CD and DVD Archiving
Did You Know?
- A CD-ROM is a very fragile product.
- A CD's normal life is 2-20 years.
- "CD Rot" can occur in both CDs and DVDs.
- The top side of a CD is more sensitive to handling and scratching than the "shiny side".
- Jewel cases that are plasticized can "outgas" and cause CD damage.
- A CD's life can be extended 40+ years with Archivalware® Jewel Case Inserts
Quick Reference Guide for Care and Handling
- Handle discs by the outer edge or the center hole.
- Use a non solvent-based felt-tip permanent marker to mark the label side of the disc.
- Keep dirt or other foreign matter from the disc.
- Store discs upright (book style) in plastic cases specified for CDs and DVDs.
- Return discs to storage cases immediately after use.
- Leave discs in their packaging (or cases) to minimize the effects of environmental changes.
- Open a recordable disc package only when you are ready to record data on that disc.
- Store in a cool, dry, dark environment in which the air is clean.
- 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.
- Use CD/DVD cleaning detergent, isopropyl alcohol or methanol to remove stubborn dirt or material.
- Check the disc surface before recording.
- Touch the surface of the disc.
- Bend the disc.
- Use adhesive labels.
- Store discs horizontally for a long time (years).
- Open a recordable optical disc package if you are not ready to record.
- Expose discs to extreme heat or high humidity.
- Expose discs to extreme rapid temperature or humidity changes.
- Expose recordable discs to prolonged sunlight or other sources of UV light.
- Write or mark in the data area of the disc (area where the laser "reads").
- Clean in a circular direction around the disc.
For CDs especially do not:
- Scratch the label side of a CD.
- Use a pen, pencil, or fine tip marker to write on the disc.
- Write on the disc with markers that contain solvents.
- Try to peel off or re-position a label.
General recommendation 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
- Temperature Less than 20°C (68°F)Greater than 4°C (39°F)
- Relative Humidity (RH) 20% to 50% RH
- 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.
*** From the National Institute of Standards and Technology's special publication of the care and handling of Cds and DVDs