I think that most of us would recommend magnetic storage over optical for primary storage. Optical can be a good part of a backup plan, especially good quality optical like the m-disc or MAM-A. (I am pleased to see that the m-disc now comes in Blu-ray, which makes it more workable.) This has long been a pillar of 3-2-1 Backup (3 copies, 2 media types, 1 stored offsite.) It may also be useful for archived data, as long as one is mindful of the "tech debt" one is incurring in future migrations.

This landscape is changing, with good low-cost cloud and very high-capacity spinning disk, but "archival" optical has not yet become obsolete.

Magnetic media requires more frequent migration and verification, as well as a typically higher operating costs. 

I'd also point out that optical is a part of some very wealthy and sophisticated operations. 

In the last year Facebook has announced that it has built large cold storage on optical disc arrays.

And some people speculate that Amazon Glacier is built on optical storage.

Not cut and dried, I think.

In the end, storage is a process, not a place you put stuff. Optical can be part of that process.


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

Peter Krogh
Author, The DAM Book
Now available in PDF at
Multi-Catalog workflow with Lightroom 5 - Available now
Organizing Your Photos with Lightroom 5 - Available now