Standards body considers optical media longevity

— 2:42 AM on March 30, 2005

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is grappling with how to label recordable CDs and DVDs according to how long the media will last.

"Both recordable CDs and DVDs can be very stable and robust," the working group says on its Web site. "But, as occurs with many successful technologies, a multitude of suppliers have entered the worldwide marketplace with varying degrees of product quality."
Those using CD or DVD media for archival purposes expect a reasonable degree of longevity, but how long is enough? The DVD Association is attempting to find out with a short survey asking for input on the ideal lifespan of storage media. "Forever" may be the easiest answer, but the survey points out that "digital obsolescence and migration" may make long-term storage on a particular type of media impractical.
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