Data Use, Technology, and Educational Leadership
Inspired by having recently covered transcription in my doctoral class, as well as by watching my wife struggle with transcription as a grad student right now, I’ve been offering some tips on the process. My first post was on leveraging technology. This one offers some recommendations regarding file management.
Name the audio the same as your transcript, with only the extension (*.mp3; *.docx) differing. That way they “stick together” in your computer folders. Using the same naming scheme allows files to sort themselves, and thus to show up paird. For example, “INT 12.5.9 The Hulk” would indicate an individual interview conducted in 2012 on May 9 with The Hulk. Focus groups might be named FG (e.g., FG 6.12.12 Teachers Clinton Middle School).
In terms of data storage, we all know we need to back up our data frequently. Solutions to this are readily Googled, but the general wisdom is to make sure that back ups don’t live in the same place as the originals. For example, keeping an external hard drive right next to your desktop is no good if your desk catches on fire. A fire-proof safe in another building is better. So are some cloud-based automatic back up systems, which leads to the next issue…
Dropbox doesn’t count. Although super convenient for most academic work, it’s not secure enough for research data. In fact, the last that I heard, we technically sign off ownership of/access to our Dropbox data to the wonderful people there. While the chances of audio clips or transcripts getting leaked out CNN.com are slim, we’ve been entrusted with by our participants to handle their data securely. We need to honor that. If you work in a university setting, there are an assortment of ways in which this issue can be handled. These range from secure server space (which you might access via VPN as just another drive) to the online version of a safety deposit box (lots of uploading and downloading to get anything done).
Anyone else have a favorite back up method?