Central archiving service for research data at Heidelberg University

heiARCHIVE is the central archiving service for research data at Heidelberg University. The service is designed for long-term archiving of research data ("cold data'') - it is not intended for regular retrieval of archived data. In order to be archived, the data must be structured and supplemented with a specific set of metadata. There are several variants of heiARCHIVE, which differ in terms of functionality, e.g. in the number of copies kept, the option of geo-replication, the allocation of unique identifiers and the possibility of format recognition, validation and conversion.

This service is operated and continuously developed by the Research Data Unit (RDU). The RDU is a joint service institution of the University Computing Centre and the Heidelberg University Library.


Service status: Open pilot
The new heiARCHIVE archiving service is currently in its pilot phase. At this stage, archive data is already being stored securely and permanently. The technical features of the service are largely in place. The exact terms of use and service level agreement are still to be regarded as preliminary. The pilot phase, in particular, does not allow the archiving of sensitive personal data. The number of permitted 'projects', 'archives' and 'archive packages' is limited and can be increased if needed upon consultation. Metadata search, geo-redundancy, unique identifier assignment and format recognition, validation and conversion are not yet possible in the current pilot.

Once the final outstanding points have been clarified, heiARCHIVE will be launched into live operation. When this happens, the heiARCHIVE team will provide further information. Archived data from the pilot operation will, of course, be preserved. If participants in the pilot operation do not agree with the final terms of use or service level agreement, they will be offered the option of having their data promptly deleted.

Service launch schedule

  • 28.04.2023: Service launch of the pilot service for all users
  • 31.08.2022: Service launch of the pilot service for SDS@hd users

Information Events
Information events on heiARCHIVE are offered regularly as part of the Data Hour, in which the current status of the service and its features are presented and assistance is provided for getting started (see also linked slides).

In addition, further virtual information events on heiARCHIVE can be organised at the request of research groups.

Target group

  • University employees
  • Students
  • Doctoral candidates
  • Researchers


The service enables the long-term archiving of research data with the following features:

  • secure storage (multiple file copies, cross-site storage if necessary)
  • long retention periods (e.g. 10+ years)
  • metadata management with a search function
  • file format recognition, validation and conversion (optional)

Access and Requirements

To use the heiARCHIVE service, you need a valid Uni ID.

New users must first register for the heiARCHIVE service via the 'Sign up' link in the heiARCHIVE web interface, where you can also find more information on the registration process.

Technical information and funding

The data is stored on hardware (online storage, tape) which has been funded by Heidelberg University.

The development of this service was funded by the Ministry for Sciences, Research and Arts of Baden-Württemberg (MWK).

Frequently Asked Questions


Who can I contact with support questions?
Please send questions regarding user support to


Can data from SDS@hd be directly archived?
Yes, it is possible to directly archive data in an SDS@hd storage project. To do this, you must activate access to heiARCHIVE in SDS@hd management. This creates a new subdirectory in the storage project that serves as an inbox for heiARCHIVE. You can find details about this process in the heiARCHIVE Wiki.
How can archived data be accessed and what performance / waiting time can be expected?
heiARCHIVE uses tape technology for data storage, which is very suitable for long-term storage, cost-efficient and, in particular, very energy-efficient. Due to the technology, data access requires that it is first requested and read from the tape medium and transferred to online storage before users can access their data. heiARCHIVE has implemented a process for this that you can initiate from the web UI. You will then be informed by e-mail as soon as you can access the data. The associated waiting time between request and access depends on the data capacity (specifically: the smaller an archive package, the shorter the transfer time) and the utilization of the infrastructure (if many users request data in parallel, it takes longer). We expand the infrastructure as required so that the systems are scaled accordingly, i.e. expanded, when usage increases. We are in the process of collecting empirical values so that we can provide guidelines for the expected duration in the future.
May personal data be stored in heiARCHIVE?
It is currently not allowed to archive personal data in heiARCHIVE. However, this could change in the future - we are currently in discussions with the data protection department of Heidelberg University. If the status changes, we will inform all users.