Data Management

Sustainable formats

Formats more likely to be accessible in the future are:

  • Non-proprietary
  • Open, documented standard
  • Common usage by research community
  • Standard representation (ASCII, Unicode)
  • Unencrypted
  • Uncompressed

Consider migrating your data into a format with the above characteristics, in addition to keeping a copy in the original software format.

Examples of preferred format choices:

  • PDF/A, not Word
  • ASCII, not Excel
  • MPEG-4, not Quicktime
  • TIFF or JPEG2000, not GIF or JPG

Naming conventions

Directory structure naming 

When organizing files, directory top-level folder should include the project title, unique identifier, and date (year). The substructure should have a clear, documented naming convention; for example, each run of an experiment, each version of a dataset, and/or each person in the group.

File naming

  • Reserve the 3-letter file extension for application-specific codes, for example, formats like .wrl, .mov, and .tif.
  • Identify the activity or project in the file name

Use free tools to help you:

File naming conventions for specific disciplines

DOE's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program