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Computer output to laser disk (COLD) was used to capture, store and retrieve large amounts of data such as loan records, accounting reports, shipping documents, inventories, customer bills and general business records.
COLD allowed for the storing of these records on multiple optical disks in a compressed yet easily retrievable format. It was meant to replace paper creations of these documents. The system is composed of both software and hardware.
The COLD management software allows documents to be sent to the system, much like printing, then it is organized for ease of access, compressed and stored.
The hardware consists of optical disk drives mounted on a unit referred to as a jukebox. COLD systems allow for automatically archiving documents at a scheduled date and time. It can also index documents in many different ways and periodically distribute the indexes. Newer technologies have rendered COLD systems obsolete now, in particular solid-state data storage systems (SSDS).
This term is also known as enterprise report management (ERM).
COLD systems are easier to work with than voluminous paper records. COLD system vendors advertise that millions of pages of paper can be stored in a single 5¼ inch optical disk.
Mason Grigsby is known as the father of COLD and promoted a name change in 2002. He maintained that it is not very relevant anymore, as a laser disc technology has been replaced by other forms of optical media and is only one form of document storage. Now the system is known as enterprise report management (ERM).