Do you regularly back up your genealogy data to a writeable CD-ROM disk? Computerworld has published an interview with Kurt Gerecke, an IBM storage expert and physicist who claims burned CDs only have a two- to five-year life span.
From the article:
"Unlike pressed original CDs, burned CDs have a relatively short life span of between two to five years, depending on the quality of the CD. There are a few things you can do to extend the life of a burned CD, like keeping the disc in a cool, dark space, but not a whole lot more.
"The problem is material degradation. Optical discs commonly used for burning, such as CD-R and CD-RW, have a recording surface consisting of a layer of dye that can be modified by heat to store data. The degradation process can result in the data 'shifting' on the surface and thus becoming unreadable to the laser beam."
Gerecke recommends magnetic tapes to store pictures, videos and songs. However, he avoids any discussion of all the problems with tape.
The full article is available here.