One of the science fair entries I judged today was on the use of CDs to archive data and the expected lifetime. The students did accelerated lifetime testing at 80C to determine the failure rate of the cyanine dye on which is written the data. They didn't have enough time at 80C to detect any failures. Of more interest to me and
/. folks is conversations they had with people at NIST and the Library of Congress. The students learned that CDs lifetimes have greatly improved due to metal stabilizers being added to the dye and it is now reasonible to expect no degradation for at least 50 years if the CD is kept at room temperature away from bright light. They also were told that DVD-Rs are much more prone to degradation. Another tidbit they learned was the least reliable part of a CD is near the outer edge due to the fact that the dye is spun onto the CD and may not coat it as well there. My take away from this is that is probably a good idea to copy any older CDs with valuable data to new ones.