Preservation (Media Storage)
It is a sad yet inevitable fact the various storage media used to store all of our favorite Movies and Music has a limited lifespan. Storage media such as (CDs, DVDs, Laserdiscs, Magnetic Tape, etc) have a finite life span and deteriorate with age even if unused (albeit at a slower rate)
There are however some “best practices” that can be help ensure the media remain enjoyable in the best condition possible.
(Laserdiscs CDs & DVDs)
• Recommended Storage Conditions are between 55–77°F (13–25°C) #1 and 30–50% RH.
• Store vertically in a suitable Plastic container with a non-damaging center hub #2 that protect the disc form dust and contaminants.
• Avoid touching the data/reflective surface of the disc #3
• Always clean discs from the inside out, never in a circular motion (To be safe all I recommend using is a high quality camera lens cleaning cloth)
• Do Not use Water or other Liquids on Laserdiscs (Laserdisc plastic is hydroscopic)
• Do Not use Windex or any cleaner containing ammonia on any Optical Media.
• Never leave a Laserdisc in the player; always storage it in a suitable enclosure.
#1 These are recommended values not the physical limits of the media.
#2 Original packaging for discs & DVDs, can be undesirable as the retaining hubs may be too big, making disc removal dificult.
#3 (Laserdiscs are double sided) avoid handling either side of disc, handle with center hub and the edges.
Video / Magnetic Tapes
(VHS & BETA)
• Recommended Storage Conditions are between 55–77°F (13–25°C) #4 and 30–50% RH.
• Store in a suitable Plastic container that protects the tape form dust, contaminants and mold.
• Avoid touching the magnetic tape itself.
• Avoid exposure to direct sunlight, magnets and liquids.
• Do not store tapes on or near electronic equipment or machinery, especially AC devices (as these can generate a damaging electromagnetic field)
• Avoid Using Contaminated Tapes, Especially those with visible mold as this will contaminate the player and thus can cross contaminate other tape.
• Never leave a tape in the player; always storage it in a suitable enclosure.
#4 Temperatures should not exceed 110° F (43° C) during transport.
The Preservation Self-Assessment Program (PSAP)
National Archives of Australia
Ampex Guide to the Care and Handling of Magnetic Tape