Preservation (Media Storage)


(Sam) #1

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.

Optical Media
(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.

More Information:
The Preservation Self-Assessment Program (PSAP)
CLIR Publications
National Archives of Australia
Ampex Guide to the Care and Handling of Magnetic Tape
Plastics Technology


(ENNIOO) #2

Still have VHS tapes that play fine from 1980 / 1981.


(Sam) #3

Thanks for your comment @ENNIOO :grinning:
I also have some 80s VHS Tapes that play fine,
but I’ve also been give some that were stored in a moist environment that were full of mold :frowning:
I know a significant number of laserdiscs are now unplayable due to “laser rot” also.
All my DVDs and CD’s are holding up well (I try to take good care of them and not to scratch them)

How are others members collections holding up ??


(Søren) #4

Well my movie collection mostly consists of blu-rays now which should be more durable than dvds but honestly I do not check the condition of the disc apart from when a movie is to be played :slight_smile: For the most part I watch movies I haven’t watched before so the discs can have all turned to dust afterwards :slight_smile:

I do bag all of the releases that are in a box set or in a slipcase/cover though. Basically all the releases I have where the outer ‘layer’ is made of paper I bag. I squirm when I see people displaying their expensive collections and everything is out in the open. A couple of years later they will all have ‘shelf wear’. I am an old book collector and know the value of a flawless dust jacket so I may be damaged :slight_smile: