2. Data Storage and Curation

Archiving is the process of transferring information of value into a distinct repository to ensure its long-term safe-keeping (and therefore also accessibility). All archives, whether physical or digital, have policies which dictate the selection, retention and deletion of materials. Discrimination in the receipt and retention of material is always required since the cost of retention is never zero (and indeed is likely to increase over the longer-term as various preservation actions are initiated). The University is therefore wary of "just in case" archiving or of attempts to use archives as an extension to day to day file storage.

The HFS Archive policy is intended to encourage uptake of the Archive service for the long-term storage of data considered to be of value to the University as whole, or likely to be of value to our successors. Therefore, the decision on whether to make use of the HFS Archive should be based on qualitative rather than quantitative judgements (i.e. the value rather than simply the amount of data). Since, in practical terms, it is impossible to state with any firm conviction that a given data set will remain of value to the University for ever, it is important that the Archive incorporates retention and deletion policies.

The HFS Archive provides long-term file storage. The HFS Team has the expertise to maintain and develop the storage infrastructure, migrating data from one medium to another as required. However, the HFS Team does not provide a data curation service. The documenting and management of the data content is the responsibility of the Data Curator. Every dataset lodged with the HFS Archive must have a Data Curator, the contact details of whom must be kept up to date. The Data Curator is responsible for submitting data to the Archive; for ensuring the data is documented to agreed standards; and for reviewing on a regular basis with the HFS Team the need to retain or to delete the data. The HFS Team expects to work in collaboration with domain experts and OULS to ensure that good practice in data curation is implemented for all datasets submitted to the Archive, and that consequently the HFS Archive service continues to offer value for money in the long-term storage of the University's digital assets.

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