There are countless bytes of precious memories and critical data stored on optical discs every day but the average user has no idea just how sensitive the media can be. The following is an extract from the NIST’s Quick Reference Guide to optical media care. A good starting place to learn how to care for your optical media:
- Handle discs by the outer edge or the center hole. Do not bend the disc.
- 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.
- Do not touch the surface of the disc or use adhesive labels.
- Store discs in a cool, dry, dark environment in which the air is clean. Do not expose the disks to bright sunlight for extended periods of time.
- 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. Do not wipe in a direction going around the disc.
THE NIST LIST
The National Institute of Standards and Technology or NIST has researched the matter and publishes several excellent references on the subject of proper care and handling of CDs and DVDs. Following the link will direct you to the NIST Website where you will find Special Publication 500-252, October 2003, Final. This publication carries a wealth of information for use, storage and care of optical media.
There are no absolute assurances that information will always be readable on any media but much can be done to minimize data loss and the expense of recreating material lost to issues as controllable as improper storage or writing a title on the face of the disc just to name two. -33-