22 January 2010 Lifetime of digital media: is optics the solution?
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Abstract
While the short term and mid-term archiving of digital data and information can be handled reasonably well with modern techniques, the long term aspects of the problem (several decades or even centuries) are much more difficult to manage. The heart of the problem is the longevity of storage media, which presently does not go beyond a few years, maybe one or two decades in the best cases. In this article, we review the various strategies for long term archiving, with two main categories: active and passive. We evaluate the various recording media in terms of their longevity. We then discuss the recordable optical digital disks (RODDs) and the state of the art in this domain; the present situation is that, with the techniques that are implemented commercially, good prospects for long term archiving are not available. Nevertheless, the conceptual simplicity of RODDs could be exploited to create new recordable digital media; the improvements that are needed seem to be reachable with reasonable development effort. Since RODDs are now in strong competition with other systems (hard disks or flash memory for instance) that constantly make enormous progress, there seems to be little hope to see RODDs win the race of capacity; nevertheless, longevity could provide them with a new market, since the need for long term archiving is so pressing everywhere in the world.
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Erich Spitz, Jean-Charles Hourcade, Franck Laloë, "Lifetime of digital media: is optics the solution?", Proc. SPIE 7608, Quantum Sensing and Nanophotonic Devices VII, 760802 (22 January 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.848948; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.848948
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