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RE: [AV Media Matters] CD labeling

>Please excuse if this has been covered before, but what kind of labeling do
>people recommend for the (non-data) surface of CD-R disks destined
>for archival preservation?  I refuse to use those stick-on ones--I've
>seen a couple of nasty messes inside CD readers when the glue broke
>down or just didn't work or whatever.

Sometimes the glue does not adhere properly in a humid environment
and bubbles appear in the label.  In these cases, do not try to peel
off the remainder of the label.  You will most likely pull off the
metalized layer and ruin the disc.

>The CD-R surface won't take such things as conventional ball-point,
>so I've been using a Staedtler Lumocolor permanent pen.  It
>takes to the surface, but I wonder how stable it is over time, whether it
>might flake or give off damaging gasses.

I've seen no definitive published data as to what ink formulations
may harm the surface of the discs.  There is a possibility that
writing on the non data surface may cause increased errors because
the writing can be seen through the disc.

>Mr Francis Good
>Archivist (Oral Records)
>Northern Territory Archives Service

There are several alternatives.  One is to put nothing on the disc
and hope that the discs stays with it's proper storage case with the
label information.  Another alternative is to use a burner that
supports CD-Text to burn your discs.  Up 5000 characters ( that's a
fair about of words) can be put in the space available. This way,
the discs always contains information about itself buried in the
data stream.  Yet another alternative is to use a thermal transfer
printer.  I don't know if the heat applied will cause any long term
effects and again the printing can be seen through the disc. The
printing process is slow but that should not be a concern if you are
in archivist mode rather than high output production mode. The
remaining alternative is use a printable disc (white surface) and
run the disc through a special ink jet printer.  This avoids the
heat issue but now you have to deal with the issue of the storage
life of these type of discs.  The ink also takes a long time to dry
and will smear when it first comes out of the printer.  It will also
come off if wipes with a wet cloth.

Name your poison and take your choice

Charles Repka

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