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Archival CDs and DVDs

Question : I want to archive my digital photographs onto DVDs, but I don't trust the fragile ones that I've purchased before. Which type of DVDs should I look for? I want them to last a long time.

Answer : Archival-quality writable DVDs are just beginning to appear on the market. Manufacturers such as Delkin, Memorex, and Verbatim have released discs specifically for archiving important data, including digital photographs.

Traditional CDs and DVDs use easily-damaged Cyanine or Azo dyes on the writable surface of their discs. Delkin and others are employing a new Phthalocyanine dye, which lasts significantly longer and is tougher to boot. Combined with more durable gold coatings, these disks generally carry life expectancy ratings of up to 100 years. Additionally, they are less prone to being damaged from typical handling.

Unfortunately, right now, you'll pay for the privilege of having disks that are more durable and long-lasting. At the retail level, archival single-layer DVDs are running anywhere from two to four times more than traditional DVDs. At that price, you may wish to consider making two copies of your data and storing one in a safe place where it's never handled.


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