Digital Preservation and Access

Digital Preservation

Digital preservation is the life cycle management of digital materials from the point of creation for reformatted digital renderings of analog originals or from the initial ingest of born digital material. Our digital preservation program maintains secure storage for most standard file types and addresses the challenges of obsolescence over a rapidly shifting technological landscape. We oversee the long term preservation of the digital materials for Special Collections and University Archives as well as the project specific data preservation needs of the campus community and for regional collaborative digital projects. We offer comprehensive digitization services for the reformatting of monographic materials and analog audiovisual materials.

Digital Access

Digital preservation is carried out with the primary goal of providing long term access to digital content. Digital collections of historic or scholarly significance may be exhibited in our online digital collections and may be shared with other state and national repositories. Our digital collections consist of rare and historic materials including sound recordings, oral histories, Civil War letters, and images focusing on the Appalachian region, Appalachian State University, children’s literature, art, and theater.

Data curation and repositories

Choosing a Data Repository: As part of your plan for preserving and disseminating data, you may choose to deposit some or all of it in a digital repository or archive.  Depositing your data in a repository makes it more accessible to other scholars and allows your rely on the data management expertise of those who maintain the repository. 

If you decide to use a data repository as part of your data management, consider:

  • Your needs and the requirements of your institution and funder. 
    Is long-term preservation of your data important to you? Are you interested in making your data available to other researchers in your field and/or the general public?
  • Copyright, intellectual property, and privacy. 
    Would public deposit of your data in a repository be compatible with your institution, funder, and publishers' policies for data dissemination?  Does your research involve potentially sensitive information, such as valuable intellectual property or information about human subjects, that will need to be carefully managed?
  • The intended audience(s) for your data, and where they might easily access the data. 
    For example, if your data is primarily useful for other researchers in your discipline, is there a discipline-specific repository that is widely used by your colleagues?
  • The repository's technical specifications. 
    Does the repository store the type and volume of data you need to store?  How do they handle metadata--information about your data such as authorship, version, and subject--that makes it easier to find and use your data?  What about backups and secure storage?  If you deposit your data in the repository, will people be able to find it using Google, WorldCat, or other search tools?
  • The repository's administrative requirements for depositing data. 
    Who may deposit data in the repository?  Are there fees?  Do their policies for access, security, and intellectual property meet your needs?
  • The repository's potential for long-term stability. 
    Who maintains the repository, and what type of administrative and financial plans do they have for providing access to the data in the coming years?  As technology changes and data formats become obsolete, does the repository have a process in place to migrate old data to newer formats?

Repository Options: The repositories listed here are only a few examples popular with ASU faculty; please contact a librarian at Belk Library & Information Commons if you would like help locating an appropriate repository for your data.

  • NC DOCKS: ASU is a partner institution in NC DOCKS, a cooperative effort to make the scholarly output of the University of North Carolina system more available to the world. ASU faculty can deposit research data in NC DOCKS, along with full text articles, audio recordings, dissertations, and other formats. All formats are indexed by Google and are freely available to scholars and researchers world-wide.  Appalachian State University faculty interested in NC DOCKS should review this information and contact Allan Scherlen for details.
  • Databib: Find a Data Repository: Databib is a searchable catalog of research data repositories. You can search for a depository by keyword, or browse a list of repositories by discipline. Most listed repositories are in the U.S., U.K., or Canada.
  • Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR): ASU is an ICPSR member and some ASU PIs have deposited their research data with ICPSR. ICPSR maintains a data archive of more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences.
  • DRYAD: Dryad is an international repository of data underlying peer-reviewed articles in the basic and applied biosciences. Dryad enables scientists to validate published findings, explore new analysis methodologies, repurpose data for research questions unanticipated by the original authors, and perform synthetic studies.  Dryad is governed by a consortium of journals that collaboratively promote data archiving and ensure the sustainability of the repository.

Electronic records

The Digital Scholarship and Initiatives team collaborates with University Archives to coordinate the collection and storage of the electronic records of the university according to the UNC General Records and Retention Schedule.