Policy and Procedures for Digital Archiving

The Harvard Dataverse Repository policy for digital archiving is part of the institution's general mission to preserve all of its archival collections and to ensure their availability for current and future use. More specifically, this policy for preserving our digital data collections is meant to ensure continued access to born digital and digitized data, to ensure their authenticity, and to maintain data quality using the best digital archival practice.

Harvard Dataverse Repository will maintain on-line storage, backup, and media migration sufficient for all studies it accepts (in addition to storage provided for the Harvard Dataverse Repository).

The Harvard Dataverse Repository commits to best archival practice to ensure that all materials deposited in the archive remain available and usable. This includes: preserving previously deposited versions of materials; deaccessioning (removal) of studies only when legally compelled; maintaining public access to the materials; regularly reviewing risks to materials; and reformatting materials as necessary to avoid format obsolescence.

Preservation of Materials Deposited in the Harvard Dataverse Repository

The Henry A. Murray Archive, through its endowment, supports long-term, bit-level preservation of all social science research studies directly deposited in the Harvard Dataverse Repository.

Specifically, the Harvard Dataverse Repository has made a commitment to Dataverse owners to maintain on-line storage, backup, and media migration for material deposited in the Harvard Dataverse Repository.

Notwithstanding Harvard Dataverse's commitment to archival preservation, all questions about finding, using and archiving data distributed by others in the Harvard Dataverse Repository should be referred to individual dataverse owners. Owners of individual dataverses have sole control over selection of materials, choice of archival practices, documentation, access policies, usability, and formatting of all material in these dataverses; and individual dataverse owners may choose to restrict access to information in their dataverses.

Archival Procedures

The Archive's digital archival procedure consists of:

1.    Daily Data Backup
2.    Off-site Backup Data Storage
3.    Progressive Backup Data Migration

Daily Data Backup

•    Content to Backup (data files and metadata)
•    Backup Schedule (regular full and daily incremental)
•    Backup monitoring (completion status and data verification)
•    Management of media (tapes indexed and recorded in a database)
•    Replication verification tests (to insure system integrity)

Off-site Backup Data Storage

In addition to the backup media kept in the server room for quick restoration of data when needed, the Archive also uses the Harvard Depository to keep copies of backup media off-site. The Harvard Depository is a climate-controlled storage and retrieval facility designed for just this kind of long-term preservation. Periodically, the Murray Research Archive will update the media transport and replacement schedule with the Depository in order to maintain the continued quality of the backups and the efficiency of data restoration.

Progressive Backup Data Migration

To ensure long-term continual access to digital materials when required hardware, software, and other technologies evolve over time, a systematic data migration plan has been designed. Following this plan, the Murray Research Archive will move data from any storage media, data format and associated hardware and/or software that are becoming obsolete to new media, format, hardware, and/or software that are or are becoming standard or currently considered best practice. The Murray Research Archive will also have an annual review of the media, format, hardware and software that are used in our data backup and storage, and will have the budgetary means to migrate data when necessary. The data status review and migration schedule will additionally be recorded with Harvard's Records Management Office, so that important maintenance dates for our data stored in the Harvard Depository will be monitored and proper schedules will be maintained.

Facilities and General Usage Policies

Please also click here to see our general systems usage policies