[Tig] Digital data storage (was something else)

Martin Euredjian ecinema
Wed Mar 9 13:38:04 GMT 2005

> Actually, digital archiving is almost exclusively the worst form of
long-term archiving.
> Kodak's photopix, supposed to be the ultimate, open-standard file format
has long since died.

Maybe you didn't read my post.  MEMS-based storage is coming.  Beyond-belief
ruggedness, reliability, speed, density, etc.  How does this make digital
storage "almost exclusively the worst form of long-term archiving".  To the
contrary, it will make it almost exclusively the best form of long-term

Don't confuse consumer junk with serious data archival.  The financial
industries, for example, dwarf, by far, the data archival needs of the
motion-picture industy.  You can bet that there's a serious approach to
safeguarding this data.  It may very well be that today this means
microfilm.  I don't know.  Nobody is saying that this is a bad choice today.
However, in the future?  Nah, it'll have to be digital, for all the reasons
I stated earlier.  There will be media that'll be able to store terabits per
square inch, rather than gigabits.  Benefit will be found in physical
volume, power requirements, access and duplication speed as well as raw
robustness and longevity.

If you care about the data you'll make sure that a system is in place to
make it last.  As an example, I have AutoCAD files from 1984.  Back then
they existed on 8-inch floppies.  As time went by I moved my digital library
from medium to medium.  Now it's on CD's and on dormant USB hard drives
(powered-down after backup operation).  Multiple copies are kept in
different places.  

In other words, the media is of no consequence if a proper approach to data
archival is taken.  With film it is about the medium.  With digital it
isn't, it's about the data.  The medium is just a state.

Ultimately it is the content owner that will have to decide how seriously
data archival needs to be approached.  Hopefully facilities are able to
guide their hand by highlighting available choices.

But, yes, if today you pick any contemporary data storage medium, there is
almost no doubt that it will not survive as long as properly handled and
preserved film.  If you think of data storage as being tied to a particular
medium forever, then, yes, it's the worst possible choice.  However, if data
will simply "lease time" on a medium until it can move to something
different, then, digital can be far superior, in all regards, to the

Martin Euredjian
eCinema Systems, Inc.
voice: 661-305-9320
fax: 661-775-4876
martin at ecinemasys.com
ecinema at ieee.org

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