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On a reel-to-reel tape recorder (Sony TC-630), the recorder is data storage equipment and the magnetic tape is a data storage medium.
Data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative property, qualitative or quantity, quantitative variable (research), variables about one or m ...
storage is the recording (storing) of
information Information is processed, organised and structured data. It provides context for data and enables decision making process. For example, a single customer’s sale at a restaurant is data – this becomes information when the business is able ...

information
(
data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative property, qualitative or quantity, quantitative variable (research), variables about one or m ...
) in a storage medium. Handwriting, phonographic recording,
magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for magnetic recording, made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of plastic film Plastic film is a thin continuous polymeric material. Thicker plastic material is often called a "sheet". Thes ...

magnetic tape
, and
optical disc drive. (CD-R), showing characteristic iridescence. In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and de ...
s are all examples of storage media. Some authors even propose that
DNA The structure of part of a DNA double helix Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings ...
is a natural data storage mechanism. Recording may be accomplished with virtually any form of
energy In physics, energy is the physical quantity, quantitative physical property, property that must be #Energy transfer, transferred to a physical body, body or physical system to perform Work (thermodynamics), work on the body, or to heat it. En ...

energy
. Electronic data storage requires electrical power to store and retrieve data. Data storage in a digital,
machine-readable medium ISBN represented as EAN-13 bar code showing both machine-readable bars and human-readable digits In communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philo ...
is sometimes called ''
digital data Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware * Digital electronics, electronic circuits which operate using digital signals **Digital camera A digital camera is a camera that ...
''.
Computer data storage File:Maxell DVD-RW 4.7GB crop 20051120.jpg, A spindle of DVD-RWs Computer data storage is a technology consisting of computer components and Data storage device, recording media that are used to retain digital data (computing), data. It is a ...
is one of the core functions of a
general-purpose computer A computer is a machine A machine is a man-made device that uses power to apply forces and control movement to perform an action. Machines can be driven by animals and people A people is a plurality of person A person (plural ...
.
Electronic document An electronic document is any electronic media content (other than computer program A computer program is a collection of instructions that can be executed by a computer to perform a specific task. A computer program is usually written by a ...
s can be stored in much less space than paper
document A document is a written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities or Organization, groups t ...
s.
Barcode A barcode or bar code is a method of representing data in a visual, machine-readable form. Initially, barcodes represented data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines. These barcodes, now commonly referred to as linear or one-dimen ...

Barcode
s and
magnetic ink character recognition Magnetic ink character recognition code, known in short as MICR code, is a character recognition technology used mainly by the banking industry to streamline the processing and clearance of cheques and other documents. MICR encoding, called the ' ...
(MICR) are two ways of recording
machine-readable data Machine-readable data, or computer-readable data, is data Data are units of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and ...
on paper.


Recording media

A recording medium is a physical material that holds information. Newly created information is distributed and can be stored in four storage media–print, film, magnetic, and optical–and seen or heard in four information flows–telephone, radio and TV, and the Internet as well as being observed directly. Digital information is stored on
electronic media 200px, Graphical representations of electrical audio data. Electronic media uses either analog (red) or digital (blue) signal processing. Electronic media are media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communica ...
in many different
recording format 440px, A map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically). The lines are a grid, a method for dividing and containing recorded cartographical data. The land masses and oceans are cartographical data in a raw conten ...
s. With
electronic media 200px, Graphical representations of electrical audio data. Electronic media uses either analog (red) or digital (blue) signal processing. Electronic media are media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communica ...
, the data and the recording media are sometimes referred to as "software" despite the more common use of the word to describe
computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work. At the low level langu ...

computer software
. With ( traditional art) static media, art materials such as
crayon A crayon (or wax pastel) is a stick of pigment A pigment is a colored material that is completely or nearly insoluble in water. In contrast, dyes are typically soluble, at least at some stage in their use. Generally dyes are often organic co ...
s may be considered both equipment and medium as the wax, charcoal or chalk material from the equipment becomes part of the surface of the medium. Some recording media may be temporary either by design or by nature.
Volatile organic compound Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are organic compound, organic chemicals that have a high vapour pressure at room temperature. High vapor pressure correlates with a low boiling point, which relates to the number of the sample's molecules in the surr ...
s may be used to preserve the environment or to purposely make data expire over time. Data such as
smoke signal The smoke signal is one of the oldest forms of long-distance communication. It is a form of visual communication used over a long distance. In general smoke signals are used to transmit news, signal danger, or to gather people to a common area. ...
s or
skywriting Skywriting is the process of using one or more small aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters the force of gravity by using either Buoyancy, static lift ...
are temporary by nature. Depending on the volatility, a
gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being solid, liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an appl ...

gas
(e.g.
atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a layer or a set of layers of gases surrounding a planet or other material body, that is held in ...

atmosphere
,
smoke File:Wood Volatility Basis Dataset.jpg, Volatility distribution of volatile organic compound emissions in wood smoke. Smoke is a collection of airborne particulates and gases emitted when a material undergoes combustion or pyrolysis, togeth ...

smoke
) or a liquid surface such as a
lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a Depression (geology), basin, surrounded by land, and set apart from any river or other outlet that serves to feed or drain the lake. Lakes lie on land and are not part of the World Ocean, oc ...

lake
would be considered a temporary recording medium if at all.


Global capacity, digitization, and trends

A 2003
UC Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the tota ...

UC Berkeley
report estimated that about five
exabyte The byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It ...
s of new information were produced in 2002 and that 92% of this data was stored on hard disk drives. This was about twice the data produced in 2000. The amount of data transmitted over telecommunication systems in 2002 was nearly 18 exabytes—three and a half times more than was recorded on non-volatile storage. Telephone calls constituted 98% of the telecommunicated information in 2002. The researchers' highest estimate for the growth rate of newly stored information (uncompressed) was more than 30% per year. A 2011
Science (journal) ''Science'', also widely referred to as ''Science magazine'', is the peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self ...
article estimated that the year 2002 was the beginning of the digital age for information storage: an age in which more information is stored on digital storage devices than on analog storage devices.; free access to the article through here: martinhilbert.net/WorldInfoCapacity.html In 1986, approximately 1% of the world's capacity to store information was in digital format; this grew to 3% by 1993, to 25% by 2000, and to 97% by 2007. These figures correspond to less than three
compressed Compression may refer to: Physical science *Compression (physics), size reduction due to forces *Compression member, a structural element such as a column *Compressibility, susceptibility to compression *Gas compression *Compression ratio, of a co ...
exabytes The byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It ...
in 1986, and 295 compressed exabytes in 2007. The quantity of digital storage doubled roughly every three years."video animation on The World’s Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information from 1986 to 2010
In a more limited study, the
International Data Corporation International Data Group, Inc. (IDG) is an American media, events and research company headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts focused on the tech landscape. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese investment company China Oceanwide Holdings ...
estimated that the total amount of digital data in 2007 was 281 exabytes, and that the total amount of digital data produced exceeded the global storage capacity for the first time.


See also


References


Further reading

*
History of Computer Data Storage

History of Storage from Cave Paintings to Electrons

The Evolution of Data Storage
{{Authority control Data management Film and video technology Mass media technology Recording Sound production technology