The Economics of Long-Term Digital Storage

TitleThe Economics of Long-Term Digital Storage
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsRosenthal, David S. H., Rosenthal Daniel C., Miller Ethan L., Adams Ian F., Storer Mark W., and Zadok Erez
Conference NameThe Memory of the World in the Digital Age: Digitization and Preservation
Date Published09/2012
PublisherUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Conference LocationVancouver, Canada

Paper as the medium for the world’s memory has one great advantage; it survives benign neglect well. Bits, on the other hand, need continual care, and thus a con- tinual flow of money. A Blue Ribbon panel described economic sustainability as the major issue facing long- term digital preservation. This is despite Kryder’s Law, the 30-year history of the cost of digital storage media dropping exponentially. If economics are the major con- cern even when Kryder’s Law holds, what will happen if it slows or stops? We present evidence that it will, and some simulations of the impact on digital preservation costs.