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Research Data Management at Carleton

Decisions to Make Before Starting Your Project

Which storage option is best for me?

  • Is there enough storage space?

  • Will I need automatic backup?

  • How easy is it to set up and use?

  • Will I want to edit the document with my group at the same time?

  • How much version history will we need?

  • Will you be using a lab computer or a personal computer? Mac or PC?

  • Will it be easy to save the files after graduation?

How should I organize my files?

  • What’s the best way to name my files?

  • How can I make it easier to search instead of browse?

  • What are some other helpful organizational tactics we should employ?

Google Drive

Why Google Drive?

  • It is essentially a big folder that allows you to store as many files as you like (on your Carleton account). It will remember all of your edits and changes through its version history for files made in Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets.

  • The version history for Google Drive is very intuitive. It allows you to see exactly what your file looked like at different points in time and how it compares to the file today.

  • Ability to add custom descriptions to files allows you to more efficiently search.

  • Searching to find your items (Title, Document, Description/Keywords): helpful video

    • Naturally, Google Drive has an amazing search algorithm that will search Titles and Text inside of every document. It can also search the description field. If you click on a file and look at its info, you can add a description. This description essentially allows you to add keywords that you will want to search by later.

    • You can search by title, contents, and other items.

    • This link shows advanced ways to search as well.

  • There are two different desktop applications (File Stream or Backup & Sync) that can automatically backup your files. You only need to use one of them.

What's Limiting?

  • The version history only shows changes in G-Suite files (Docs, Slides, Sheets).

How Can You Get Started?


Why Dropbox?

  • This is also a large folder structure like Google Drive with practically unlimited storage on your Carleton account.

  • The desktop application (which can only be used on a personal computer) can automatically backup your files efficiently and easily.

What's Limiting?

  • The version history for Dropbox does not show a comparative view like Google Drive. But, it does allow you to download snapshots of what your file (or folder structure) looked like up to 30 days prior to today.

  • The only way to customize a file or folder is by its name, there is no way to add custom metadata/keywords/tags to it.

How Can You Get Started?


Why OneDrive?

  • Microsoft Word Online

    • It’s similar to Google Docs, but it’ll require you to make a Microsoft Account. (Instructions here on Carlpedia)

    • It’s hard to beat the simplicity of the Google Docs interface, and the MS Word Online interface is pretty similar to the desktop version, but with some fewer features.

What's Limiting?

  • Carleton doesn’t pay for an institutional account. So, if you need more than 5 gigabytes of storage you will have to pay a monthly fee.

How Can You Get Started?


Why GitHub?

  • GitHub is primarily used to store your computer programs in an open source community.

  • It is very effective when you have multiple users working on the same program.

  • The Version History will show changes in files and file structure updated every time you (manually) push to your remote repository/folder.

  • It also allows your programs to be split off the main branch, and then to be merged later on.

What's Limiting?

  • Knowledge of the command line is recommended (the third party user interfaces, aren’t great)

  • It was designed for programs and isn’t great at storing large files. They are also known to delete repositories (folders) that are larger than 1GB (you would receive a reminder).

How Can You Get Started?

  1. Install Git

  2. Make an account on GitHub (We recommend you use a personal email so that you can keep your account after graduation)

  3. Command Line (or install a user interface below):

    1. Windows: Install a Linux Subsystem for Windows.

    2. Mac: Use the built-in Terminal.

Recommended User Interfaces:


Why iCloud Drive?

  • It allows you to backup your mobile Apple devices and your Mac to the cloud.

What's Limiting?

  • There is no version history.

  • You can only share files (not folders) with other people.

  • There may be limits on storage space, and costs associated.

How Can You Get Started?