>There is no answer to your question except the one that you determine. >For
archiving, the question is: How well is the disc written.

The Question (assuming the disc is well written) is "How long will the disc
remain readable (or recoverable).

>I find with current, quality media I can achieve that goal at 12x regularly
>and 8x frequently. If I must write at lower speed, I'm essentially out of
>luck since the last media I have which recorded well at that speed >passed
their shelf life and were tossed due to excessive errors.

so reasonably fast speeds are better than slower ones? This is essentially
what I was wondering. The faster and smaller things get, the more nervous I
am. I use a Masterlink for 24-bit preservation copies, and it gives me no
choice for the burning speed (4X). It also gives me very reliable copies.

>Note, too, that "certification" is of little value. Ultimately, it means
>that the manufacturer will replace a disc which you can demonstrate >failed
>because of write speed when you wrote within its limit. To the extent that
>replacing the blank - your data are not covered - is meaningful, the
>warranty is of value.

What if the disc shatters in my burner and ruins it? Would the CD
manufacturer be liable for damages, or would the burner manufacturer replace
it under warranty only if I was using "certified" media for the fast speed I
was burning at (if at all)?

>a few recoverable errors are quite acceptable for ordinary
>use and may even be acceptable for your archiving,

I guess the key word is "recoverable". I can accept "recoverable" errors,
but my question is "how long will they be recoverable?". Here I am basically
concerned with how soon I will have to migrate the collection. This question
applies to any medium I choose to archive in, be it CDR, DVD-R, Hard Disc or
wax cylinder. We're all searching for the perfect long-term storage medium.
We seem to be pretty close to the "perfect" part, but the "long-term" part
seems questionable. I am drawn to the idea of storing data on firwire hard
drives, but the idea of putting all that data in one spot is scary. If the
drive goes bad, I lose 200 Gigabytes, not just 700 mB. The CDR method seems
to be the accepted choice, as long as the format remains viable, but I was
somewhat shocked to see how quickly vinyl disappeared from the general
marketplace and became a "niche" market. The fact that single-well
standalone CD players are getting difficult to find doesn't fill me with
The problem we seem to be facing is that the technology we are using to
archive our materials is becoming more and more "delicate" and complicated
to replicate once it has become obsolete. If wax cylinders became the medium
of choice again, it would be relatively simple to tool up a factory to
produce players. With the miniaturization of components to the chip level,
none of us worker bees have the ability to "get under the hood" of the tools
they are working with. If your tool breaks, you replace it. And if the
people that make it go out of business, you're out of luck. We are all
banking on our technological developments as a society to continue and
develop. With the state of the world these days, I don't take that as a sure
bet. If our civilization crumbles, can we replicate the technology to
recover the information we have stored?
As archivists, we are primarily concerned with preserving audio material and
artifacts for future generations, yes? What is the best way to do that?