NASA participated in the May 1998 annual meeting of the Special Interest Group for CD-ROM Applications and Technology (SIGCAT) as one of several federal agencies reviewing their use of CD-ROM technologies over the years. The meeting was held at the Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Marland, and the NASA talk was given by this author.
NASA's use of mass-replicated CD-ROM and write-once CD-Recordable (CD-R) disks for both data archiving and dissemination was outlined. NASA has created 85 sets of CD-ROMs, with a total number of unique disk titles of 958. With the major and long-term use of CD-ROM technology by the Planetary Data System (PDS), it was not surprising that about two thirds of the titles held planetary data. The largest number of separately identified sets of CDs, 40, was in the NASA Earth science area.
CD-R technology was highlighted in two ways. On the one hand, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and selected PDS nodes have produced a few copies of each of over 4,000 disk titles for long-term archiving. On the other hand, spaceflight projects are distributing data to their funded investigators on CD-R, with the ISTP project at Goddard Space Flight Center alone creating and distributing an average of 3.75 copies of each of 13,500 CD-R titles every year.
The presentation outlined some of the early milestones in NASA's use of CD-ROM and CD-R technologies, crediting Michael Martin and his team at JPL for their pioneering and on-going work. The presentation concluded with a demonstration of NSSDC's Planetary Images CD-ROM.