We’ve talked before about the lifespan of various kinds of storage. A reader is especially concerned about photographs. “I do photography and have done photo shoots for clients…much of my work has been put on CD’s and video work plus photography on dvds. Will they be ‘workable’ to still be seen on a computer- in the future? They are a collection this is now 10-13 years old. I tried a few -they are ok. I’m concerned about preserving them.”
Great question! There are a couple of ways you could see problems. The first is the life of the storage media. In addition to CDs, I would suggest backing up those images in the cloud and perhaps also on a large external drive. CDs can degrade with age and use. More and more devices are being made without CD/DVD drives as well. Also, if disaster strikes, your CDs could easily be destroyed. Offsite storage can give you extra protection.
The other thing is that the file format you use could become outdated and difficult to access. If you require a specific program like Photoshop to open the files, you’re dependent on that program. If you’re using a common format like .jpg or .tif, you’re probably good for now. But it’s important that you keep up to date on changes in standard file formats. If at some point there’s a shift towards another format, you’ll want to make sure to convert those files.