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It is generally a good idea to start recording information about your data as early as possible, and ideally you should begin recording as soon as you start using or creating the data. If you wait until just before depositing to start creating metadata and documentation, it will be difficult for you to provide some pieces of information at all, and far harder to write most of the rest than it would have been at the time you were actually doing it. Assuming that you choose to record relevant details as you go along, it might be useful for you to start a formal log book of some kind. This way, it will be easier to find information later, rather than having to rifle through various old envelopes, scrap paper, and whatever else you scribbled on at the time. ADS GIS Guide to Good Practice

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Within this log book, it is normal to record such general details as the software you are using, the versions thereof, and the type of computer and operating system [...] you are running it on. GIS Guide to Good Practice

Information about where the data you use are acquired from is one of the most important things you can record whilst constructing and using a GIS. GIS Guide to Good Practice

The most important thing of all is to document the way you have organised your database and entered information into it! It is essential that source-specific information is recorded as and when data is generated, as this task becomes increasingly difficult retrospectively. Where did the source data originate from, what was the scale at which it was prepared, if based on others' work where can this be found, and what are the copyright restrictions involved in its use by a third party? What levels of accuracy were accepted and what errors were recorded during digitization etc? What data standards were adhered to (dated if possible, as revisions will occur) and what naming conventions have been adopted. GIS Guide to Good Practice

As well as recording information such as that suggested above, most of which will probably only need recording once when you start work with a data set, it is also extremely valuable to log the manner in which data are manipulated and modified. Not only does this allow you to keep track of — and back–track from, if necessary — changes you make to the data, but it also allows you and others to work out how data you lifted from your local Sites & Monuments Record, for example, and incorporated into your own GIS differs from those same records still residing in the SMR. Creating and Using GIS Datasets

Regardless, a number of factors are useful to consider when evaluating an archive, building an archive, or preparing for a project. Some of these factors are storage, backup, bandwidth, access and large or complex data, such as the result of sensory data scans. Storage and Dissemination