Where will your data be in 20 years?

Interesting session by Janet Horvoka titled ‘Will Your Work Survive the Digital Age?’ that asked a lot of thought provoking questions. Technology is changing so rapidly that none of us can assume that the digital formats or storage technologies that we are using are going to useable for very long. I learned that many CD’s begin to fail fairly quickly, and that even preservation quality CD’s have an expected lifespan of around 20 years. However, the chances of finding a CD reader that can actually read it in 20 years may be the real challange.

There was a lot of material presented that boiled down to these main points:

  • Keep your hardware and software current – this delays the day when your data will become obsolete
  • Do not depend on any single technology to backup your information.
  • Store your images in several file formats utilizing standard formats such as txt, jpg and tiff
  • Printing off and archiving a paper copy (using archival quality paper and ink!) once a year is not a bad idea
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