Digital Archive Reliability

5 pts.
Tags:
Data archiving
Data storage
Data storage management
Long-term Storage
Will a typical digital archive keep data authentic and useable over 15 yrs or longer?
ASKED: August 9, 2011  5:41 PM
UPDATED: March 31, 2012  7:02 PM

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While digital archive medai (i.e.: DVD) life spans range anywhere from 30 to 100 years according to many manufacturers, the bigger question is will the operating system and program used to read/write the digital archive still be available when you need it?

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  • Sunsetrider
    A few years ago, I was involved in a project which converted 'reel' tapes to cartridge tapes. We processed over 1500 units (some of which had not been accessed in 15+ years) and discovered that about 85% were readable. The 'unreadable' data was basically lost. I would recommend that every 10 years, all archived data should be re-created onto the current media of choice, to ensure readability as well as non-obsolesence. Part of the rational for converting the 'reel' tapes was that the data was encoded using tape hardware compression/encription, and the manufacturer no longer produced the tape drives. It was very difficut to locate and use these devices.
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