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Stability Comparison of Recordable Optical Discs - A Study of Error Rates in Harsh Conditions



Oliver T. Slattery, R Lu, Jian Zheng, Frederick R. Byers, Xiao Tang


The reliability and longevity of any storage medium is a key issue for archivists and preservationists as well as for the creators of important information. This is particularly true in the case of digital media such as DVD and CD where a sufficient amount of errors may render the disc unreadable. This paper describes an initial stability study of commercially available recordable DVD and CD media using accelerated aging tests under conditions of increased temperature and humidity. The effect of prolonged exposure to direct light is also investigated and shown to have an effect on the error rates of the media. Initial results show that high quality optical media has very stable characteristics and may be suitable for long-term storage applications. However, results also indicate that significant differences exist in the stability of recordable optical media from different manufacturers.
Journal of Research (NIST JRES) - of
Report Number
109 No. 5


archiving, CD-R, digital preservation, DVD-R, error rates, life expectancy


Slattery, O. , Lu, R. , Zheng, J. , Byers, F. and Tang, X. (2004), Stability Comparison of Recordable Optical Discs - A Study of Error Rates in Harsh Conditions, Journal of Research (NIST JRES), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 22, 2024)


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Created September 1, 2004, Updated March 5, 2009