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Data Storage - Archival Storage

Data Storage - Archival Storage

What is the best sleeve material for archival use of DVD media?

We can recommend an archival sleeve, but first and foremost a better overall choice would be a case in which the disc surface does not touch any surface, like a jewel case or DVD case. A black DVD case is ideal in that it keeps light off the disc, as well.

If you require space saving sleeves for storing your DVDs and CDs for archival purposes, we highly recommend sleeves made from Tyvek. Tyvek offers features paper can’t in protecting your disc:
  • Tyvek does not scratch the disc like paper. Paper is much more abrasive. Think of using papertowels to wash your car.
  • Tyvek does not create dust, where paper does. It's always a good idea to keep dust out of your drive and off your disc.
  • Tyvek is not going to break down when it gets wet.
Other notes: Tyvek’s weight is much less than paper, which adds up when you buy a case. You will also want to avoid a sleeve with a clear window, as they can bond with the printed disc surface over long term storage.

So overall, Tyvek sleeves are much better suited for storage.

For more information on archival storage and labeling, click here.

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Can you send me information regarding the life span of CDs and DVDs? We are using CDs/DVDs to archive data.

The story on DVD and CD life span differs a little, so let me break it out for you. Some document links on shelf life are listed below.

CD-R life is determined by two factors, recording dye composition and reflective layer. Phythalocyanine dye has the longest shelf life, but the life can vary by manufacturer, so not all are created equal. Phythalocyanine is the dye that creates the "real cd" look many consumers and replicators look for, so it is used by many of the lowest priced manufacturers, who may not have the best formula or usage.
MAM-A/Mitsui CD-Rs use their own phythalocyanine dye, which they developed. Because of their dye material's strengths, MAM-A Mitsui gold CD-Rs feature a shelf life of 250 years, a fact that makes them archival standard. MAM-A/Mitsui silver CD-Rs have a shelf life of 100 years, still pretty nice. Cyanine dye CD-Rs (Taiyo Yuden) have a shelf life of about 30 years, but the bigger issue with Cyanine CD-Rs is the way they are impacted by light. Leave a Cyanine CD-R on the seat of your car, and you'll lose the content quickly. Leave a Phthalocyanine dye MAM-A/Mitsui CD-R in the same place and you'll find it much less susceptible to light damage. Any CD-R you use should be kept away from direct sunlight just to be safe. The story with reflective layer is simple. A disc with silver reflective layer is subject to oxidation, where a gold reflective layer is not. So any gold reflective layer disc is going to have a much longer life.

Unfortunately DVD Recordable isn't the same easy group of answers. Check with a manufacturer about why their particular DVD works best, and you'll get comparisons to their CD-R quality and broad statements about overall quality, which are hard to measure or prove. Right now the only two manufacturers that have done expanded work on DVD shelf life are Verbatim & Mitsui/MAM-A. The AZO dye used by Verbatim has specific long-life characteristics. The AZO dye shows lower error rates after 600 hours of aging, where the specification is below 280 hours. Mitsui/MAM-A claims are centered around the use of a gold reflective layer, with not research on the dye layer. No one has done more testing on the light sensitivity of dye than Mitsubishi Chemical, which is the parent company of Verbatim. Another aspect of DVD disc quality is the bonding agent, which keeps the two-piece DVD disc together. A DVD recordable is made of two thinner discs, which are held together by bonding glue. The ability of the bonding glue to resist breakdown in extreme conditions is a key part of the disc quality. We see many DVDs, which are damaged from impact on the side, where the impact separated the two discs, damaging the dye and reflective layer. Using a premium bonding glue can dramatically increase the performance of the discs in aging test. Tests have show the premium Verbatim product can again exceed over 600 hours of aging, while some media with one particular bonding glue showed increased errors at outer areas.

For information in pdf form on disc storage and handling click here.

For more information on the longevity of Mitsui/MAM-A Gold CD-R and DVD-R, click here.