How long will your digital audio last? – Song Director

Music Database Software for cataloging and organizing digital songs

Song Director will organize your music data files but how long will it last?

All digital storage media have a short life. This is
why digital preservation requires active manage-
ment, including regular migration of content from
older storage devices to newer devices.
The life of storage media are cut short by at least
three factors:
1. Media durability
2. Media usage, storage and handling
3. Media obsolescence

1. Media durability
Computer storage media devices vary in how long they last. The quality and construction
of individual media items differ widely. The following estimates for media life are approxi-
mate; a specific item can easily last longer–or fail much sooner.
2. Media usage, storage and handling
People have a direct impact on the longevity of storage media:
• The more often media are handled and
used, the greater the chance they will fail;
careful handling can extend media life,
rough handling has the opposite effect.
• Stable and moderate temperature and
humidity, along with protection from harm-
ful elements (such as sun and salt) helps
keep media alive.
• Good-quality readers and other hardware
media connections are beneficial; poor con-
nections can kill media quickly.
• Media that are not labeled or safely stored can be lost or accidently thrown away.
• Fires, floods and other disasters are very bad for media!
3. Media obsolescence
Computer technology changes very quickly. Commonly used storage media can become
obsolete within a few years. Current and future computers may not:
• Have drives that can read older media.
• Have hardware connections that can attach
to older media (or media drives).
• Have device drivers that can recognize
older media hardware.
• Have software that can read older files on
What you need to do
Actively manage your important digital content! Steps to consider:
• Have at least two separate copies of your content on separate
media—more copies are better.
• Use different kinds of media (DVDs, CDs, portable hard drives,
thumb drives or Internet storage); use reputable vendors and
• Store media copies in different locations that are as physically
far apart as practical.
• Label media properly and keep in secure locations (such as
with important papers).
• Create new archival media copies at least every five years to
avoid data loss.

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