If you think about it, just a few years ago, DVDs were sought out by everyone—film fanatics, developers and IT professionals – since it was hailed as one of the most indestructible devices to store data.
Well, the golden days are over. Thanks to a handy device we always keep on our office desks, dashboards, dorm rooms and living rooms, the DVD is slowly becoming obsolete. It is being replaced by a multitude of new technological advancements: USB Flash Drives, external hard drives, and cloud storage. The shift of device usage from computers to laptops (and its lightweight companion: the smartphone) also made DVDs feel bulky. From downloading movies to listening to music, to even installing operating systems—these can be done on the fly through the Internet.
If you think your CDs and DVDs can outlive you: think again! This isn’t the ‘80s, and a lot of people who have stored CDs at their very best didn’t really succeed: they found “rots” in their CDs, aside from unwanted scratches. Though it beats vinyl and tape when it comes to longevity, we found out, after twenty years or so of solid dependency, that CDs will always be subjected to eventual gradual deterioration. Companies manufacturing CDs used its sheer sturdiness as a selling point, and as the reason why it is expensive.
How can you lessen the chance of your CDs rotting away? Read on the do’s and don’ts of maintaining and extending your disc’s longevity:
1. Like wine, discs should be stored in a dry, cool place. Refrain from storing them near direct sunlight or in enclosed rooms that can be subjected to extreme temperatures during summer and winter seasons.
2. Refrain from forcing or bending a DVD out of its hard-gripping case. Flexing the disc puts strain on the glue, and may render the disc unreadable.
3. Keep them carefully in sleeves of padded binders, and put labels not on the CD but on the sleeves. When left out in the open, dust particles and scratches can build up on the CD’s surface. This will lead to the disc to freeze, skip or become totally useless. There are other alternatives to padded binders as well, ranging from the cheap to the costly, depending on the budget as well as the capacity. Some binders can store up to 100 CDs, while others can even store up to 700 CDs—enough to actually store your entire life’s worth of DVD collection.
4. Do not store two CDs in a single sleeve, as this will cause abrasion on both discs. As much as possible, try to store them in individual sleeves or cases.
5. It is recommended that you store CDs vertically as they can be warped when stored while lying flat on its sensitive data surface. Try to keep them in binders and arrange them side by side with books.
6. There are four commonly used cases for protecting your CDs: the jewel case, the slim line case, the amaray case, and the snapper case. Choose the case which suits you and the available space in your room and store your CDs in reseal able plastic bags or trays to provide additional defense against dust particles and scratches.
7. be careful in removing CDs from their cases. CDs are prone to flexing when being removed from their jewel cases, for example.
8. In handling the CDs you treasure the most, go for the extra mile! Fingerprints, smudges, scratches, dirt, dust, solvents, moisture and any other foreign material can render your CD useless. Use gloves or any similar device whenever you store them inside those sleeves. You can also use microfiber towels in removing fingerprints on your CD surfaces.
9. In case you’re loaning CDs, be sure not to label them with adhesive tapes, markers or Post-Its. These labels could delaminate over time and might render your CD unreadable. When peeled off, it will cause damage to the sensitive layers of the CD. Worse, it can cause imbalance in the spin of the disc when used in a CD player, for example. In arranging your CDs alphabetically, or by genre, label the CD sleeve/case instead.
10. Though it has been a common trend to give out CDs as souvenirs and such, if possible, refrain from printing labels directly onto your CD. This will also affect your CD’s performance and, in the long run, its longevity as well.
11. Just in case accidents happen, like if your CD collection is subjected to wildfires, or thrown to the dogs, make it a point that you digitize it with the help of cloud storage. At least you still have its contents, and can still access it anytime, anywhere.