Storage and Backup

Consider both requirements for storage and processing of your data during the active phase of research and for long-term storage.

Things to consider when deciding on where and how to store your data:

  • CD & DVDs' media life are not reliable in the long-term, copy or migrate data to new media between 2 - 5 years after creation
  • Appropriate enviornmental conditions will increase the life-span of media
  • Consider the security concerns listed here.
  • Make backups of your data

Note that ideally, three backup copies of data are maintained: the original, a second external copy located on campus, and a third copy off-site. Willamette University options include:

  • External storage media connected to a PC or other device. This is often a good solution for short-term storage and backup. Willamette University staff can advise and support researchers who use this option.
  • Data stored on Willamette University's storage area network (SAN) via mapped network drive (typically your home directory or H drive). This data is automatically backed up to magnetic tape and retained for a 3-month period at an off-site storage facility. Networked storage is a limited resource.
  • Data deposited in the Academic Commons. This data resides on Willamette University's storage area network (SAN). Backup tapes are subsequently moved to an off-site storage facility. The University's data management strategy includes permanent backup of all data in the Academic Commons.

Beyond the university, a subject-specific repository or journal publisher Web site may be a good long-term storage strategy for some data. You can use the Registry of Research Data Repositories tool to look for repositories.