I think it is a given that longevity must be examined for any archival
storage medium. Who knows what new and wonderful failure mode
technology will give us for solid-state storage??
One of the reasons I've begun to think about memory sticks (hopefully
I'll be retired before I have to do more than think about them) is that
it is increasingly difficult to find archival quality CDs. We have
strong evidence from the Canadian Conservation Institute (kudos to Joe
Iraci) supporting the widely held perception that "gold dye" CDs are
likely to survive aging much better than other types. Non-gold discs
appear to be not only shorter-lived than gold dye but frequently
We are now able to find only one or two reliable sources of gold dye
discs in Canada. Our practice has been to store two copies of audio
files on CD- one on each of two different brands of gold dye discs.
Prospects aren't good for continuing that approach.
The situation for DVDs, as Mike Richter noted, is unclear. We have used
Quantegy gold dye discs, but they seem to have been discontinued. The
only DVD designated as "gold dye" that I'm now able to find is made by
an outfit called 'MAM-A" www.mam-a.com. They make a claim for extended
We have had problems finding a reliable source for MAM-A products in Canada. That combined with the fact that there still seem to be
significant compatiblity problems with various media and players makes
it doubtful whether we will use DVDs for audio storage in the near
future- certainly not while we have access to good CD-Rs.
My hope is that by the time the CD-R supply dies up we'll be getting
free 10GB memory sticks in cereal boxes.
Incidentally, the real-world performance of gold dye discs looks good to
me so far.
I have about 200 Kodak Photo CD discs that were burned in 1993 to 1995
and given no special care in storage. I recently copied all 30,000
files from them with perfect results other than a section of one badly
Coordinator of Technical Services
Nortwest Territories Archives
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada.
From: mrichter /unix [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 1:21 PM
To: ARSCLIST /unix
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Audio storage on external hard drives
At 10:48 AM 2/23/2005 -0700, John Poirier wrote:
>3. I just bought a 1GB USB memory stick for C$120. This sort of thing
>is getting cheaper very quickly. How long will it be before they
>replace CDs as what I think of as a last-resort backup?
Last month, I paid half that for a 1.5 GB; I suspect that by now the
is even lower.
I would like to see data on life expectancy before trusting it to
though I recognize that it has none of the familiar failure modes. At
least, I would look for ECC if it were a primary storage device.
Last, I note that CD as backup has largely been replaced by DVD - less
expensive, faster and less bulky. Of course, there are even fewer data
DVD than for CD on longevity.
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