Yesterday, the CBS Sunday Morning Show aired an 8 minute segment that discussed “data rot”. It seems ironic that while we’re able to read the stories of ancient peoples who carved in stone, we’re unable to read from magnetic tape and disks that are only a few decades old.
One moral: If your data resides on CD-ROMs or DVDs, don’t think that it’ll last forever. After only five years, I’ve seen CD-ROMs with 1/8 inch holes in their metallic substrates — that’s missing data. A wise archiving scheme employs different kinds of media: magnetic tape, magnetic disk, optical disk (CD-ROMs and DVDs), flash ram, and Internet data storage services such as Carbonite. That way, if (or rather, when) you’re unable to restore from one storage medium, you can restore from another.