Quality CDR media for archival storage?

  Diemmess 18:08 07 Jan 2004

My suspicions have become reality and recently found some of my "old CDs" are unreadable.
A recent thread quoted - click here
This is a review site which investigated the readability of various brand disks after artificial ageing.
Following that review, I have spent ages trying to find the high quality brands actually on sale.

Some of the best brand names are made by two different manufacturers, one is in the top bracket, but the other is in a lower quality (unreliable)list though still carrying the premium lable.

I cannot believe that most retailers are going to announce that their catalogued disks are "second rate" or worse, low quality, but if the price of "high quality" Kodak disks on the only site I have found is anything to go by, then some people are due for a shock when they find that precious data is now unrecoverable after 2 years sensible storage.

My question is what do you recommend as truly stable?

  Pesala 19:59 07 Jan 2004

In Burma they record valuable teachings by carving them on marble slabs. Stone inscriptions can still be read that were made thousands of years ago.

When cassette tapes became cheap and popular, all talks were recorded on cassette. They soon found that these deteriorated within a few years, so started transferring them back to reel-to-reel tapes. Now they are transferring to CD, but like you, I expect they will soon fine that tape is actually more reliable.

Tape backup might be more reliable than CD, but still not 100% guaranteed. Whatever media you use, the most reliable method is to make two copies, store them in different locations, and refresh one copy on new media every two or three years.

Statistically, though any media is certain to fail at some point, the chances of two copies failing simultaneously is approximately zero.

  Salinger 23:02 07 Jan 2004

"Archive" and CDR or especially CDRW are more or less mutually exclusive terms, similarly Video tape is prone to "print through". Storing on Hard Drives might be effective but who knows?

  Jonathan314159 23:28 07 Jan 2004

Is there the same problem with dvd? Either the commercial films you buy or the +R or -R you can burn yourself?

  Salinger 23:46 07 Jan 2004

Only time will tell, the vendors sure as hell will not!

  Diemmess 09:57 08 Jan 2004

Interesting answers from everyone....... I suppose I ought not to be surprised that no one offerred a source for the higher quality CD-R packs?

I have admit to being underwhelmed by the the RW scene. I would normally save to HD and if the file size is large enough and I want to pass something to a friend, it is by burning a CD or using a memory stick......... It is the downloaded application or data which I might just need a few years down the line............

The failures I have had were probably (sellers own brand) and part of a 50 stack.
I try and play it safe and burn at as slow a speed as I have time for. The burner verifies the finished disk and then I make sure I can read any selected bits.

It was simply the failure of a music complilation that brought on this posting.

  Stuartli 12:24 08 Jan 2004

Tape is not necessary the most reliable medium - if left unused for some time the magnetic fields can be affected because of the failure to spool the tape regularly.

Some DVD media brand names claim that their media has a lifespan of up to 100 years - how they know I don't know, but probably based on multiplying examples of media recorded some time back by the relevant factor... Storage methods will also play a key role.

The website mentioned by Diemmess does reveal the results of such tests and which are the top branded and rebranded CD and DVD media.

  Diemmess 11:15 09 Jan 2004

Am going to tick this to keep the place "tidy"

I am a sceptic over the reliable life of any of the usual ways of archiving data and agree that some are better than others, but none is perfect.

From the cmediaworld site (see first post)I have only been able to find Kodak disks from the High Quality list. ............ It seems that nearly everyone of the listed top brands - ALSO sell a medium or poor quality version under the same name, but made by a different chemical company which (that survey shows) makes only low quality disks.

Retail outlets certainly don't say (maybe don't know) which quality of the big names they are offerring.

3M seem to market only the high quality, but in a long search with Google, I couldn't find a retailer in the UK. Any other suggestions?

If you want a reliable storage medium for pictures you have taken, the best is 35mm film.If you want to save your audio recordings for posterity, then they should be put on vinyl discs.
I always thought these new fangled computer things were just a passing fad :-)

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