CDs are another wonderful technological tool for genealogists. CDs are compact disks that are able to store large amounts of information - the equivalent of 160,000 pages of text. For this reason, they are often sold with searchable databases of great value to genealogists. We are just at the beginning stage of this information revolution, the number of files available for research mushrooms month by month. Researchers today may purchase CDs with census, military, immigration, land, and family history information, just to name a few examples. Some of these CDs now come with scanned images of the original records, as well.. It's hard to imagine what we'll be able to access from home in the not-too-distant future.
To get a flavor of the CDs now available, see the CDs guide. For still more, read Mark Howell's excellent article about genealogical CDs. You may also want to visit Heritage Quest and Family Tree Maker to view a large selection of CD databases.
Another genealogical use for CDs is for sharing your own information. If you're an avid genealogist whose files have become too large for standard disks, or if you like to scan family photos and share them with others, CDs are a good solution for you. CD-recorders, now found on many computers, allow us to easily save our records and photos onto CDs. And as a form of insurance against computer crashes and other disasters, CDs offer a convenient and affordable way to be sure you won't lose all the data and images you've worked so hard to collect. Consider "burning" off your irreplaceable files onto a CD and keeping it in a place other than where your computer is located.