Source: Version control. The Turing Way Community. This illustration is created by Scriberia with The Turing Way community, used under a CC-BY 4.0 licence. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3332807

Data storage allows researchers to keep digital information in such a way that it can be retrieved in future.

General recommendations

  • Store data in long-term readable formats.
  • Verify files from time to time.
  • Clearly organize and label stored data so that it is easily located and accessible.
  • Store embedded content files, such as images and spreadsheets, separately.
  • Always save content in its native format to preserve original size or resolution.
  • Do not include external links or dynamic content in documents, as these links may be lost over time.
  • If you want to save the final version of a PDF document, be sure to keep the original format (e.g., .doc, odt, etc.) separate.
  • Also, if you save it as PDF, make sure that the file is preferably set to PDF/A (better for preservation purposes).
  • It is recommended to use the institutional storage service, SharePoint/OneDrive, which offers backup copies and allows access to the project’s external collaborators.
  • In terms of security, it is highly recommended to use strong passwords and change them from time to time to resist computer attacks and encryption of highly sensitive data.

​OneDrive is an online service provided by Microsoft that allows you to create, upload, access and share files from a web browser. OneDrive offers STB of online storage with access from any device connoted to the Internet. All files you store in Onedrive are private: however, you can choose to share files with anyone you nominate.


​SharePoint is a cloud-based site that allows collaborative work to take place. You can use it as a secure place to store organize share, and accoss information from an device. All you need is a web browser. SharePoint is part of the Microsoft 365 suite that allows you to use it seamlessty with MS Teams and other Microsoft products.

Compressed files, yes or no?

  • Use container files with .zip extensions (better than .7z, tar.gz, .rar, etc.).
  • Tools for packing files into a container: 7-zip (Windows), Keka (Mac). 
  • Avoid compression or encryption when packaging.  


  • Allows large volumes of data to be compressed.


  • The user is forced to download the entire file, without knowing which file he is interested in. It is not possible to make a detailed item-level description of each of its files.
  • Downloading a compressed file can be a problem for users with limited connection/resources.
  • Compression may affect the quality and/or usability of the content.

Whatever storage you use, follow 3-2-1 backup rule!

Keep at least three copies of your data, and store two backup copies on different storage media, with one (1) of them located offsite.

Storage and collaboration 

Two of the biggest risks to research data are accidental loss or unauthorised access. We can mitigate those risks by adopting a few simple practices for storing our data. 

Use ICAC storage 

During active research the best place to house your data is on ICAC storage, where it will be regularly backed up and subject to greater access controls. This includes the SharePoint or OneDrive software. 

Best storage for collaborating 

If you have collaborators and are concerned about having stronger access controls to your files, then SharePoint can afford you more protection and control over files than OneDrive. 

Sensitive data  

If you have sensitive and personally identifiable data, contact us about appropriate storage options. Don’t use third party cloud storage (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.).

Unreliable Internet 

If you don’t have reliable access to the Internet during your research, then regularly sync your working copy with a master copy on ICAC storage. Consider building in a schedule for syncing your data as part of your research workflow. 


For more information and assistance, contact Documentation Centre and Library.


Bernal, Isabel (2022). Buenas prácticas y herramientas para la gestión de datos FAIR en Arqueología e Historia.

Managing and storing data (University of Surrey). 

Last updated: 21/02/2024