Hi all,

Feel free to disagree out there, but there has been longstanding agreement amongst digital preservation practitioners that there is NO long term archival storage media, nor will there likely ever be. We have entered an era where content (or data) and carriers have much different lifespans and are managed entirely differently. Storage media should be viewed as temporary. In the digital age, we are not in the business of preserving media, rather, it is the content that is the target of preservation. Ensuring that optical discs will be playable in 5, 10, or 20 years due to obsolescence, data rot, mishandling, and myriad other factors is not something that archives will want to be dealing with moving forward. They are highly unstable and their dependent technologies are quickly disappearing (the computer I am typing on does not have an optical driveÖ). Furthermore, it is very logistically challenging and time consuming to migrate data off of these formats, or to do any automation with these (unless you have a big disc library). Formats such as spinning disk and data tape, for their short lifespans, offer much more resiliency, store more data, and are much more accessible today, and easier to migrate off of. Which you are going to have to do, period.

The CBS story (and similar story on NPR on August 18) is primarily about dealing with legacy optical media. There are a lot of these things from the 90s and 2000s that archives and libraries have in their collections, and they will have to find a way to preserve the contents held on these discs. What these stories donít raise is that storing new content on any kind of optical media is highly unadvisable. 

This is just my $0.02, but I assume that the NSDA is fairly unified on this topic. Perhaps Iím wrong. In any case, I would not recommend gold DVDs or any optical discs for that matter, for the long or short term.


Kara Van Malssen
350 7th Ave., Suite 1605
New York, NY 10001
office: 917-475-9630 x 2

On Aug 28, 2014, at 12:59 PM, Allison Munsell <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi All,
Iím assuming Archival Gold DVDís are still the choice for longevity?
Allison Munsell
Digitization Specialist, Rights &  Reproduction
Albany Institute of History & Art 
125 Washington Avenue 
Albany, NY  12210 
T:  (518) 463-4478 ext. 424 
F:  (518) 463-5506 
[log in to unmask]
From: The NDSA organization list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Margaret Hedstrom
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2014 12:12 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [NDSA-ALL] Story on CBS News
Hi all,
Heard a similar story on NPR last week.
Great to see this in the popular media!
Except that it perpetuates the myth that not using labels or writing on CDís is the way to preserve digital information.  Were it so simple.
Margaret Hedstrom
Principal Investigator, Sustainable Environment - Actionable Data (SEAD)
School of Information, University of Michigan
(734) 647-3582

On Aug 28, 2014, at 8:43 AM, Kimberly A. Schroeder <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Good morning all!

CBS This Morning is currently running a story on preserving CDs.  They were at the Library of Congress lab and the story was titled "Destroy to Preserve".

It is not on their website yet, but keep your eyes open!  They gave some helpful hints about not using labels and not writing on CDs.  They also showed how conservators are testing longevity via aging tests.

Great to see this in the popular media!


Kim Schroeder
Coordinator, Archival Program
Lecturer and Career Advisor
Wayne State University
School of Library and Information Science
Faculty Advisor for National Digital Stewardship Alliance
[log in to unmask]
313 577-9783
Career Advising Page