1. Acronym for compact disc read-only memory. A form of storage characterized by high capacity (roughly 650 megabytes) and the use of laser optics rather than magnetic means for reading data. Although CD-ROM drives are strictly read-only, they are similar to CD-R drives (write once, read many), optical WORM devices, and optical read-write drives. See also CD-I, CD-R, WORM.
2. An individual CD (compact disc) designed for use with a computer and capable of storing up to 650 megabytes of data. See also CD, disc.
A compact disk that is used with a computer (rather than with an audio system); a large amount of digital information can be stored and accessed but it cannot be altered by the user; Also called: compact disc read-only memory.
(abbreviation for compact-disc read-only memory) Computer storage device developed from the technology of the audio compact disc. It consists of a plastic-coated metal disc, on which binary digital information is etched in the form of microscopic pits. This can then be read optically by passing a light beam over the disc. CD-ROMs typically hold about 550 megabytes of data, and are used in distributing large amounts of text and graphics, such as encyclopedias, catalogs, and technical manuals.
Standard CD-ROMs cannot have information written onto them by computer, but must be manufactured from a master. Although recordable CDs, called CD-R discs, have been developed for use as computer discs, they are as yet too expensive for widespread use. A compact disc that can be overwritten repeatedly by a computer has also been developed; see optical disc. The compact disc, with its enormous storage capability, may eventually replace the magnetic disc as the most common form of backing store for computers.
The technology is being developed rapidly: a standard CD-ROM disc spins at between 240–1170 rpm, but faster discs have been introduced which speed up data retrieval and research is being conducted into using multiple layers on the surface of the disc to enable much larger quantities of data to be stored on a single disc.
PhotoCD, developed by Kodak and released in 1992, transfers ordinary still photographs onto CD-ROM discs.
abbreviation for compact disc read-only memory: computer storage device using compact-disc technology.