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What information do I need for data appraisal, selection, and disposal?

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  • Determine the institution's data collection policy, available resources, and overall mission
  • Make appraisal, selection, and disposal decisions based on criteria that consider the data collection policy, available resources, and overall mission



Sections include: short-term benefits and long-term value, higher/further education perspective, e-Science perspective, roles and responsibilities, and additional resources.

This guide will help you develop a managed approach to appraising and selecting datasets for curation. It provides working knowledge of current approaches, issues and challenges, and of the roles of research groups and institutional data services in addressing these. This guide should interest researchers responsible for managing data or who work in data-intensive fields, and those supporting them at research group level, or in institutional repositories, data centres or archives.



This 2010 report delivers a set of practical guidelines for appraising and selecting research data. It summarises the ‘state-of-the-art’ on the subject, based on recent literature, a limited number of interviews with some key players in the field, and the lessons learned at DANS and 3TU.Datacentrum.

  • Esanu, Julie, Joy Davidson, Seamus Ross, and William L. Anderson. “Selection, Appraisal, and Retention of Digital Scientific Data: Highlights of an ERPANET/CODATA Workshop.” Data Science Journal 3 (2004): 227–232.

CODATA and ERPANET collaborated to convene an international archiving workshop on the selection, appraisal, and retention of digital scientific data, which was held on 15-17 December 2003 at the Biblioteca Nacional in Lisbon, Portugal. The workshop brought together more than 65 researchers, data and information managers, archivists, and librarians from 13 countries to discuss the issues involved in making critical decisions regarding the long-term preservation of the scientific record. One of the major aims for this workshop was to provide an international forum to exchange information about data archiving policies and practices across different scientific, institutional, and national contexts. Highlights from the workshop discussions are presented.

  • Gutmann, M., K. Schürer, D. Donakowski, and H. Beedham. “The Selection, Appraisal, and Retention of Social Science Data.” Data Science Journal 3 (December 30, 2004): 209–221.

The number of data collections produced in the social sciences prohibits the archiving of every scientific study. It is therefore necessary to make decisions regarding what can be preserved and why it should be preserved. This paper reviews the processes used by two data archives, one from the United States and one from the United Kingdom, to illustrate how data are selected for archiving, how they are appraised, and what steps are required to retain the usefulness of the data for future use. It also presents new initiatives that seek to encourage an increase in the long-term preservation of digital resources.

  • Faundeen, John, and Lyndon R. Oleson. “Scientific Data Appraisals: The Value Driver for Preservation Efforts.” In PV2007 Proceedings. Munich, Germany: German Aerospace Center (DLR), 2007.

Organizations that create, preserve, and provide access to large volumes of scientific and technical data must plan strategically to ensure that the collections remain viable and accessible.  The variety and number of data choices are expanding quickly.  This lends credence to an appraisal process that can help apply resources toward collections that have been approved through a formal records management process.  This approach results in decisions about retention that are more defensible, and supports tight budget situations by identifying and prioritizing the more pertinent scientific and technical collections.  This paper expands upon this records management principle and is based on two years of practical use and experience with this process, aided by a public software tool developed to assist the appraisal process.

  • Faundeen, John. The Challenge of Appraising Science Records. Briefing Paper. Digital Preservation Europe, n.d.

This paper examines how the records management function of appraisal can help determine the long-term value of science records.  Various themes employed are briefly discussed to illustrate commonalities in differing approaches.


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