The Economics of Long-Term Digital Storage

Appeared in The Memory of the World in the Digital Age: Digitization and Preservation.


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.

Publication date:
September 2012

David S.H. Rosenthal
Daniel Rosenthal
Ethan L. Miller
Ian Adams
Mark W. Storer
Erez Zadok

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Bibtex entry

  author       = {David S.H. Rosenthal and Daniel Rosenthal and Ethan L. Miller and Ian Adams and Mark W. Storer and Erez Zadok},
  title        = {The Economics of Long-Term Digital Storage},
  booktitle    = {The Memory of the World in the Digital Age: Digitization and Preservation},
  month        = sep,
  year         = {2012},
Last modified 28 May 2019