Future of CDROM, DVD, etc.

Jones, Brian Dr bjones at AGRIC.WA.GOV.AU
Tue May 2 08:36:17 CDT 2000

You are still missing the point.  My 78 records have "pits and flats" they
are already 70 years old and still quite sound.  The technology to read them
is rapidly being found only in museums. Without a turntable and stylus they
are useful only for flower pots.

Sure - we can transfer media from one form to another, fact is that there is
so much data (growing exponentially) that it is not possible to do so - look
at the problems in salvaging nitrate film.  Someone asked what I was doing
reading IBM cards in 1993 - It was a box of data literally found in an attic
and overlooked by those responsible for upgrading media.

The "dead sea scrolls" were written on papyrus and stuffed in pots, falling
to bits, they were still accessable and readable 2000 years later.  Should
we be consigning our primary taxonomic data to media which can only be
machine read, given that we have no control over the continued development
of the technology or its ability to read 'old' data?
I can imagine a funding request in the far future to build a machine to read
and decipher a binary encoded pile of crumbling 1990's discs with sombodies
life-work on it.

Brian Jones

Dr Brian Jones
Senior  Fish Pathologist, Fisheries WA
phone +61-8-9368-3649 fax +61-8-9474-1881

> ----------
> From:         christian thompson[SMTP:cthompson at SEL.BARC.USDA.GOV]
> Reply To:     christian thompson
> Sent:         Monday, 1 May 2000 10:25
> Subject:      Re: Future of CDROM, DVD, etc.
> Richard's point is about CD-RW, CD-R, etc., which use dye layers instead
> of
> being stamped out like records and have "pits and flats,"    Note well, we
> are ONLY talking about replicated (stamped out CD which have "pits and
> flats") as an archival medium which is recognized by the International
> Code
> of Zoological Nomenclature as VALID publication medium. The CD-R, CD-RW,
> etc., are not valid for publication under this Code because of the
> "numerous, identical, durable ... simultaneously obtainable ...copies"
> clause (Art. 8.1.3)
> Also, the points about ASCII, HTML and Adobe pdf are also critical. It is
> not only the medium, but what you put on it that is critical for
> long-term.
> On our Diptera Data Dissemination Disk, we do have databases in
> FileMakerPro
> with free run-time versions, BUT we also provide the data saved in ASCII
> text format as comma-separated values.
> F. Christian Thompson
> Systematic Entomology Lab., USDA
> Smithsonian Institution
> Washington, D. C. 20560
> (202) 382-1800 voice
> (202) 786-9422 FAX
> cthompso at sel.barc.usda.gov
> >>> Richard Zander <rzander at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG> 05/01 9:59 AM >>>
> And...
> PC Magazine recently has discussed compatibility problems with CDs. 2000
> Apr. 4 issue, p. 103: ""CD-RW's ... often cannot be read on even fairly
> recently manufactured CD drives. The problem lies in the nature of CD-R
> and
> CD-RW disks, which use a dye layer for storing information, rather than
> the
> "pits and flats" method of recording data in factory-produced CDs.... both
> CD-Rs and CD-RWs reflect less light than conventionally produced
> CDs...making them hard to read. Result: CD-Rs can be read by most CD
> drives
> but not by DVD drives. CD-RWs can be read by most DVD drives but not
> universally on CD drives, especially not on those built more than a year
> ago."
> And... PC Magazine Mar. 21, page 183: "A DVD-RAM drive can read almost any
> CD disk, though some drives may have problems with some times of CD-R
> media.
> DVD-RAM disks won't transfer to other types of drives as well as CD-RW;
> DVD-RAM drives can't write to CD-R or CD-RW media, and most DVD-ROM drives
> can't read DVD-RAM disks."
> I think problems with operating systems (my PC can read MAC formatted CDs
> using ARDI virtual Macintosh software, but can future systems do the
> same?)
> and degradation of particular media (hard disks, floppies, CDs) mean that
> we
> should (1) expect to transfer publications from media to media as
> technology
> changes, and (2) eschew using operating-system-specific programs to
> present
> data (e.g. type "install" at D: prompt). The absolute minimum expectation
> for continued long-term support from libraries for storing and making
> readable publications is ASCII, Unicode, HTML 4.0, and .PDF formats, and
> many graphics formats. Anything more than this (at the present time) is
> wishful thinking.
> Example: Flora Online was established in 1987 as an electronic journal for
> botanical research. It is archived through the courtesy of U. Kansas :
>    gopher://www.keil.ukans.edu/11/newsletters/flora.online
> Some of the articles are in plain ASCII text. They should be readable in
> 1000 years as the journal is (I hope) transferred to different media. Some
> of the articles are in Zip format, and some are of programs that require
> MS
> Dos to run; I don't expect any easy of access for these, but at least they
> will probably be around to amuse experts in ancient languages.
> ---------
> Richard H. Zander
> Curator of Botany
> Buffalo Museum of Science
> 1020 Humboldt Pkwy
> Buffalo, NY 14211 USA
> email: rzander at sciencebuff.org
> voice: 716-895-5200 x 351
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Guy Nesom" <guynesom at INTREX.NET>
> Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2000 2:10 PM
> Subject: Re: Future of CDROM, DVD, etc.
> > A neighbor here who is in the business of manufacturing CDs says that
> > read-only discs, made after ca 1990, have an expected life of about 100
> years,
> > based on estimates from various kinds of tests.  Those that can be
> written
> to
> > only once, as well as those that are "rewritable," have a life
> expectancy
> of
> > about 50 years.
> > Guy Nesom
> > Chapel Hill, NC
> >
> >
> > Kenelm Philip wrote:
> >
> > > > But it kind of makes you wonder if there could be some unknown
> defect
> in
> > > > today's CDROM's which might cause an escalating loss of electronic
> data
> > > > over time
> > >
> > > There are a number of _known_ defects that have turned up in some
> batches
> > > of music CDs, which eventually result in total loss of signal. The two
> > > major types are 'bronze corrosion', and 'milky clouding'. Both types
> > > take a number of years to destroy the readability of the discs. These
> > > defects (so far) have affected only a small proportion of the total
> > > production of CDs--but they should serve as a warning that CDs are not
> > > necessarily reliable longterm data storage media in all cases.
> > >
> > >                                                         Ken Philip
> > > fnkwp at uaf.edu

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