Data Archiving and Preservation

When does data become important enough to be archived for long-term access? Data archiving and preservation go beyond storage solutions. Instead the data must be "curated" which might include archiving, preservation and access to research data, ultimately with reuse in mind.

The need to manage and curate data might be best determined by answering yes to any of the following questions:

Is your data...
  • kept for a long time?
  • require a secure backup location?
  • rare or one-of-a-kind?
  • not easily recreated?
  • complete and ready for distribution?

University of Minnesota Data Archives

  • University Digital Conservancy (UDC): a digital archiving venue available to University of Minnesota faculty. It provides long-term digital preservation and open access to institutional digital resources, including research data.

  • Minnesota Population Data Center: a fee-based service that serves as a data depository and custom service provider. The MN Data Center services are located within the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota.

  • UMedia: Video and Image archiving for objects created by University of Minnesota affiliates.

  • HathiTrust: a digital repository for the nation’s great research libraries. HathiTrust was conceived as a collaboration of the thirteen universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the University of California system to establish a repository for these universities to archive and share their digitized collections.

  • AHC Information Exchange: is an effort to centralize the handling and distribution of clinical data within the University. This effort includes a clinical data repository; a clinical trial management system; a cohort discovery tool called “i2b2”; and a data de-identification and linkage service.

Depositing Data into the University Digital Conservancy (UDC) FAQ

  1. What is the University Digital Conservancy (UDC)?
    The UDC is a digital archiving venue available to University of Minnesota faculty. It provides long-term digital preservation and open access to institutional digital resources.

  2. Does the UDC archive data collections?
    Yes, although materials currently archived at the UDC are primarily text-based, there are also some data format files. Examples of this are the GIS ArcInfo export files from the Minnesota Geological Survey. Although the repository preserves the integrity of the raw data files, no data visualization capabilities are currently provided by the UDC.

  3. What are some important considerations for archiving data in the UDC?
    • In general, if an appropriate discipline-specific data repository for your data already exists, that should be your first choice for long-term archiving of data sets. Your subject librarian and UDC staff can assist you in identifying these types of archives.
    • The UDC is a possible archiving choice for those data sets where a discipline-specific data repository does not exist. There are a number of archiving considerations (proprietary/non-proprietary file formats, metadata schema, data file sizes, file naming conventions, data searchability and metadata harvestability issues, and so on), and it is recommended that you consult with the UDC staff as early in the data archiving process as possible.
    • The UDC's preservation policy defines the levels of archiving support for various file formats. However, if your specific file format does not appear in the policy, this does not necessarily preclude your data from being archived in the UDC, so first consult with UDC staff about your requirements.
    • Best practices in preparation for archiving materials are also described here.
    • Because all UDC content is completely open access, authors and depositors should retain all rights of copyright for any deposited data and should review the UDC's copyright policy.

  4. How do I setup a UDC account for depositing data collections?
    Contact UDC staff to request the necessary permissions for uploading items to the repository. The UDC provides for distributed item deposit, and staff will work with individuals and departments to design a suitable workflow for specific data collections. There is also a Guide for Submitting Works to the UDC. As already mentioned, for data sets it is highly recommended that you contact one of the individuals listed below.

  5. Is there example language I can use to include the UDC in my Data Management Plan?
    Here is some language that may be used in your data management plan and please request a consult from a data management librarian to review your DMP.

    A long-term data preservation plan will be used to store the data beyond the life of the project. The data will be deposited into the University of Minnesota’s Digital Conservancy (UDC), This institutional repository, run the University Libraries, is an open access platform for wide distribution and access to university scholarship. The UDC provides longterm preservation of digital objects using services such as migration (limited format types), off-site backup, bit-level checksums, and a permanent URL for archival citations. The data will be accompanied by the appropriate documentation, metadata, and code to facilitate reuse and provide the potential for interoperability with similar data sets.

  6. For additional questions about the UDC and consultation requests, please contact

Example Data Archives Outside the UMN

  • Dataverse Network Project (Harvard) - Data archive and citation tool.
  • FigShare - Web based hosting service for research data and figures.
  • DataCite - link resolver for connecting data sets with publications.
  • Zenodo - Web Based repository service for research data.
  • Dryad (University of North Carolina, North Carolina State & Duke University) - a repository of data underlying scientific publications, with an initial focus on evolution, ecology, and related fields.
  • DataOne (Univ New Mexico, CDL) - ensures the preservation and access to earth observation data.

On this Page:

UMN Data Archives
UMN Digital Conservancy FAQs
External Data Projects

Contact Us

University Digital Conservancy (UDC),