There are essentially three major stages to the data archival process: acquisition, processing and preservation. Details will differ somewhat with each archive but the basic principles are outlined here. Data archives typically expect the data they receive to be the technically and legally suitable for dissemination, sufficiently documented and relatively error-free.
The data that form the backbone of most archives collections are acquired through negotiation from a number of different data producers. Increasingly, these come as a result of funding bodies' grant conditions and institutional data policies. CESSDA archives all collect and disseminate data which are of interest for research and teaching. Individual collections vary greatly in terms of subject coverage, time period and geographical areas covered, dimensions and size of the data material, and in terms of data type, so it is always advisable to contact your national archive for information early on concerning deposit. [more...]
Once the data are formally accepted by the archive and the full set of data materials have been received from the depositor, the archive begins its processing or ingest activities, which include checking the integrity of the data and metadata, disclosure control checking, production of a catalogue record, and conversion of data and metadata to dissemination formats. [more...]
Most archives have implemented a preservation strategy based on open and standardised file formats, data migration and media refreshment. Preservation decisions are usually made within the context of the overall collections development policy of the archive, balancing the constraints of cost, scholarly and historical value, and user accessibility. [more...]