We’re sorry to say it but don’t relax. Data rot is lurking.
“Data rot refers mainly to problems with the medium on which information is stored,” Dag Spicer, curator of the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley, told David Pogue of the N.Y. Times. People store things like photo albums in sweltering hot garages or moldy basements and they deteriorate or are even completely destroyed.
Electronic technology doesn’t guarantee preservation either. Remember reel to reel tapes, cassettes, 8-Tracks, Betamax, VHS, and floppy disks? Don’t expect current methods of storage to meet a different fate. Spicer says, “50 years from, now we're going to say, ‘We had these silver disks called CDs. And you you'd put them into a slot.’ And our grandkids will be laughing.”
So what’s the answer? The Library of Congress says that books remain the method of preservation most likely to survive the ravishes of time.
Said Spicer, “…consider paper as an archival medium. Some paper we have has lasted thousands of years. If Moses had gotten the Ten Commandments on a floppy disk, it would never have made it to today.”
For the full Times interview: http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/26/should-you-worry-about-data-rot/