Structure your data to make it easier to find and use, both during, and after the project. The process does not necessarily need to be too elaborate, and there is usually a viable option involving a straightforward method. However, giving consideration to how the material should be organised can save time and effort in the long run.
- Name your files according to an intuitive and/or well-thought-out structure that includes information about time, date, place or any other details relevant to the material. Use the same method when you organise your files in folders to make it easy to know what they contain without having to open them. In addition, it is also useful to figure out a simple way of keeping check of different versions of your files.
- Describe your data in a structured way, provide it with metadata, such as a read me-file, a description connected to the document etc. For metadata standards, see for example Disciplinary Metadata from DCC. When you upload files in an archive or a similar service, you use a form to detail what they contain which generates metadata that describes what the volume of data is comprised of, and how it has been analysed. The metadata is also necessary to make the data machine readable, as well as to find and enable reuse of information.
- Large volumes of data that are managed in databases should be organised and described according to current standards. Usually, the repository or type of database regulate which standards should be applied.
- Make sure to save your files in persistent formats that make it easier to deduce how you have used the data, and facilitate reuse of the data itself.