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New ISO/IEC Standard Estimates Life Expectancy of DVDs

New York, May 13, 2008

As business and personal communications become increasingly digitized, the storage and preservation of information is evolving. Many organizations now rely on DVDs as a cost- and space-effective way of saving important records, as well as a convenient way to pass information along to customers and colleagues. A number of American National Standards ensure that these discs will perform as expected.

But once important information is stored on DVDs, how long will they last? The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have issued a new standard that estimates the useful life of DVDs. ISO/IEC 10955: 2008: Information technology -- Digitally recorded media for information interchange and storage -- Test method for the estimation of the archival lifetime of optical media provides an outline of steps that can be taken to predict the life expectancy for retrieving information stored on recordable or rewritable discs.

ISO/IEC 10995 covers the following aspects:

  • stress conditions
  • assumptions
  • ambient conditions
  • evaluation system description
  • specimen preparation
  • data acquisition procedure
  • data interpretation

The methodology includes the effects of temperature and relative humidity only, and does not account for additional environmental factors including exposure to light, corrosive gases, contaminants, handling, and variations in playback subsystems. It is expected that these factors would further shorten the retrievability of information on a disc.

ISO/IEC 10995:2008 was prepared by Ecma International and was adopted, under a special “fast track procedure,” by ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, Sub Committee (SC) 23: Digitally Recorded Media for Information Exchange and Retrieval. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) serves as Secretariat of JTC 1, and the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) is the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG Administrator to JTC 1/SC 23.

To learn more about ISO/IEC 10995: 2008, see the ISO news item.

Interested in learning more about JTC 1? On June 12, 2008, ANSI is pleased to offer a virtual course that will provide a dedicated overview of U.S. participation in JTC 1, including its development process and procedures. To learn more about the course – From Delegate to Diplomat: Representing the United States in International Standards Activities – or to register, view the ANSI Online news item.

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