Paleonet: An Open Letter in Support of Digital Data Archiving

James Mahaffy mahaffy at
Wed Mar 30 02:22:48 GMT 2011

>>> Jere Lipps  03/27/11 9:06 AM >>>
we have therefore 
required authors to enter into an archiving agreement, in which the 
author commits to archive the data on an institutional Web site, with a 
copy of the data held at Science. But such agreements are only a stopgap 
solution; more support for permanent, community-maintained archives is 
badly needed."  Much of this is about Science's new effort, but the last 
statement refers to the problem that I noted  but which Brooks now 
writes as "badly needed".   In his seminar, he added that funding to fix 
this need was very uncertain and that some existing data repositories 
were in financial distress already.


At smaller liberal arts colleges like ours at Dordt, we really don't have the resources currently to archive much data according to our IT administrator.  Apparently you not only have to archive it but you will need to back it up every 5 years or so if it is saved on a magnetic media (tapes) or the information will be lost.  Our administration would have to put a lot of funds into an archiving system.  As it is a trial of digitizing and storing the college's archives is taking too much hard drive space and we will have to spend serious money on storage and retrieval systems.  

But then we are not a research institution, but it could be a big problem for those of us who are doing or are committed to do research.

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