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BEST Labeling for Archival Purposes?

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BEST Labeling for Archival Purposes?

Postby StuSegal on Thu Nov 20, 2003 9:20 am

I am committing some unique family records, photos & audio files to CD to preserve them for future generations.

Does anyone have any recommendations, or opinions, as to what would be the "best" way to label these CDs?

By "best" I am hoping to find a method that not only doesn't harm the CDs, but maybe even helps to protect them.

I stopped using paper labels some time ago, and currently use only Memorex Clear labels (mylar or plastic?), which I laser-print.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks. . . .Stu
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Postby dodecahedron on Thu Nov 20, 2003 9:40 am

the best is using NO labels.
just write on the CD with a CD marking pen (Sharpie-like pen specifically made for marking CDs).
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Postby cfitz on Thu Nov 20, 2003 10:03 am

The best labeling system (in terms of long-term archival safety) is no label at all. Use the serial numbers pre-printed on the discs' hubs to cross-reference to an external database. Obviously, this isn't very convenient.

The second best label is a hand-written label, using a CD-labeling pen, on the clear hub area.

The third best label is a hand-written label, using a CD-labeling pen, on the labeling area of the disc. Generally this is anywhere on the top of the disc, but sometimes discs have specific areas set aside for labeling.

If you don't like the idea of hand-written labels and are willing to spend the extra money for the printing systems and compatible discs, you might want to look into the ink-jet or thermal printing systems. I don't know, however, what effects these types of systems have in terms of long-term archiving.

Probably the worst choice you could make is to use any of the adhesive labeling systems. These labels can unbalance the disc, peel up around the edges, delaminate the top reflective and data and layers of the disc, corrode the disc due to chemicals in the adhesives, etc.

In any event, make sure to use high-quality discs, store them in cool, dry, dark conditions, and test them on a regular basis so that you can detect any problems before they become so serious that the data can not be recovered and re-written to new discs.

Depending on how valuable your data are, you also might want to make two copies of each disc, using different brands and dye types (e.g. one on TY-cyanine and one on Ritek-phthalocyanine or Mitsubishi Chemicals-SuperAZO) and store them in two different buildings. Recording on two different brands gives you extra protection against bad batches of discs or dye related failures. Storing the copies in different locations gives you extra protection against physical disasters such as fires and floods.

Here are some additional resources you might wish to explore:

http://www.itl.nist.gov/div895/careford ... /index.htm

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Postby CDRecorder on Thu Nov 20, 2003 7:09 pm

I, also, use no labels. I just label the packaging (jewel case). If I'm not making a long-term archive, I just write on the disc with a Sharpie marker, but I don't do that if I want to ensure that the disc will last a long time.
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Postby hoxlund on Thu Nov 20, 2003 7:17 pm

may i suggest a nice Brother P-Touch Labeler, its what i use, and the labels look very professional

this is the one i use, i bought it cause it hooks up to computer using USB port

http://www.advizia.com/brother/modelDet ... ch&Rnd=379
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Postby aviationwiz on Thu Nov 20, 2003 8:21 pm

I just label my disks with a Sharpy pen. If you want professional labels, just go and buy a cheap Fellowes labeling kit with full sized labels, an applicator, and all that fun stuff. Much easier than a P-Touch which was previously mentioned. Also cheaper.
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Postby StuSegal on Fri Nov 21, 2003 1:49 am

Thanks for your replies. After reading both replies and various CD guidelines you recommended, I think the best approach for longterm storage is to write an index number on the clear area near the center hole with a CD marker.

Probably not too practical for everyday music cd's, but should be fine for archival usage.

Thanks again. . . .Stu
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Postby cfitz on Fri Nov 21, 2003 3:04 am

You're welcome, and I think you have chosen wisely.

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