Skip to Main Content

Introduction to Data Management & Elements of a Plan: Your Needs

A general introduction to what data management is, why it's important and some basics on how to write a plan to accomplish it.

Library Data Services

Library Data Services caters to researchers interested in working with data, mapping, texts, visualization, and technology. Many of these services are available online. Davis Library Data Services, located on the second floor of Davis Library, offers:

  • A computing lab with specialized software for GIS and data visualization & analysis.
  • Walk-in assistance provided by knowledgeable student consultants during set hours
  • Consultations with specialists for more in-depth inquiries (by appointment).
  • Spaces for collaboration and presentation, complete with white boards and external displays.
  • Technology short courses and programs that promote digital scholarship.

Evaluate What Services You May Need

Listed below are a variety of resources available at UNC to help with different needs.  Consider what your project will entail and talk with the respective staff to design a customized data management plan.  Similar services are available from multiple resources, giving researchers a wide variety of flexible data management solutions.

Carolina Digital Repository

If you don't need to manipulate your data regularly but mainly want a place to store your data when the research is complete, consider an institutional repository like the Carolina Digital Repository (CDR).

ITS Research Computing Services

Consider using ITS Research Computing if you:

  • Need storage solutions for the active research phase of your research
  • Need to archive multiple file types
  • Need to preserve successive versions of the data
  • Have requirements for reproducibility
  • Need to give different users different levels of access
  • Want to distribute storage over servers in different locations (i.e., how disaster-proof do you want your data to be)

Important Considerations for Choosing a Repository

When choosing a repository, make sure you consider:

  • Who pays the cost to deposit with a given repository? Various entities at UNC support repositories, making your data deposit in these archives free of charge for you.  The Office for Research pays UNC's institutional membership in ICPSR; the UNC Libraries provides access to and maintains the Carolina Digital Repository; and UNC Dataverse hosted by UNC's Research Data Management Core. For other repositories, sometimes funding agencies or journals will pay, or you the author will need to pay. Costs can vary enormously and may depend on the specific services used, so be sure to ask. 
  • To what extent do other researchers need to be able to use your data when your research is completed?
  • Who would be interested in your data and how does the repository you choose appeal to that audience?
  • Does a repository offer help to clean and curate your data?
  • What tools does a repository have to make your data findable and usable?
  • Can the repository offer sufficient security to protect sensitive data, or services to help you de-identify the data?
  • Can the repository manage restricted access on your behalf?
  • How long do you need to store your data?
  • How stable is the repository in which you want to deposit your data?
  • What are its policies for moving your data out of that repository, or what happens if you leave your current institution?
  • Do you have questions or concerns about copyrighting data or data that you have licensed or purchased?