I remember that study.
It was in the late 80's and I was working in aerospace at the time. Such studies were interesting but as you found, tech moves on pretty fast. I see mrmacfixit has noted firewire from macsales so that's covered.
I see my memory is pretty good about the 80's at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magneto-optical_drive
If this was the common 650MB disc then you may have noticed those 8GB memory sticks over the last year selling for about 9.99. If I recall the MO media cost more than that.
Good luck in retrieving your content and if you need another clue, my friend has had some luck connecting these things to a PC booting Linux. Once on that he copies the content to DVD or memory sticks.