Vinyl Record

Compact Discs

When CD’s were first introduced in 1982 they were heralded as the new long term storage media for sound recordings.  This has however not proved to be the case with some early discs exhibiting disc bronzing (or disc rot) and some discs have been prone to failure.  In general a CD consists of a substrate, a data layer, a reflective layer and a protective coating constructed from polymers and metallics.  The polymers are subject to degradation and deformation.  A common cause of disc failure is a change in the reflectivity of the disc as a result of oxidisation, corrosion or delamination.  Some discs can fail because of deterioration of the polycarbonate substrate.

RISKS  CD’s are susceptible to damage from a number of sources.  They are easily damaged by moisture (humidity), scratching, mould growth, heat and light.

CONSERVATION PRACTICE  It is essential to monitor all forms of optical discs, including CD’s, for loss of data.  The equipment to do this however is expensive and often manufacturer based.  If in doubt the digital information should be copied on a regular basis to another digital format using direct digital bit-streaming techniques.

HANDLING  CD’s are designed in such a way that the reflective playing area does not reach the outer perimeter or inner edges at the disc centre and is `hidden’ beneath the main acrylic body material.  This is to minimise the risk of damage.  However CD’s should still be handled with care using cotton gloves by placing the thumb or finger at the centre hole and supporting the edge with finger or thumb.

STORAGE  Most jewel boxes give adequate protection although CD’s given away as promotional `freebies’ are often in cardboard sleeves.  These sleeves should be replaced with a more suitable jewel box.  Store vertically away from light and heat sources.

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