We have had a few questions in the past about the longevity of optical media. For example:
Do pressed disks CD/DVD ROMS have longer life than CD-R/DVD-R’s?, which focused on the useful life of recorded data.
What is the shelf life of unused/unburned CD-R/CD-RW disks?, which focused on the shelf life of unrecorded discs.
There have also been several questions on options for long-term archiving of data in general, that touched on optical media.
I recently encountered a high failure rate trying to write to some old DVD-Rs from unopened packages. After a little research, it became clear that the shelf life of unrecorded DVD-Rs (and other recordable optical media) is much shorter than the archive life of data on them. However, I couldn't find an explanation of why that is the case.
I'm thinking about writing a question with three objectives:
- Alert readers to the fact that the media has a much shorter shelf life before use that the expected service life of data recorded on them.
- Ask what, if any, characteristics can be used to identify discs with a longer unused shelf life (e.g., media layer color or package terminology).
- Ask for the technical reasons why the unused shelf life is so much shorter than the service life of data recorded on them (that's what has me intrigued).
I think such a question could be useful. However, especially the last bullet might be viewed as more of a disc technology question, and potentially out of scope for the site.
Any thoughts about whether this would be on-topic (or other suggestions for the question)?