How long do you think CDs, DVDs should last?

A federal working group wants to hear from agencies about their recordable CD and DVD needs.

Late last month, the Government Information Preservation Working Group posted a survey on the DVD Association Web site asking agencies, 'How long do you want digital storage media to last?'

The group will share survey results with the Optical Storage Technology Association, said Olibhear Tadhg O'Slattra, a National Institute of Standards and Technology technical staff member who organized the group.

The deadline for survey submissions is May 31.

O'Slattra said the working group would like to see an industry seal of approval that ensures disks would last a minimum number of years. The group hopes the survey will convince vendors of the demand for such a standard.

The danger of using optical disks as an archival medium is that agencies have little idea of how long the disks might last.

NIST has done preliminary studies and found significant variations in the longevity of different media brands, O'Slattra said.

NIST is working on a set of testing guidelines that industry could use to estimate the lifetime of their media.

To take the survey, go to and enter 375 in the The working group can be reached by entering 376 in the

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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