Here are a few words from James who is in the middle of his internship on this project and has been moving his focus away from floppy disks and on to CDs within the office:
|Floppy disks - more robust than we expected!|
to try and discover what they contain, what is recoverable, what has duplicates saved elsewhere and what is important. Something that has been a big surprise to me, and I have found really interesting, was to discover that the floppy disks appear to have a greater lifespan than the CDs that superseded them. Out of the 97 floppy disks I’ve been through (most of these were from the 1990s) only one is completely corrupt. This is in contrast to the 62 CDs I have been working with (mostly from the 2000s) of which there were 4 entirely corrupt
disks. It just seems odd that the older technology outlasts the more modern."
So in our sample, the floppies have a 1% disk corruption rate whereas for the CDs it is somewhere around 6.5%. Is this typical? It will be interesting to see if this pattern continues as we move on to digital material in the strongrooms.
There is an interesting analogy from my colleagues who work on the conservation of analogue material within the archive. Apparently, the same is true of paper. Old paper is generally of better quality thus in a better state of physical preservation than more modern paper. I love it when my work on digital material finds parallels in the traditional archival experiences.
It just goes to show, they don't make things like they used to!