The SHARD project, which ended in 2012, identified four basic principles of digital preservation for researchers:
- Start early: The sooner you start thinking about what to preserve, how to do it, and when, the greater the chance of avoiding problems. Early planning means involving everyone in a research project in the discussion to help identify additional issues.
- Explain it: Context provides meaning and is vital in digital preservation. There is little point in preserving material and data without context.
- Store it safely: Backups are not preservation. It needs multiple copies in different locations. Use open source file formats and be careful how you and others handle and access files. Select carefully the files to be preserved.
- Share it: Sharing your research material and data is beneficial. In one way or another, the main reason to carry out preservation at all, on any level, is to be able to share your work with others, now and in the future.