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Bite-Sized Data Management

03: Discoverability

We expend a lot of energy, and money, to make sure that our data remains safe and secure. But how much time is wasted by double-clicking through those very high-quality hard disks, when you don’t know the name or location of the file you’re looking for? Discoverability is important!

How will you find your data in 5yrs time?

  •  Good directory structure;
  •  Good naming conventions.

How will your PI find your data after you’ve left the Institute?

  •   Good directory structure;
  •   Good naming conventions;
  •   Screenshots - can be a useful visual ‘map’ for someone unfamiliar with your complex directory structure.
  •   Read-me files - in certain directories, can provide explanatory information about what is nested within.

How will the the broader scientific community find your data?

  •   Community repositories (e.g. Flybase, Gene Expression Omnibus);
  •   General repositories (e.g. Apollo, Zenodo, Github);
  •   Extensive metadata - think of the search terms people will use to find your work, and enter as many keywords as you can when uploading your files.

Spend a little time just now and save yourself, and others, a lot of time in the future. Easy.

(ad327, April 2017)