Table of Contents
I have terabytes of videotaped interviews from a European project, dozens of pseudonymised transcripts and informed consent forms. European partners need access to the files for data analysis. What's the best storage strategy for me?
When choosing a suitable storage solution to fit your project's needs, a lot of questions need answering. For example:
- How much storage space do I need?
- Who needs access?
- What precautions should I take to protect my data against loss?
- Which storage solutions are suitable for personal data?
It is an important aspect of data management planning to determine what your storage needs are and select solutions accordingly. In the 'Adapt your DMP' section questions that need answering are covered in more detail.
In the following, you will find an overview of different storage solutions. Factors that play a role are, for example, data sensitivity, ease of access, file size and overall data volume. Advantages and disadvantages are detailed as well as precautions you should take when working with personal (sensitive) data. Each solution closes with recommendations on what to look out for if you decide to use the solution in question.
In addition to finding a storage solution that best suits the requirements of your project, you may be required to decide which media types to use for storage and backup of your data and documentation. This is of particular importance if backup and storage are not taken care of by the IT department of your university or research institute.
Tips for your storage strategy
The UK Data Service (2017b) recommends the following for any storage strategy:
We recommend that you frequently check the integrity of your files. This can be done with checksum tools such as MD5summer (n.d.) or Checksum Checker (2014). Such tools create a 'digital fingerprint' - a string of numbers - from the bit values (the ones and the zeros) of a file. Monitoring whether the fingerprint of a given file changes allows you to detect if a file was changed in any way intentionally or unintentionally.
Follow the steps in the video (UK Data Service, 2016b) to perform a checksum check for your own files.