Departing from CLASSE: Data Preservation

Ideally, CLASSE employees should always identify computer files that their co-workers might need access to, and store these files where their co-workers can easily access them. This becomes especially important when someone is about to leave CLASSE. Before doing so, students and staff should work with their supervisors to identify important work-related files and emails that should be preserved for future reference. Completing the following checklist will help to ensure the continuity of critical digital information.


Please begin this process at least 2 weeks before your departure, in case you need assistance or there are many files to move. This is likely to be a labor intensive process, so reviewing this checklist in advance may help you plan your activities as you prepare to leave.

Computer Files

Make sure useful files are stored centrally

Following your departure, your work computer will be cleaned of all data and no one will have access to your files stored "in the cloud" (in your Cornell Box storage, e.g.). So, files to be kept should be copied to appropriate network storage, as discussed on DataStewardship.
  • Personal files should be taken with you on DVD, Flash Drive or external hard disk and then removed from your system.
  • Work-related files that are only relevant to you should be shared with your supervisor, either via the \\samba\user space if under 2GB or \\samba\tem or \\samba\tem2 if larger. If you use the \\samba\tem or \\samba\tem2, your supervisor should move them to permanent storage within 14 days (or else they risk being deleted).
  • Work-related files for a project should already be stored on the centralized (backed-up) project space allocated for that project. Inspect the files on your computer to make sure all local copies have been uploaded to this central storage.
  • Remember: desktop computers are not backed up. Once its disk has been wiped and the computer has been redeployed for someone else, any data that was left on it is gone forever.

E-mail and other University-provided IT services

Make sure no CLASSE business data or institutional knowledge is only available in your e-mail box.

Verify with your Supervisor what e-mails are actually needed for continuing lab business after you leave.
  • Ideally you would transfer the information and convert it to documentation in an appropriate system such as e-log, the wiki or other documentation system.
  • Attachments should be "Saved As" to files and treated as "Computer Files" above.
  • Export important e-mails to files using your mail reader's "Save As" function.
  • Forward important work related e-mails to your supervisor.

Making the transition away from University-provided IT services

Make sure your Supervisor knows where the digital data is.

  • Inform your supervisor where your work data is stored and explain how it is organized.
    • Perhaps write them an e-mail or a wiki page documenting what you have been doing, where the digital output of that is and what your workflow is.
  • Make sure to document how you did what you did, and how others would carry out the tasks using your data and processes once you've left.
Topic revision: r8 - 03 Sep 2014, MichaelRoman
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