RE: Do Burned CDs Have a Short Life Span?

Subject: RE: Do Burned CDs Have a Short Life Span?
From: "Kevin Cole" <kccole -at- fuse -dot- net>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 02:40:51 -0500


This is from the most recent Langa List:

In a recent article at "", Kurt Gerecke, a physicist
and storage expert at IBM Deutschland, stated that the best
storage media for long-term was magnetic tape, with a life span
of 30 to 100 years. He also mentioned that CD and DVD storage
was usually good for only a couple of years, 5 at the best.
Hard drives, he stated, have limitations based on the quality of
their disk bearing.

Also see the more detailed discussion here:


Kevin Cole
Cole Consulting
Cincinnati, Ohio USA

-----Original Message-----
From: Al Geist [mailto:al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com]
Sent: Sunday, January 15, 2006 10:40 AM
Subject: Re: Do Burned CDs Have a Short Life Span?

Peter wrote:

>This discussion has hit a raw nerve. I am a serious amateur
>photographer who stopped competing about 25 years ago. About six
>months ago I rekindled my interest and started digitizing my old images
>from film and slides. The image degradation on the slides, which were
>stored in a cool area, is nothing short of appalling.
Kodachrome was notorious for fading, and the older Ektachromes (E2-E3)
weren't much better; although later versions (E4-E6) were a lot more stable
providing they were processed and stored properly. Nikon Coolscan scanners
come with several programs to clean up scratches and other defects,
including restoring color to older Kodachrome images. I used it several
years ago and it did remarkably well, but it does take a lot of memory.

>I am in the process of researching the digital storage issue and have
>so far concluded that if an image is worth preserving, saving money by
>using cheap media is counter productive.
I'm with you there, but like a lot of others, I didn't know about data
degradation when I first started digitizing my images and feature writing
efforts. However, I've learned a lot over the past couple of years. First,
never get rid of your image inventory or hard-copies of articles. Some
friends did and are now in the process of recreating them. Second, nothing
is permanent. I now have the date each data CD was created along with that
information entered in my image and article databases. I intend to copy the
older CDs onto newer media on a regular basis and not on the stuff that's
always "on sales for half-price." You get what you pay for......

>BTW: I like your images.

I sort of like them too... I also competed for a while and actually made a
pretty good living at it, but dropped out to raise my son and daughter as a
single parent and later move back to "America" from Alaska (20 years of 30
below winters and summers filled with mosquitoes was enough). My new wife
has convinced me to re-enter the game and I've found the old excitement
flooding back.

With Nikon's announcement that they are dropping most of their film cameras
from production and focusing on digital imagery, how will this affect the
permanence issue? As I read it, even the best CDs on the market have
longevity problems and no-one is sure of what the newer DVDs will offer.
Wilhelm Imaging Research (
has done extensive research on the longevity of photographs and photographic
quality ink jet hasn't done anything in this area (yet), so we may be left
with a situation where the camera's imaging abilities far exceeds the
technology to store it's output.


Al Geist, Geist Associates
Technical Writing, Online Help, Marketing Collateral, Web Design, Award
Winning Videos, Professional Photography
Office: 802-658-3140

Cell: 505-400-4128
E-mail: al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com <mailto:al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
URL: <> (online

See also:
URL: <> (fine art prints for
home or office and note cards for all occasions)

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Re: Do Burned CDs Have a Short Life Span?: From: Al Geist

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