Digital Doomsday: The End of Knowledge (The New Scientist)

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“In the event of a disaster that destroys the vast majority of the world, humanity’s legacy will largely reside on data stored on hard drives. However, hard drives were never meant for long-term storage and no one can be sure how long they will last. The Canadian Conservation Institute’s (CCI’s) Joe Iraci says that although the most important data is backed up on magnetic tapes or optical discs, these formats cannot be trusted to last even five years. Iraci has conducted accelerated aging tests by exposing different forms of media to high heat and humidity. The tests found that the most reliable data storage devices are recordable CDs with a reflective layer of gold and a phthalocyanine dye layer. Many experts believe that after a major catastrophe only information that is written on paper will survive.”

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