. This is something librarians and archivists can help with, as described in the video below.
Below are ways you can distribute storage of your data (based on U. Minnesota Libraries' "Storing Data Securely,".):
- Local options - easy to access your data and control access, but you are responsible for backing up that data,
- Internal hard drive (computer hard drive)
- External hard drives - extensive storage capacity is increasingly inexpensive to purchase
- College or departmental servers, local networks
- Campus-based options - some at no cost, others for a fee; facilitates collaboration; users have less control.
- Penn State Access Accounts Storage Space (PASS) - administered by Information Technology Services (ITS), requires a Web Access Account ID; 500 MB to start, can be increased to 10GB.
- Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) - administered by Applied Information Technologies in ITS, fee-based file backup service
- High-Performance Computing - administered by Research Computing and Cyberinfrastructure in ITS, fee-based.
- Cloud-based options - someone else takes care of your data and manages it; not recommended for sensitive data, because it's third-party storage.
Quick Tips for Storage and Backup of Data
- Keep at least three copies of your data
- Have “master” or original files from which copies get made
- Put files in external but local storage, such as an external hard drive (but not on optical media)
- Also, put files in external but remote storage, or on remote servers
This way, files are physically (geographically) dispersed for disaster recovery purposes.