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Research Services

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Research Data Archives

BC has an archive system for research data.  The system has a capacity of more than 50 TB.  The archive allows you to use a secure copy (scp) or secure ftp (sftp) client to transfer files the archive.   This is a manual system and requires you to copy files to and from the archive yourself.  For automatic backup of your BC owned Windows or Mac desktop or laptop computer, BC uses Connected Backup.

Getting an Account

The data archive is available to all faculty research groups at  Boston College.  It
is for research data.  Faculty members may request an account by sending email to  Faculty members may ask that accounts be created for students or other members in their research group.  Research Services can talk to you about your needs and set up the account accordingly.  For example, if  you have archive data that you want all members of your research group to be able to access.

Using the Data Archive

Data is stored and retreived using a secure copy (scp) or a secure ftp (sftp) client.  Clients are available for all platforms. For the Mac, Cyberduck works well , or you can open a terminal and use scp from the command line.  For Windows, WinSCP works well.  Filezilla is also a good scp client for Macs and PCs.  You can also use the Unix scp and sftp commands from a Unix system or from a Mac.

If you are using a client,  use the following:

Host (or Server):
User Name:  your-BC-user-name
Port: xxxxxx

You will receive the port number to use when the account is created.  You can save the configuration.  When asked to enter your password, enter your BC password.

Please be sure to select the sftp or scp protocol.  The ftp protocol will not work.

You will then be able to drag-and-drop files to and from your computer.

If you are using the command line, then to store a file on the data archive,

    scp -P xxxxxx file-name 

where xxxxxx is the port number.  You will be given the port number when you get an account.

You can transfer files and entire folders.


There is limited sharing that can be set up.  For those familiar with Unix permissions, the sharing is the basic Unix file sharing.  Files can be stored with read/write access to the user, read/write access to members of the group who have accounts on the system, and/or read/write access to everyone with an account on the system. 

Policies/Proper Use Guidelines

Users of the Data Archive are expected abide by the Archive Policies which include Boston College's Computing Policies and Guidelines


Files stored on the archive are backed up nightly.  Three backup versions of a file, two inactive versions and one active version, will be kept.  When a file exists on the system, the inactive (previous) versions of it will be kept for 30 days. If a file exists, there will always be an active version in the backup.  If a file no longer exists (it was deleted), we maintain one version for 90 days.  We can recover the active version if you accidently delete a file.  We can recover an inactive version if you make a change that you want to undo.

A copy is stored off-site so that it can be restored in the event of a disaster.


The name of the system acadhsm is taken from "Academic Hierarchical Storage Management"

There is a 1 TB quota.  If you need more space, send email to