DailyDirt: Keeping Information For A Really, Really, Really Long Time

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The problem of storing digital data usually involves transferring data from an older format to a newer one -- with the hopes that the newer one won't be replaced as quickly as the older format it just replaced. Maybe some archivists out there like to go through this periodic technology shift and verify that the data we've stored is still readable, but wouldn't it be nice if there was a "store it and forget it" format? If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

Filed Under: archive, backup, data, dna, nanotechnology, self-assembly, storage

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 7:14pm

    "wouldn't it be nice if there was a "store it and forget it" format?"

    The CD-R originally claimed to be exactly that "store it and forget it" archive medium -- at least if we believed the promised claims from so-called "experts". My own personal experience has been that CD-Rs (at least the early ones) could not be counted on lasting for more than maybe 5 years or so, and after 15-20 years a high percentage were unreadable. And it wasn't just the ability to read those microscopic dots: some CDs even had the dye layer visible separated around the edges. The original claims of 100 or 200 year life spans for 'burned' CDs turned out to be pure bullshit.

    Although DNA can be extracted from the (non-fossilized) remains of ancient animals, it suffers the same problem as magnetic and optical storage media: degradation that leaves many "holes" in the archive. So there's no chance of cloning a woolly mammoth ... yet. Maybe sometime in the distant future someone will develop a way to combine intact (partial) strands of DNA from many different cells into one single complete DNA record, thereby making cloning possible.

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