Digital Storage Media

 

Look more closely at the way techniques for storing information have developed over the course of human history and you will notice that storage media are becoming increasingly vulnerable and ephemeral. Writings and images carved in stone have survived for millennia, paper for hundreds of years and films for several generations. By contrast, forms of modern digital media have a life expectancy of just two to 20 years.

Digital systems frequently include efficient error correction methods which accurately reconstruct content in the event of partial data loss and lead users to believe that their data is perfectly safe. However, if a defined number of errors is exceeded, the correction algorithms will no longer intervene and information can be lost completely unexpectedly. Typically users receive no warning that data loss is imminent – unlike with information stored in analogue formats where images and sound get degraded by noise or when paper gradually disintegrates over time. This dramatically increases the risk of losing unique content forever.

The objective should surely be to keep digital media for at least as long as paper.

What are the criteria for safe archiving?

  • Hard drive or tape system? Too vulnerable.
  • Film? Awkward and an expensive way to store digital data.
  • Online backup service? Too sensitive.
  • But what about good old CDs or DVDs? Even with optical media such as self-burned CDs and DVDs, there are reasonable doubts as to whether the service lives specified by manufacturers will actually be attained. The fact is that all discs tested show signs of age after a short time and can no longer be read.

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The only storage medium for reliable and safe archiving is the GlassMasterDisc!