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Dan Koster, Web content manager for Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina, became a minor celebrity last spring when he reported that 15-20% of the 2,000 CDs in his properly stored collection suffered from what has loosely been called CD rot and would no longer play. As people entrust more and more of their valuable records -- everything from tax forms to family photos -- to digital media, the idea that those reliable-looking CDs and DVDs could be, well, less than reliable, is alarming. And history tells us that even if the media hold up, the technology needed to retrieve the files may not always be there. When was the last time you used a reel-to-reel tape player? Accelerated aging tests conducted by the Library of Congress and National Institute of Standards and Technology demonstrate that the poorest-quality CDs may last only four or five years; the best, more than 100. Consumers can hedge their bets by keeping hard copy printouts of valuable documents and uploading photos to online archiving services, but in the end, the simple truth is that nothing lasts forever."

- "Life has gotten even shorter in digital age," Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, 26 July, 2004.

Directory: http://www.larryblakeley.com/Articles/monthly_articles

File Name: edward_baig20040726 (1,557 words)

Post Date: September 27, 2004 at 6:15 AM CDT; 1115 GMT