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Feb. 02, 2006



Digital Media Group (DMG)
Digital Physical Media and Device Project

NEW: December 9, 2004 - Stability Study of Optical Discs (pdf)

Our current focus is on DVDs

Our goal:

  • Work with industry efforts to improve reliability and interoperability with optical discs.
  • Work with US Government agencies' efforts in using optical discs as a storage or preservation medium.
  • Help anyone concerned with perserving data on optical media.

Our laboratory is equipped with the following:

  • Blue-M temperature and humidity environmental chamber
  • Parameter Generation and Control 30 cu.ft. T&H environmental chamber
  • Precision temperature ovens
  • Custom built light chamber
  • AudioDevelopment DVD-R/-RW PRO and DVD+R/+RW PRO analyzers
  • Audio Development, CD CATS SA3 Advanced CD tester
  • CD Associates, 1000P Pulstec SDP 1000 DVD analyzer,
  • Multiple brands of DVD drives
  • Multiple (about 1000) DVD-R/+R discs including several brands
  • Multiple cleaning and repair devices


DVD Compatibility testing
This study is in collaboration with the Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) and DVD Association (DVDA). A phase 1 methodology to test for DVD drive and media compatibility has been implemented and results show the variation within the existing market installed base of drives.

The result is available via NIST Special Publication 500-254, October 2003, or
Download PDF - 23 pages (753KB)

Phase 2 will focus on more current drives and include other variables.

Contact: Oliver Slattery, 301-975-4281


Care and Handling Guide for the Preservation of CDs and DVDs
A joint Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and NIST project.

Except for the cover and some of the introduction, the content in both the NIST and CLIR publications is the same.

Special Publication 500-252, October 2003, Final
Final PDF version - 50 pages (1.24 MB file)

Final PDF and Web versions available at CLIR's web site

Quick One-Page Reference from the Guide
1. PDF - 1 page (294 KB file)

2. Web version - 1 page

Contact: Fred Byers, 301-975-2909


Archival grade discs
Our goal is to work with the industry and user community to develop a standard methodology for determining archival quality grade discs. Part of our user community effort is working through the Government Information Preservation Working Group.


Date created: 2003-04-30
Last updated: 2006-02-02
DMG News
NIST/LC Optical Media longevity Study Progress Website