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Data Appraisal

Table of contents
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Subject area/Theme

Data and Architecture: Data Archiving


Short summary of Best Practice:

An archive should use a questionnaire to help archivists in appraising data that are candidates for archiving.

Explain why is there a need for this Best Practice?

Deciding if data must be archived or not must be the result of a rigorously conducted process. A questionnaire may be a supporting tool for this process.  CEOS agencies have experimented such a questionnaire available at :

Provide an example application(s):

Not applicable 

How widely deployed is this practice(if applicable)

Not applicable  

Source document(s):

CEOS WGISS Interoperability Handbook


Detailed Description of Best Practice

Not all data deserve archiving. For instance, an archivist may not want to archive data whose quality is questionable. But he may change his mind if it turns out that this data is unique and cannot be reproduced. The archivist may then archive the data with a flag indicating that the data quality could not be assessed.

The decision of archiving or not archiving data depends on the answers given to a number of questions about the data. Examples of questions are :

  • Are the data users known ?
  • Can the quality of the data be assessed ?
  • Is the data unique ?
  • Is the data documented ?
  • Is the archiving cost acceptable ?

There are tens of such questions. They may be caracterized by several topics, like compliance to the archive policy, thematic description of the data, data quality, restrictions ofuse, etc. It may therefore be helpful to gather all of them in a structured questionnaire for the use of archivists.

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