Many companies and organizations that have CAD files or design work in digital form are considering leaving the data in digital form for permanent storage. In fact some organizations are taking paper drawings and turning them into digital files for archiving. If either of these scenarios describes your organization, you may want to reconsider.
The September 2009 edition of Popular Mechanics had a great article about data storage and the digital age. In fact the article is entitled, “The Digital Ice Age” and warns of data loss and data files becoming corrupted. The article also touches on the issues of system compatibility and obsolescence. This is a true reality for many CAD users who have older CAD files that can not be accessed with their current software.
Another great article about digital data storage can be found on Bloomberg Business Week. Entitled “Data Storage: From Digits To Dust”, the author discusses the unreliable nature of many of the modern, digital data storage methods such as tape and CD-ROMs. The article is especially interesting because it points out some actual digital data loss cases such as NASA’s 1979 Viking mission to Mars. Although the digital data from this important space program was carefully stored and appeared in good shape, in fact much of the data was gone.
Until someone comes up with a digital storage media as reliable and long lasting as quality paper, maybe filing your designs and drawings in an Ulrich file is the best backup!