Preserving Research

I’m finding it hard to think of effective methods for preserving my research. I don’t know the ins and outs of document preservation, electronic or otherwise, so I’m finding this week’s topic difficult.

When I asked a classmate for her thoughts on the topic, she suggested that I could submit my research to something like an institutional repository. One that might be more likely to survive in the long term than a journal… Or my computer. This seems like a reasonable idea but I still wonder about how to record the process of research, in addition to it’s final result.

It seems like the method used by Bell, Turing, Freud, and the others whose work is stored at the Smithsonian, is still somewhat appropriate today. I’m a big fan of written notes in books and on drafts. At the time I find that writing them helps me think, and looking at them afterwards helps me see the progression of my ideas.

I also wonder if we could make use of the other easily accessible mediums we have today to augment research recordings. Taking pictures, videos, and audio recordings is easier now than it has ever been. Depending on the research area and methods of choice these things have become indispensible, in fieldwork and anthropology for instance. But I wonder if more researchers could use them to flush out their own research process. Maybe we could start making a sort of personal scrapbook, virtual or physical, that included different kinds of media on things that we found thought provoking and relevant to our research.

There’s still the question of where to put these things, and that’s where I really feel stuck. I think one of the most basic solutions might be to keep multiple copies in different locations. I know a girl that scans all of her hand-written notes and saves them to two different locations. She has three copies of all of the notes that she’s taken during her masters. I do not. But maybe I should.


One Comment on “Preserving Research”

  1. Timothy Perry says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one left feeling a little out of depth by this week’s question – I too know only a limited amount about document preservation, especially of the digital variety. And I think that your ultimate conclusion is right – preserving copies in various formats and locations seems the most logical way to try to ensure preservation.

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