Wednesday, August 19, 2015

So what's up with the M-Disc? Part 1

So what's up with the M-Disc? Part 1. Chris Erickson. August 18, 2015.
     There have been a number of questions about the M-Disc lately and I thought I would add my thoughts (without my work records here to jog my memory). I've been working with M-Discs since about the beginning. Some background: In the late 1990's a department on campus dedicated to the preservation of ancient texts began using multi-spectral imaging on unreadable ancient documents, such as Petra scrolls, Herculaneum papyrus scrolls, and others. The master images they produced were stored on gold CDs since these were supposed to last 300 years. However, our annual checks on the tens of thousands of CDs showed a yearly loss rate of 2-5% (we had several copies of all the discs so we could refresh them as needed). Looking for a way to resolve the failing discs led to discussions with Dr Barry Lunt, who created the M-Disc with Matthew Linford and others. We have tested the discs since 2008-2009 and gave feedback to the company (Millenniata). The first large collection we created was the Herculaneum images, which we migrated from CDs to the M-Disc DVD in February 2010. I continue to check the discs periodically and there haven't been any problems with them. The discs have worked well for us.

Here are few of my early posts about the M-Disc:

Millennial disc guarantees data preservation. Logan Bradford. Daily Universe. September 15, 2009.
Barry Lunt, a BYU information technologies professor, will launch a product with the company, Millenniata, that produces a disc just like a CD or DVD that will last up to 1,000 years. He learned, through his seven years working for IBM in computer data, that data on CDs and DVDs would decay and be lost over just a few years because of optical discs’ ephemeral qualities, such as when they are exposed to sunlight and humidity. [We have been testing these discs and writers.]

Startup crafts DVD-Rs for the 31st century. Rik Myslewski. The Register. 23 July 2009.
The Millenniata company has developed a new DVD-R technology that it claims will be readable for 1,000 years. The Millennial Disc Series is designed to eliminate the need for governments, financial institutions, libraries, and others to regularly refresh and rotate their digital-data collections. The data is etched into a "carbon layer with the hardness of a diamond". It requires a specialized writer and discs [but readable on any DVD player]. The discs are stable from minus 100° to plus 200° centigrade, and are dunked in liquid nitrogen as part of the testing. These discs are one element of a data preservation strategy.

Millenniata continues to make progress with its patent-pending Millennial Disc and Millennial Writer. Press Release. February 2, 2009. This press release has information about a new optical disc that has been developed. It is designed to be a permanent archiving product that has no degradable components and “safely stores data for 1,000 years”. The technology makes a permanent change to the disc. It is referred to as Write Once Read Forever™ and can be read in a standard DVD drive. [check back for test results.]

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