30 years

CD-ROM - Slim but powerful

Invented by Philips Telecommunications and Data Systems in 1984, CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read-Only Memory) technology uses high capacity optical disks to store written information. The discs, identical to the better known audio disc, are wafer thin and weigh just 16 grams. One disc can hold the equivalent of 330,000 typewritten pages, or 1900 single-sided floppy discs, stored in digital electronic form.

At the time of the CTA-KIT project, the equipment needed to read a CD-ROM included a computer, a CD-ROM player, a display monitor and special software. While the data on the compact disc itself could not be altered, the information could be transferred to computer memory and then manipulated.

CD-Rom being used

The addition of a printer and photocopier enabled the information to be disseminated more widely.

One advantage of the technology was that, unlike paper or microfiche, the lightweight discs were not prone to damage from dust, humidity, fungi or insects. They could also be read a great many times by different users, at no extra cost.