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Back-up to the Future: Creating the Kepler/K2 long-term "living archive"
Rasmus Handberg (Stellar Astrophysics Centre, Aarhus University), A. S. Conrad (The Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark), M. Svendsen (The Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark)
What if something horrible happens in the future? Great Scott! Do we have a backup? Is a backup even enough? At the Kepler Asteroseismic Science Operations Center (KASOC) we have a goal that all data and information from Kepler and KASC is preserved for the future. The benchmark is that the data should be useful for, at least, the next 50 years. But how do we ensure that hundreds of terabytes of data is understandable or even readable in half a century? In close collaboration with The Royal Library we have created Data Management Plans, strategies and requirements for how such an archive should operate. Data is stored in formats that are easily readable by both humans and computers. Regarding the actual hosting of such a long-term archive we are currently in dialogue with national facilities in Denmark that can ensure its operation on timescales of many decades. The idea of the archive is to have a “living archive” where the contents of the archive is in continuous usage in active research, and new research results can be incorporated continuously and seamlessly throughout its lifetime. This is in contrast to the traditional philosophy of data archives where, in metaphorical terms, all research data is put into neatly labeled boxes and lock them in the basement for safe keeping. The archive is overall aimed at the researchers of the future who wants to continue to use the Kepler/K2 data in active research and discover new things we haven’t even begun to think off...