DCC Briefing Paper: Database archiving
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In a computational context, data archiving refers to the storage of electronic documents, data sets, multimedia files, and so on, for a defined period of time. Database archiving is usually seen as a subset of data archiving. Database archiving focuses on archiving data that are maintained under the control of a database management system and structured under a database schema, e.g., a relational database. The primary goal of database archiving is to maintain access to data in case it is later requested for some particular purpose such as a Freedom of Information (FoI) request. In fact, compliance with government regulations on data preservation are the main driver for the majority of current data archiving efforts. The term database archiving, however, can be problematic as it is used differently by different communities. The most common definition of database archiving comes from the business and government communities as is defined as 'the process of removing selected records from operational databases that are not expected to be referenced again and storing them in an archive data store where they can be retrieved if needed'. Following this definition, database archiving requires the active selection and appraisal of data records to ensure that those no longer deemed necessary for daily operational or reference purposes are moved to a separate data store for longer term retention. The data is maintained in the archive for as long as required based on legal or institutional requirements. If and when the data is no longer required, it is either transferred or destroyed.