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Storing Archival Data - Part Deux

Now that you've decided to build a real archive you need to
figure out where, both physically and technically, you're going to keep
it. In the old days, archival storage
meant hard copy.  From the dawn of the
computing age til at least the late eighties, storing digital data
electronically was both too expensive and too risky. After all, it was way too easy to screw up a
9-track tape as you threaded it onto a drive.
Now hard copy doesn't just mean green bar printouts. By the mid '70s, computer output to microform
(COM) systems were in wide use holding archival copies of financial statements
and other important reports. As user-created data like word processing
documents and emails had to be stored, tape and magneto-optical disks came to
the fore. Today most organizations have
moved to systems based on spinning magnetic disks -- but is that the right
choice? To answer that question, let's
start by looking at how archival data is different from active data and laying
out the attributes that make a good storage system for archival data.

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