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Help & guidance Guides to Good Practice

Structuring your archive

Kieron Niven, with contributions from Tony Austin, Jonathan Bateman, Stuart Jeffrey, Jen Mitcham, Archaeology Data Service / Digital Antiquity, Guides to Good Practice

There are several important things to consider when depositing data; that the files are in the correct format; that proper file naming conventions are used; and that they are accompanied by appropriate documentation. The description of files, their naming and the structuring of the archive are all covered in the Geophysics guide under Depositing to Archives. Many archives require that certain conventions be adhered to when transferring files but it is generally good practice that data creators use a consistent scheme and case when naming files and structuring their archive. Descriptive file names help explain the contents of the file while non-descriptive file names (such as unique id numbers) may also be used to relate files to additional documentation files such as image or survey logs or databases. Non-descriptive file names are acceptable but their content must be adequately described in accompanying metadata.

Issues with the physical transfer of marine datasets have been discussed in the Marine survey guide (File formats for archiving and Deciding what to archive) and individual archives will be able to specify exactly how they require datasets to be deposited.