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Data storage device

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Many different consumer electronic devices can store data.
Edison cylinder phonograph ca. 1899. The Phonograph cylinder is a storage medium. The phonograph may or may not be considered a storage device.
A reel-to-reel tape recorder (Sony TC-630). The magnetic tape is a storage medium. The recorder is data storage equipment using a portable medium (tape reel) to store the data.
Crafting tools such as paint brushes can be used as data storage equipment. The paint and canvas can be used as data storage media.
RNA might be the oldest data storage medium,[1] now replaced by DNA in most organisms.

A data storage device is a device for recording (storing) information (data). Recording can be done using virtually any form of energy. People have been storing data for thousands of years, by pictures and writing. Modern storage device may hold information, process information, or both. Most often the term is used with computers. Data storage devices can permanently hold data, like files.

Electronic data storage is storage which requires electricity to store and get back that data. Most storage devices that do not require visual optics to read data fall into this category. Electronic data may be stored in either an analog or digital signal format.


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An organic brain may or may not be considered a data storage device.[2]

All information is data. However, not all data is information.

Data storage equipment

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Any input/output equipment may be considered data storage equipment if it writes to and reads from a data storage medium. Data storage equipment uses either:

  • portable methods (easily replaced),
  • semi-portable methods requiring mechanical disassembly tools and/or opening a chassis, or
  • inseparable methods meaning loss of memory if disconnected from the unit.

The following are examples of those methods:

Portable methods

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Semi-portable methods

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Inseparable methods

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Recording medium

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A recording medium is a physical material that holds data expressed in any of the existing recording formats. With electronic media, the data and the recording medium is sometimes referred to as "software" despite the more common use of the word to describe computer software.

Ancient and timeless examples

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The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium.

Modern examples by energy used

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Photographic film is a photochemical data storage medium

Modern examples by shape

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A typical way to classify data storage media is to consider its shape and type of movement (or non-movement) relative to the read/write device(s) of the storage apparatus as listed:

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  • Bekenstein, Jacob D. (2003, August). Information in the holographic universe. Scientific American.[4]
  1. Gilbert, Walter (Feb 1986). "The RNA World". Nature. 319: 618. doi:10.1038/319618a0. S2CID 8026658.
  2. Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, 1950, 1953 pp:150-152, ISBN 0345342968
  3. Aaron P. Nelson and Susan Gilbert, Harvard Medical School Guide to Achieving Optimal Memory, Mar 2005, page 66
  4. Bekenstein (2003) foresees that miniaturization might lead to the invention of devices that store bits on a single atom.


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Other websites

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