The methods used to store data on DVD-R discs have been proven to work over the last 15 years. However, there has been a growing concern that these discs will be outlasted by the paper records they were meant to replace. The data on a DVD-R is stored as optical contrasts which have the potential to be misread and even damaged. This damage may occur either on the surface or internally to the disc, especially on the recording layer itself. The literature is saturated with studies attempting to determine the time period in which discs may fail and what the general signs of the degradation are, but almost all fail to determine the fundamental causes of DVD degradation. In particular, the exact connection between the physical state of the disc and its digital errors is undetermined. This study undertook to develop a framework to study and understand this relationship. The study also consisted of a characterization validation experiment involving several brands of DVD-Rs. The framework constructed during the course of the research included several tools. Due to the lack of an existing tool able to aggregate the gathered data, a specialized software program, called SectorDraw, was developed. In the course of this study, this software tool was validated. Additionally, it was discovered that physical defects should be evaluated and characterized by using a process of visual inspection, microscope examination, and measurements. Although not all relationships between physical defects and digital errors were explored, the study established the fact that defects can directly cause bursts of digital errors. This indicated that there was a connection between physical defects and digital errors. It was also found that physical defects developed over time after treatments of artificial aging. The developed framework was established as viable for future research to study specific relationships between physical defects and digital errors.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Brian Saville, DVD, optical discs, degradation, framework, SectorDraw, Barry Lunt, Millenniata, Dr. Schwab



Technology Emphasis

Information Technology (IT)