Storage and Preservation

Librarians are available to show you the various resources provided by the university and the scholarly community to store your data. Librarians can guide you to preservation best practices that help in the long-term accessibility of your data in these storage systems.

Repositories for Data Storage

Below is a list of repositories available to you as a researcher to store and provide access to your data.

SMU Scholar

SMU Scholar is an institutional repository managed by Bepress. Users can submit different types of materials into designated collections for public open access. SMU Scholar provides a central location for all university research output and has a simple submission process. There is a 2 GB per file limit for items uploaded to SMU Scholar. Materials uploaded to SMU Scholar will be harvested into the university digital preservation system, Rosetta.

Quick Information:

  • SMU's institutional repository
  • Managed by Bepress
  • Unlimited storage
  • 2 GB file size limit


Box is a cloud storage and file hosting system. Users create boxes and folders containing items and manage permissions for these items. Currently the university contract with Box allows for unlimited storage space and Box allows users to take advantage of the cloud storage distributive model. There is a 15 GB file size limit which might be a hindrance if researchers want to keep files together in a large zip file.

Quick Information:

  • Cloud storage and file hosting system contracted with SMU
  • Managed by Box
  • Unlimited Storage
  • 15 GB file size limit

Harvard Dataverse

Harvard Dataverse is an iteration of the Dataverse web application that Harvard has made open to outside institutions and researchers. Simply create an account and set up your own dataverse. Harvard Dataverse provides a full back-up of material stored in its system. There is a 2 GB per file limit for items uploaded to Harvard Dataverse.

Quick Information

  • Open Access data database
  • Hosted by Harvard
  • Undetermined storage
  • 2 GB file size limit


Helpful Tips for Preservation

Storing digital material does not always ensure that data will be available in the future. As technology changes, the software and formats we use to store data in will change as well. Often these changes will be dictated by private companies which may not consider backward compatibility as a priority. Other issues such as accidental deletion and institutional knowledge loss can affect the longevity and use of data.


Organize and clean files

Organizing your files before storing them will help ensure the data's usability, especially if the data is to be made public. Organizing your files prevents the knowledge loss and allow users to find information easier.


Naming structure

Creating a naming scheme for your files allows for findability and understandability of the data. There is no right way to name files. The scheme only needs to be consistent and to make sense to someone viewing the files from an outsider's perspective. There are a number of small rules that can help achieve greater consistency.

Rules to follow in your naming structure:

  • Characters used in file names will be in lowercase (a-z)
  • Special characters will not be used
    • Examples include: / \<>+=}[]# as these characters are used by the operating system
  • When dates are used, base the date on the ISO 8601 international standard.
    • Examples: yyyymmdd, 20120929 or 2012-09-29
  • Use leading zeros
    • Example: 0001, 0002, 0003, etc.
    • This will facilitate proper sorting


Migrate to open and or ubiquitous file formats

The best thing that you can do for preserving your data is migrate to an open or ubiquitous archival file format. These archival file formats are accepted standards within the digital preservation. There standardization and wide use help ensure the adoption of the particular format into the future.

To be an archival format:

  • Preserves all data within the file
  • Looks the same no matter the hardware/software
  • Has open standards
  • Is widely used


See the Guidelines for Electronic Formatsto see the archival file formats excepted by SMU Libraries.

For more information, contact