Digital information is far more fragile than information that can be read directly from a physical object. Information that was born digital can become inaccessible as quickly as the hardware and software used to create it changes and is replaced. Libraries, archives, and other organizations are implementing preservation strategies such as normalization, migration, and emulation to respond to the accelerating rates and increasing complexity of digital information. This introduction to digital preservation gives a brief overview of the issues.

Researchers at Lafayette College have a number of options for long-term preservation and access of their digital research material, including the Lafayette Digital Repository at Skillman Library, and external disciplinary repositories.

Lafayette Digital Repository

Lafayette faculty who are looking for a place to archive data of long-term scholarly value may want to consider using the Lafayette Digital Repository, an online archive designed to preserve and make accessible the scholarly work of Lafayette College faculty, including raw data and published findings.

Lafayette College Libraries is currently migrating from the Lafayette Digital Repository to a new Samvera-based digital repository framework. For additional information about submitting research data to the Lafayette Digital Repository, including what language to use when citing the LDR in a data management plan, contact Nora Egloff, Digital Repository Librarian.

External Digital Repositories

External and discipline-specific data repositories could also be suitable permanent homes for your data. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) page about digital repositories contains an extensive list of repositories you may wish to consider.

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is a consortium of over 750 academic institutions which has been archiving social and behavioral science data since 1962. Researchers in these domains may find their education resources on data management and curation helpful. OpenICPSR is an open-access data repository for data that meets the criteria for ICPSR’s Collection Development Policy.

Open Access

Preserving your data allows others to make use of it. Lafayette is committed to the values of the Open Access movement, whereby scholarly research (and by extension, data) is made available online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. For more information about Open Access at Lafayette, including the Faculty’s adoption of an Open Access resolution in 2011, see the Library’s Open Access page.