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Research Data Management: Data Preservation

This guide provides information about managing research data in any discipline.

Sharing Data

The most secure way to ensure future access to research data is to entrust data files to a stable, trustworthy online data repository.  Some repositories accept data files that are specific to a discipline or to an institution such as a university, or may accept any data files associated with the research process.  Repositories also typically provide an interface for others to search for and download research data, and even restrict access to data during an embargo period.  And many repositories provide secure storage through a system of backups and checks that ensure long-term access and preservation.  See the Repositories tab for lists of repositories.

Data Preservation

The key to ensuring the continuing value of research data is to properly preserve digital files such that they can be accessed well into the future.  This can be a difficult undertaking for an individual researcher.  However, some academic institutions and non-profit organizations have created repositories, or online data collections, with preservation capabilities.  In order to take full advantage of their capabilities, research data should be properly described and in a format that a repository can manage.  More information on data preservation can be found in the links below.


Digital Preservation
The Library of Congress' full guide to preservation

Keeping Research Data Safe
Charles Beagrie's guide to assess the costs and benefits of curating and preserving research data

Geospatial Data Preservation
The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) guide to preserving geospatial data

Preservation Planning
The Digital Curation Centre's guide to understanding digital preservation

Free, open source digital forensics software for libraries, archives, and museums

The NDSA Levels of Preservation
The National Digital Stewardship Alliance's (NDSA) matrix showing a tiered set of recommendations for digital preservation activities

Guide to Social Science Data Preparation and Archiving
The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) guide to planning data preservation and archiving activities

Data Preservation Tools

Excel Archival Tool
Developed by the University of Minnesota for creating archival copies of Excel files to ensure long-term access to data, even if the Excel file can no longer be opened


The UCSB Library subscribes to EZID, a UC3 service that makes it easy to create and manage long-term identifiers (DOIs or ARKs) to provide a stable point of reference to online content (papers, datasets, video clips, etc.).  Metadata can be added and updated to increase discoverability.  Supported by the Library, research units and departments on campus can set up an account and begin creating persistent identifiers for digital content. For further information, please contact Tom Brittnacher ( or 893-2366).  To apply for an EZID account, complete the request form and submit it to

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