Jan Johnson
MultiPath Communications
(714) 633-4008


OSTA and Ecma International Announce Issuance
of Optical D
isc Archival Test Standard Needed to
Promote Archival-Grade Media

Major Milestone Achieved in Industry-wide Effort to Establish Global Standard for Optical Media Suitable for Reliable Long-Term Storage of Important Documents, Images and Data

CUPERTINO, Calif. and GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, July 2, 2007 - The Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) and Ecma International announced today the completion of their co-development work to issue an industry standard for optical media archive life testing that targets recordable and rewritable DVDs.   This standard will enable the industry to offer reliable archival-grade optical discs to help end-users select the media life expectancy best suited to their application requirements. The new standard was approved by the Ecma General Assembly on June 28, 2007, culminating an effort initiated in June 2006 in Sapporo, Japan, when Ecma International’s Technical Committee 31 agreed to finalize a draft standard developed by various industry participants working within OSTA. 

The document has been assigned the number ECMA-379, and may be accessed at the Ecma website for immediate review. Following this milestone, the standard will be transferred to ISO/IEC JTC1 SC23 under an established “fast track procedure”. The earliest anticipated ISO/IEC version is December 2007.

“We announced this collaboration a year ago. The rapid completion of this program can be attributed to the sense of urgency within the optical storage community,” said David Bunzel, President of the Optical Storage Technology Association. “End users need reliable media for secure, removable, portable storage of their important documents. Industry wide implementation of this standard will greatly assist them in their purchase decisions.”

“Ecma is very pleased to have facilitated this standard development designed to assist the market in clarifying differences in optical media quality,” said Istvan Sebestyen, Ecma Secretary General.  “The TC31 committee was formed in 1983 having its charter as the development of ‘Optical Disk and Disk Cartridge’ standards and has since been the preferred venue for this activity. Virtually all of the CD and DVD read only and recordable/rewritable standards have been developed in TC31. Its members are the primary players in optical technology development and therefore it was an ideal place for the development of this media archival life test.”

Manufacturers sponsoring and participating in the development of this standard included Fujifilm, Hewlett-Packard, Imation, MAM-A, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Ricoh, Sony, Toshiba, and Verbatim.  The committee received strong support from related industry organizations, including Japan’s CDs21 Solutions and the Digital Content Association (DCAj). Significant expert technical contributions were made by the editing team that included Drs. Mitsuru Irie (Osaka Sangyo U) and Kunimaro Tanaka (Teikyo Heisei U) under programs sponsored by CDs21 and DCAj, respectively.

“We at CDs21 Solutions feel fortunate that we were able to take part in this effort, where we were able to contribute our resources to the Ecma document with OSTA,” said Takao Ihashi, Chairman of the Steering Committee of CDs21 Solutions. “Media life expectancy was also a main project at CDs21, where many active members were those who brought recordable optical discs to market, and were determined to establish a standard for enhancing the value of optical media for all end users, and therefore the timing of our collaboration was perfect.”

Fred Byers of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) had this to say: “As a long time proponent of this development and an early contributor to the document, I am very pleased with the outcome. Optical disc applications are increasingly oriented towards long-life storage of computer and A/V data and this standard will help ensure that tested media will meet expectations.”

"I3A believes that archiving of digital images is an underestimated issue for the global imaging industry," said I3A's President Lisa Walker.  "We are very supportive of this proposal for a joint OSTA-Ecma standard for optical disc archive testing, which fulfills a critical consumer need to identify archive quality media to store their precious memories for the long term."

Victor McCrary, member of the National Digital Strategy Advisory Board (NDSAB) for the Library of Congress and Business Executive for Science & Technology at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory states, “this effort is an excellent example of government, industry, and academia working together to address the need for archival standards for optical media.  Preservation of ‘born digital’ media is of the utmost concern for many of the parties involved in the development of this standard.  I commend all involved for taking this important step in taking seriously the emerging global issue of digital preservation as its affects end-users at every level.”

Since its formation in Sept. 2005, OSTA’s Optical Disc Archival Testing (ODAT) Committee has consisted of a multi-national group of industry experts sharing this common goal. The ODAT Committee includes members of global manufacturers and representatives of optical storage products, university and government. 

About the Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA)
The Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) was incorporated as an international trade association in 1992 to promote the use of recordable optical technologies and products.  The organization's membership includes optical product manufacturers and resellers from three continents, representing more than 85 percent of worldwide writable optical product shipments.  They work to shape the future of the industry through regular meetings of DVD Compatibility, Commercial Optical Storage Applications (COSA), MPV, ODAT and UDF committees. Interested companies worldwide are invited to join the organization and participate in its programs by contacting an OSTA representative at (408) 253-3695, by fax at (408) 253-9938, or by addressing its Web site at http://www.osta.org.

About Ecma International
Since its inception in 1961, Ecma International (Ecma) has developed standards for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Consumer Electronics (CE). Ecma is a non-profit industry association of technology developers, vendors and users. Experts from industry and other organizations work together at Ecma to develop standards. Ecma submits its work for approval as ISO, IEC, ISO/IEC and ETSI standards and is a main practitioner of “fast tracking” of specifications through the standardisation process in International Standards Organisations (ISOs) such as the ISO and the IEC. Publications can be downloaded free of charge from http://www.ecma-international.org/.