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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Optical storage technology : applications and implications for archives Kovacs, Judith Susanna


Optical storage technology has advanced to the point where one can store megabytes and terabytes in a very small physical space. The use ofthis form of mass electronic storage has the potential to affect the way archives conserve, preserve, store and make accessible the records in their custody. Thus, it is important for archivists to understand not only the technology, but the implications of its use on traditional archival methods and practices. This study provides a description of the technology, conservation and preservation issues, and archival implications involved in the use of three optical storage systems: WORMs, Rewritables, and Optical Tape. Some of the technological, legal and archival problems associated with the use of these sytems by archival programs or institutions are discussed, and a few case studies involving the use of optical storage systems in archives are presented. This thesis concludes that, while there are problems associated with the use of optical storage systems as archival conservation and preservation tools, the advantages presented by these systems outweigh their disadvantages.

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