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Digital Research

This guide provides an overview of tips, support, and resources available to complete digital research projects at American University.

Step 4: Ensure Sustainability and Preservation

Once your final research product is complete, you will have to make decisions about how to maintain this product. If you have created a digital publication as part of your digital research project, you will need to determine how long to keep this publication live, as well as the work that will need to occur to keep it live.

Tasks to Complete During this Step

  • Create a plan for long-term access, maintenance, and/or regular upgrades of the project, including who will be responsible for this maintenance.
  • Perform all activities necessary to ensure long-term accessibility of your product, including necessary technical maintenance, file migration to new formats, and updating dead links.
  • Have a plan for backing up all files and versions of your project, with redundant backup where possible.

Questions to Consider During this Step

  • For how long do you plan to keep the research product active?
  • Who will be responsible for long-term maintenance of the final product? How will you fund this long-term maintenance?
  • How will you retire this project when its maintenance period is over? 
  • How will you preserve the project when it is no longer live?

Resources for Step 4

American University Research Archive: AU's institutional repository preserves and makes a variety of outputs by AU researchers openly available, including working papers, preprints, manuscripts, datasets, theses & dissertations, and more.

Criteria for Inclusion in AU's Institutional Repository or the Library's Digital Collections and Archives

Managing Research Assets Handout: This handout, used during a workshop taught by Digital Humanist Miriam Posner, has tips for preserving your digital assets and questions to consider for establishing a data workflow.

Preserving Your Research Data: This Programming Historian lesson provides concrete examples of how to document digital research.  

Keep Research Data Organized: This short (5m 42s) Knowledge Clip, produced by Ghent University, explains how to keep your research files organized as your complete a research project. This clip provides tips and best practices for different aspects of file organization, such as file naming, folder structure and version control.