How well do you take care of your CDs and DVDs? I am pretty fanatical about it, figuring once it’s mine it’s mine and I don’t want to screw it up. I even have our 4-year-old pretty much down with the sickness: she knows to not touch the surface, to handle by the edges, to not put the disc down outside of its case – yes, I said “its case,” not a random case, but the case specifically created for that particular disc. Now if only the 34, 19 and 16-year-olds were as meticulous…
But enough about us, you think I’m anal, check out this report, “Care and Handling of CDs and DVDsA Guide for Librarians and Archivists” by Fred R. Byers for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Here are the key recommendations:
1. Handle discs by the outer edge or the center hole.
2. Use a non-solvent-based felt-tip permanent marker to mark the label side of the disc.
3. Keep dirt or other foreign matter from the disc.
4. Store discs upright (book style) in plastic cases specified for CDs and DVDs.
5. Return discs to storage cases immediately after use.
6. Leave discs in their packaging (or cases) to minimize the effects of environmental changes.
7. Open a recordable disc package only when you are ready to record data on that disc.
8. Store discs in a cool, dry, dark environment in which the air is clean.
9. Remove dirt, foreign material, fingerprints, smudges, and liquids by wiping with a clean cotton fabric in a straight line from the center of the disc toward the outer edge.
10. Use CD/DVD-cleaning detergent, isopropyl alcohol, or methanol to remove stubborn dirt or material.
11. Check the disc surface before recording.
1. Touch the surface of the disc.
2. Bend the disc.
3. Use adhesive labels.
4. Store discs horizontally for a long time (years).
5. Open a recordable optical disc package if you are not ready to record.
6. Expose discs to extreme heat or high humidity.
7. Expose discs to extremely rapid temperature or humidity changes.
8. Expose recordable discs to prolonged sunlight or other sources of ultraviolet light.
9. Write or mark in the data area of the disc (the area the laser “reads”).
10. Clean by wiping in a direction going around the disc.
For CDs especially do not:
1. Scratch the label side of the disc.
2. Use a pen, pencil, or fine-tip marker to write on the disc.
3. Write on the disc with markers that contain solvents.
4. Try to peel off or reposition a label.
General recommendations for long-term storage conditions:
For archiving recordable (R) discs, it is recommended to use discs that have a gold metal reflective layer.
Archival Storage Facility – Recommendation for storing CDs and DVDs together
Media Temperature Relative Humidity (RH)
CD, DVD Less than 20°C (68°F) 20% to 50% RH
Greater than 4°C (39°F)
A temperature of 18°C and 40% RH would be considered suitable for long-term storage. A lower temperature and RH is recommended for extended-term storage.