Tracking Changes in Your Data Files

If your research involves more than one person, or if your data travels across multiple software versions and upgrades, then keeping track of changes is an important component of your work. As you think through how to track change, please keep the following issues in mind.

  • Record every change to a file, no matter how small, and describe it as you create the new version.
  • Keep track of changes to file content and structure.
  • Use good file naming conventions (see Organizing Your Data).
  • Use headers inside the files to record descriptive data about the files.
  • Keep log files.
  • Use version control software (e.g. Subversion, or SVN)
  • Where appropriate, use cloud-based file sharing software such as Google Docs, Office 365, or Amazon S3.

Turn on versioning or tracking in collaborative works or storage spaces such as wikis, Google Docs, or MyWebSpace.

Use versioning software such as Apache Subversion to automatically track versions of computer code.

Examples of versioning software:

If you would like help setting up file versioning, we’ll be glad to be of assistance; please contact us.