Caring for CDs and DVDs
Source: National Preservation Office, The British Library
Libraries, archives and museums hold a range of hand-held, portable media used to store photographs, text, audio and audiovisual material, games and
software as digital data. CDs (Compact discs) and DVDs (Digital Versatile Discs/Digital Video Discs) are probably the most common types of optical disc
found in collections. They may have been acquired as manufactured products (CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs) or they may have been created by individuals or
heritage institutions (CD-Rs and DVD-Rs). Sometimes they are attached to books or other printed material. The lifespan of data held on the discs is determined by the physical longevity of the discs and the redundancy of the machinery, hardware and/or software, needed to play them. The lifespan of discs is
generally accepted to be less than that of traditional library and archive materials such as paper and parchment.