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One New Thing
Monday, May 17, 2004
One New Thing: How CDs get corrupted, and how to store them to best prevent data loss.

The Computer Help A to Z newsletter this week made a mention of how it is important to look after your CDs as they are more vulnerable than you might think. Chasing this up a bit, I came across this article, CDs and DVDs Not So Immortal After All. Turns out that the most vulnerable part of a CD is not the shiny bit, it’s the label side, which is separated from the aluminum layer (where the data is) by a bit of lacquer. If the lacquer is damaged, which can happen if the disc is stacked roughly or pressed on with a pen or if the manufacturing process wasn’t done properly, the aluminum can be exposed to the air and oxidation can render it unreadable.

NIST has this advice on the Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs: don’t use solvent-based pens or adhesive labels, clean disks in a straight line from the centre out, keep them in cases and store them (in a cool, dark dry place) upright rather than horizontally.

I’m not sure why vertical is preferable…this page on the Care of Archival CDs does say that if they lean sideways they may start to warp and they can only be used if they are flat…but surely they would be fine horizontally in their cases…?

Guess I might have to turn my CD caddy sideways later…

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