Agencies tout DVD's role in storage, training

Agencies tout DVD's role in storage, training

The possibilities abound for using DVD technology to store Web-accessible data and provide employee training, federal researchers and consultants said yesterday at the DVD 2002 conference in Gaithersburg, Md.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology invited agency representatives and producers of audiovisual training materials to demonstrate current and planned uses of DVDs in disseminating government data.

Nick Zihlman, a physical scientist with the Geological Survey's offices in Denver, uses DVDs to preserve and distribute historical seismic data from the National Petroleum Reserve in northern Alaska.

Nine years ago, when USGS was given the responsibility for maintaining the reserve's archival data, the agency acquired 12,000 antiquated magnetic tapes and thousands of pages of paper. The situation made it difficult for the agency to provide data to oil companies.

Zihlman and his staff first captured the data and documents onto CD-R and later onto DVD-R. Users can access the disks through a Web interface to a jukebox. The team was able to transfer the 1981 data from 35 CDs to three DVDs, Zihlman said.

For DVD to gain wide acceptance as an archival medium, agencies need to know how long the technology will last. Richard Harada, executive director of the High-Density Storage Association, and Oliver Slattrey, a researcher with NIST's Convergent Information Systems Division, described their joint effort to test the interoperability and reliability of storage hardware, software and media.

Other speakers focused on the role of DVDs in training and education.

Jeff Hammond, president of Copper Moon Digital of Arvada, Colo., and a consultant on Postal Service training videos, urged producers to design simple interfaces to assist employees who may not yet be familiar with DVD technology.

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