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Data Management

Guide to data management resources for researchers

Data Management Resources

A digital illustration depicting a laptop resting on a yellowfins filing cabinet beside a stack of books. Text at the top reads: "Data management" A digital illustration depicts text on a purpose background reading "Three Main Considerations: Description, Organization, Security" with a paper tag, a yellow folder, and a lock beside each word, respectively. Text on a blue background reads "Use metadata tools + standards for search engine optimization; Stay consistent with how you organize your files; back up your data frequently." with a paper tag, a yellow folder, and a lock beside each point.

Images by Keimi Nakashima-Ochoa, CC BY-NC-SA

Research Data Management involves processes and tools that researchers use to create and save the data they generate over the course of their research. Data may be in various forms including text, transcripts, recordings and numeric data. There are a number of tools that can be used to help organize, format, document, store, protect and preserve your data that will help to save time, increase efficiency, meet grant requirements, improve accessibility and secure your research data. For more information explore the content below and read the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management

The Portage Network

Portage "is a national, library-based research data management network" that provides guidance on how to manage research data. Create an account to access the Data Management Plan (DMP) Assistant, an effective tool to help create a data management plan that meets the requirements of the Tri-Agency Funders. Although ECUAD is not one of the partnering institutions, individuals can still sign up and access the DMP Assistant.

UBC Research Data Management

Find information on data management for all stages of the research process. Learn to organize; format; document and describe; store and back up; preserve; and protect your research data. Learn how to make your data publicly available. Learn to publish, license and cite your research data. Learn how to find data to help with your research.

MANTRA

A free online course on digital data management.

Use metadata to help search for and access your data. Click here for some examples of metadata standards. 

Common Metadata Elements

  • Title of data set
  • Creator
  • Subject (used standardized disciplinary terminology
  • Description (how and why the data was collected)
  • Abstract (how the dataset will be used)
  • Contributors
  • Date (YYYY-MM-DD)
  • Type (image, text, spreadsheet, etc.)
  • License

It is important to set up conventions and be consistent with how you organize your data files. This will help you and other researchers access your data in the future.

Here are some recommended conventions:

  • Record dates in YYYYMMDD format
  • Use short unique identifiers
  • Include a summary of content in file name
  • Use underscores as delimiters
  • Keep track of document versions sequentially or by date
  • Make folder hierarchies simple

Example: FileName_Guidelines_20170407_v01.docx

Storing your data

  • Back up your data on a regular basis
  • Store three copies: original, copy on local external device, copy on external devise at different location
  • Check with IT for their storage and backup capacity

Securing your data

  • Ensure computer hard drives are encrypted
  • Do not store data on free cloud services (Dropbox or Google Drive)

During the 2020/21 academic year, Emily Carr University hosted the series, "Digital + Creative Knowledge Sharing: Data Management in Creative Research". Event recordings can be found here.

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