The Relative Stabilities of Optical Disc Formats

Joe Iraci 1
  • 1 Senior Conservation Scientist, Canadian Conservation Institute, 1030 Innes Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0M5, Tel.: (613) 941-4991, Fax: (613) 941-4994

There is a lot of uncertainty about the stability and longevity of optical disc formats. Manufacturers of these products do provide some data to support the long lifetime claims that they make. However, there is also anecdotal information indicating short lifetimes for optical discs. This leads to confusion for individuals or organizations looking at possibly choosing optical discs for the archival storage of information. The purpose of this study is to help eliminate the confusion on the stability and relative longevities of optical disc formats. The focus of this research was not to determine lifetime values for individual disc brands. Instead, a variety of optical disc formats (audio CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVD movie discs, DVD-Rs, and DVD-RWs) were subjected to accelerated aging at 80°C and 85% relative humidity in order to determine if and how these formats degraded. In addition, a relative stability ranking of the various optical disc formats was determined.

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Restaurator is the only international periodical specializing exclusively in the conservation of library and archive materials. Articles examine the many important aspects of this subject area, such as technology, practical experience, and organization. They also address scientific fundamentals, including the development of new preservation techniques and improvements to established methods.