For the extreme longevity version of the Rosetta database, we have selected a new high density analog storage device as an alternative to the quick obsolescence and fast material decay rate of typical digital storage systems. This technology, developed by Los Alamos Laboratories and Norsam Technologies, can be thought of as a kind of next generation microfiche. However, as an analog storage system, it is far superior. A 2.8 inch diameter nickel disk can be etched at densities of 200,000 page images per disk, and the result is immune to water damage, able to withstand high temperatures, and unaffected by electromagnetic radiation. This makes it an ideal backup for a long-term text image archive. Also, since the encoding is a physical image (no 1's or 0's), there is no platform or format dependency, guaranteeing readability despite changes in digital operating systems, applications, and compression algorithms.

Reading the disk requires a microscope, either optical or electron, depending on the density of encoding and could be combined with an Optical Character Recognition system to read the text back into digital formats relevant at the time of reading. We are keeping our encoding at a scale readable by a 1000X optical microscope, giving us a total disk storage capacity of around 30,000 pages of text.

Embracing the archive principle, "Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe", we intend to create a version of the disk that can be mass produced and broadly distributed. Disk production costs are currently very high, however we are exploring ways around this, possibly using a different kind of disk material. For now, we are working on developing a limited edition disk prototype.

The Rosetta Disk

Fifty to ninety percent of the world's languages are predicted to disappear in the next century, many with little or no significant documentation.