News / Science & Technology

Digital Memories Won't Last Forever Without Tech Support

Digital Memories Won't Last Forever Without Tech Support
Digital Memories Won't Last Forever Without Tech Support

Tech geeks are divided over whether the new iPhone 4S was worth the wait. Whether you’re a fan or not, one thing is clear, smartphones and the memories they capture are here to stay. Or are they? Those digital photos, music and movies accumulated over the years may be more vulnerable to loss than you think.

Backing up data on a CD-ROM, thumb drive or computer hard drive is only a temporary fix, according to William LeFurgy, Digital Initiatives Project Manager at the U.S. Library of Congress, who says digitally stored material may last for as few as five years.

“There is no such thing as a permanent or archival computer storage media,” LeFurgy said. “I don’t know if these devices are designed to fail, but they certainly are not designed to last.”

Consider the huge number of documents and records that are stored digitally. By some estimates, the world now produces more than 30 million times more information per year than the information contained in all of the books ever published. Digital storage puts it all at risk.

Concerned about this, the Library of Congress in Washington regularly moves previously recorded digital material onto new media, in a sense, continually “re-dubbing” it. The library calls it “active management.” LeFurgy suggests consumers do the same at home.

Digital preservation experts say people should not simply store their digital media, but should think in terms of an ongoing archival process of re-recording those things they want to save.

To Protect your Digital Media

1. Choose quality blank media

2. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the CD

3. Store the CD away from heat, humidity and strong light.

4. Do not mark your CDs with ink or use sticky labels. The ink and the glue can leach through the back surface of the CD over time and corrupt the recording.

5. Use quality equipment when burning CDs

“When five years comes along, you should copy over things you value onto a new device or onto another piece of storage media,” LeFurgy said.

Consumers routinely back up their digital material by burning it onto CDs. But CDs are very vulnerable to damage and degradation. This is especially true of CDs or DVDs burned or copied at home, which are less stable than those produced commercially.

The Library of Congress has a website that gives advice about digital preservation.  It suggests people organize the material that they want to keep and make at least two copies, kept at different locations.

Is there hope for improvement in the storage media?

“We certainly hope someday there is something that can truly be an archival or long-term storage media,” LeFurgy said. “But there’s not a lot of independent testing that goes on to verify claims.”

LeFurgy advises consumers to take claims of longevity with a “grain of salt.”

“That doesn’t mean you won’t get lucky or indeed that a vendor has created something that will last a hundred years…but don’t rely on that as your only storage option.”

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid