The Economics of Long-Term Digital Storage
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 continual 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 concern even when Kryder's Law holds, what will happen if it slows or stops? The authors present evidence that it will, and some simulations of the impact on digital preservation costs.