Paul Walker on 18 Mar 2014 07:08:33 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] How to Archive Data for 20 Years?

Bit rot anyone? The article use the same term to refer to data corruption, obsolescence, and the disappearance of source materials as a result of intellectual property concerns and licensing. The implications are interesting, however: let alone your tax documents in twenty years, what record will be left of this whole human enterprise in 1000?

On Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 10:13 AM, nick pitlosh <> wrote:
I've thought about this for years. The ONLY way to deal with it is to keep the data online. Offline storage will never get around the Heisenberg problem.

On Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 4:37 PM, Casey Bralla <> wrote:
On Tuesday 2014-03-11 3:53:57 PM Art Clemons wrote:

> Actually neither flash nor DVDs/CDs are really suitable for long term
> archiving.  The estimates on life by manufacturers of said items seem to
> not be reflected in actual results.  I refer you to the following url
> <>
> have DVDs I used for backup six or seven years ago, if I didn't have
> later backups, I'ld be in trouble because I get read errors on most of
> them.  I've faced similar issues with tape, hard drives and the like.

This is one of my favorite technical questions!

If you have __ANY__ type of data and you want to be guaranteed that you will
be able to machine-read it in 20 years, what media will you use to store it?

I've been using and building computers since the mid 1970's.   My first
programs were stored on paper tape or DECtape, both long gone.  8" floppies are
history, as are 5.25" floppies.   Even the 1.44 MByte floppies are getting hard
to find.   Store it on an MFM drive from the original IBM PC?  Good luck finding
a computer to read them on.   PATA/IDE drives are now obsolete, although most
motherboards still have the connections, but for how long?  CDs and DVDs are
popular now, but even if the media survives, will computers in 20 years still
have the drives?  Probably not.

IMHO, there is __ONLY ONE__ media that is guaranteed to be machine-readable in
20 years:  paper.

If a human being can read the data, a computer will be able to also.  Any
other media will have a technical life of about 20 years max.  Even if the
media survives, the hardware to read it will be obsolete and very rare.

So store those tax records in file folders and keep them in a cool, dark, dry


Casey Bralla

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