Archive my Research Data

Providing long-term access to research data is a team effort between researchers and an institution. Unlike backing up files, digital preservation involves special procedures, maintenance, and storage of research data.

The Libraries research data preservation policies and procedures are developed in conformance with the ISO 14721:2012 Open Archival Information System reference model.

The Libraries provide consultation services to help researchers plan for the preservation of their data when they begin a new research project (see Data Management Plans).

Data curation is made easier when researchers have practiced good data management during their research work. This includes the use of a metadata standard to document the research and its data throughout a project. Our data curation services help researchers prepare their data for long-term preservation. Contact us at:

Institutionally based data repositories provide a stable preservation environment for research data. If you use the services of a data repository, you will increase the lifespan, discovery, and long-term access and usability of your research data.

The University of Alberta Libraries Repository Services

Our repository services provide three levels of preservation support: bronze, silver, and gold. One of these levels is assigned to a dataset based on evaluation criteria assessing its enduring value and the feasibility of its preservation.

  • Bronze: Data archived with only bit-level protection.
  • Silver: Data archived for medium to long-term access but that are preserved elsewhere or have lower projected preservability.
  • Gold: Data that undergo a comprehensive set of preservation actions for long-term accessibility.
  • Prepare Your Data For Deposit

    What can I do to prepare my data for deposit with a repository?

    • Consult with a data curator about data management practices that best support the deposit of your data
    • Use commonly accepted, non-proprietary file formats (e.g., .csv or .txt)
    • Backup files during your research project (original, near, far)
    • Test your ability to recover data from backup files
    • Provide workflow documentation
    • Create metadata documenting your research data
    • Select an appropriate data repository

    How Do I Choose a Data Repository?

    The number of data repositories is growing rapidly. Our liaison librarians are available to describe the data repositories in the subject areas they support and to discuss the advantages and disadvantages among these repositories. Start by contacting your subject liaison librarian.

    A data repository may work to establish credentials as a trustworthy repository through compliance with appropriate standards or through an evaluation with a certification agency. Some examples of standards and certification processes are listed below.

    • Open Archival Information System (OAIS)
    • OCLC Attributes of a Trusted Repository
    • Data Seal of Approval - Developed by the Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) archive in The Netherlands
    • Trusted Repositories Audit & Certification (TRAC) and Trusted Digital Repository (TDR) Checklist
    • DRAMBORA initiative - Developed by the The Digital Curation Centre (DCC) and DigitalPreservationEurope (DPE)

    ERA is a digital repository with a mission to collect, disseminate, and preserve the intellectual output of the University of Alberta.

    • ERA provides an easy and convenient solution for faculty who must deposit their research publications in an open access repository to meet funding agency requirements.
    • Under certain circumstances, ERA can also accommodate datasets.
    • Contact for deposit service and support.