Archivists estimate the life of any digital platform to be less than ten years, sometimes less than five. All hard drives fail sooner or later, and they need to be run periodically to lubricate themselves. Tape degradation can be quite quick; one expert found that 40 % of tapes from digital intermediate houses had missing frames or corrupted data. Most of the tapes were only nine months old.
Moreover, hardware and software are constantly changing. One archivist estimates that over one hundred video playback systems have come and gone over the last sixty years. Archives currently recognize over two dozen video formats and over a dozen audio ones. —Observations on film art : Pandora’s digital box: Pix and pixels.
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