(+) How to Care for Aging, Fragile Paper, CDs, Magnetic Tapes, and Their Data Content

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.

CD-ROM disks, along with their higher-capacity cousins DVD and Blu-ray disks, are fragile methods of storing information. In short, these plastic disks are not suitable for long-term storage. Many corporations and non-profits are racing to get their data off the discs as quickly and safely as possible and into a more reliable digital storage environment. If you have genealogy information or any other information stored on these disks, you need to do the same.

For many years, the thought amongst genealogists has been to print the information on paper for long-term preservation. Yet, many of us have handled old pieces of paper that are decaying, crumbling, or fading to the point that the information is not readable. In fact, most paper manufactured in the past 75+ years contains acids that will hasten the deterioration of the information you wish to preserve. Add in the many problems of paper destruction caused by mold, mildew, moisture, insect damage, floods, fires, burst water pipes, and other factors, and you soon come to the realization that storage on paper is almost as risky as storing on magnetic media.

In some circles, the solution is to “digitize data so as to preserve it.” However, even digitizing requires some serious precautions and planning. Today’s common choice for long-term digital data storage is CD-ROM or DVD disks. However, that technology has only appeared in the past three decades; so, we do not yet know if these devices will store data for a century or more. Some studies indicate that the information may not last that long. In fact, there is proof that many CD-ROM disks may not even last a decade!

The remainder of this article is for Plus Edition subscribers only.

There are three different methods of viewing the full Plus Edition article:

1. If you have a Plus Edition user ID and password, you can read the full article right now at no additional charge in this web site’s Plus Edition at https://eognplus.com/2020/07/13/how-to-care-for-aging-fragile-paper-cds-magnetic-tapes-and-their-data-content/This article will remain online for several weeks.

If you do not remember your Plus Edition user ID or password, you can retrieve them at https://www.eognplus.com and click on “Forgot password?”

2. If you do not have a Plus Edition subscription but would like to subscribe, you will be able to immediately read this article online. What sort of articles can you read in the Plus Edition? Click here to find out. For more information or to subscribe, go to https://blog.eogn.com/subscribe-to-the-plus-edition.

3. Non-subscribers may purchase this one article, without subscribing, for $2.00 US. You may purchase the article by clicking herePayment can be made with VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, or with PayPal’s safe and secure payment system.  You can then either read the article on-screen or else download it to your computer and save it.

%d bloggers like this: