(ROM) A type of data storage device which is manufactured with fixed contents. In its most general sense, the term might be used for any storage system whose contents cannot be altered, such as a gramophone record or a printed book; however, the term is most often applied to semiconductor integrated circuit memories, of which there are several types, and CD-ROM.
ROM is inherently non-volatile storage - it retains its contents even when the power is switched off, in contrast to RAM.
ROM is often used to hold programs for embedded systems since these usually have a fixed purpose. ROM is also used for storage of the lowest level bootstrap software (firmware) in a computer.
See also Programmable Read-Only Memory.