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NIST/Library of Congress (LoC) Optical Media Longevity Study



Oliver T. Slattery, Jian Zheng


The Information Access Division (IAD) of the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress (LoC) agreed to instigate a detailed investigation of the longevity of recordable Compact Disc (CD) and Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) media. This report outlines the procedural details of that investigation for estimating the life expectancy of information stored in CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-R, DVD-R and DVD+R, as well as DVD-RW and DVD+RW discs. The test procedure uses accelerated aging techniques and statistical analysis to estimate the life expectancy (LE) of current recordable DVD and CD media. This report also includes details of a shelf-life test of recordable CD and DVD media, where blank media are aged artificially and their recording properties examined as the media is aged.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 500-263
Report Number


Slattery, O. and Zheng, J. (2005), NIST/Library of Congress (LoC) Optical Media Longevity Study, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created November 1, 2005, Updated May 21, 2009