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Re: CDs, was DATs, Was Re: arsclist Duplicating casette tapes

I'm not jumping into the fray here and not lobbying for or against anything
in particular but--

On April 16, 2001 I took a Quantegy gold CD-R with audio tracks recorded on
it and placed it leaning up on a window sill here in northern Nevada. The
CD-R was thus exposed to full sunlight everyday, plus the full strength of
the sun's heat in summer and cold winter temperatures (not sub-zero because
it was on the inside of the window...). I did this as a simple real world
experiment, more for curiosity than anything else, to see how well CD-R
would hold up under intense UV radiation and fluctuating temperature
"extremes." A few months later, I popped the CD in a player and it worked
fine. I returned the disc to it's resting place on the window sill and left
it there undisturbed until today. Inspired by the current ARSC list
discussion, I just now took the same CD-R, blew the dust off it with
compressed air, stuck it in a Mac G4 CD drive and voila, it played fine--
at least, it recognized all the tracks fine. I haven't played it through
from end to end, just a few seconds of each track. Also, at the moment we're
not set up here to measure BLER so I can't say what's really going on with
the CD-R but we are now talking about a disc exposed to "elements" (some
anyway) for a year and four months (a winter and almost two summers) and the
information is still retrievable. Though not a scientific experiment, it has
certainly eased my mind considerably about the robustness of CD-R as a
storage medium/format.

I understand there are many variables in the manufacture and playback
compatibility of CD-R, so this is not conclusive in any sense of the word.
I'm just sharing something I found impressive.

Again, this is not intended as an endorsement of CD-R as a preservation
format since there is discussion in some circles about other options
considered to be superior or preferable. But I thought this report from the
trenches might interest some readers on the list.

Steve Green
Western Folklife Center

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