National Archives of the Netherlands (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)

Storage and handling of optical media

The following handling and preservation approaches are recommended for optical media:

  • The packaging within which optical discs are stored must be completely free from hard polystyrene, polypropylene, polycarbonate, or polyethylene, all of which may release substances that can adversely react with the discs.
  • All used materials must comply with ISO 18925.
  • Optical media must remain free of dust and stored in dark conditions.
  • The most common form of packaging for optical media are square polystyrene plastic cases; these are also suitable for long term preservation.
  • Discs in dust-jackets or flexible plastic wallets that contain plasticisers should be repackaged.
  • Potential paper inserts that are not free of dust and which have an unclear composition of paper, a binding material (eg staples) and printers ink, must be stored separately.
  • Labels must not be placed onto the discs as plasticiers can dissolve the coating.
  • Printing or writing on any part of the disc that contains data should be avoided.
  • Blank sections of the disc may be written on, but the ink must be non-reactive. The writing implement must not scratch the disc. Select a location on the disc with no emulsion, for example the bright ring in the middle, and limit the inscription to a number of a code.
  • Beware of leaving fingerprints on the disc. This applies to both sides, though in particular the emulsified side: oily residues in sweat can cause a chemical reaction.