Digital projects can be challenging even once you think you’re done. If you publish a book or an article, you can count on it being readable for many years; if you make a digital project, it may not be accessible even a year later if you don’t maintain it properly.
From the beginning of your project, you need to consider how long you want your project to be used, and what you will do with it when the project ends. If your project is intended to accomplish a research goal, you may be able to get the results, write some notes or explanation of your methodology and process, and then not worry about maintaining your project. More frequently, however, you will need to plan for how to keep your project accessible for much longer, and sometimes you will need to make sure you can edit your project later with more information or expanded options. Be realistic about this; even a website will need updates every few years to keep up with technology changes and will need ongoing financial support to pay for hosting. Make sure you know how much money this will cost, and that you’ve designated who will be responsible for making changes and keeping your project up-to-date.
If you decide that a project does not need to be actively available anymore, but you want to make sure that the project is not completely lost, you can archive it. Archiving is a way of storing a project’s content and form for a long time, but with limited accessibility or functionality. When you archive a project, you will choose a format that takes up minimal space, requires little money to host or store, and that is likely to be usable by many different programs.