Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Apocalypse Now or Orderly Withdrawal for CD-ROM?

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Apocalypse Now or Orderly Withdrawal for CD-ROM?

Article excerpt

Recently Hugh Bennett, one of EMedia Professional's contributing editors, returned from the DVD Professional '98 Conference bearing gifts such as half a ton of the information explosion in the form of trade literature and a shiny little disc. That turned out to be one of Pioneer's new DVD-Recordables, which has a capacity of 3.95 GB that can be recorded on your desktop.

That led to some speculation about how many 150-disc CD-ROM jukeboxes could be replaced by how few DVD units, and whose DVD collection was growing fastest. Clearly, a powerful new format has become available, and it is destined to eclipse CD-ROM over the next couple years.

How orderly is that transition going to be? Almost 15 years after the first CD-ROMs and drives appeared, we can now laugh at the original birthing pains. DVD is going to cause libraries far less misery than CD-ROM did (although it was worth the pain).

DVD drives read CD-ROMs just fine (faster than your present CD-ROM drive if it's less than 20-24x). The rewritable format question may look like a re-run of the VHS/Beta scenario, but is really not worrisome. Why? It will be a couple years before most libraries want to consider these; intercompatibility is not out of the question; not everything has to be absolutely standard and interoperable; and certainly the market will sort it out.

DVD standards issues are complex, but these are nothing compared to the early CD-ROM days. …

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