If you do use CDs or DVDs to backup your photo library – please read this.
After burning the disc, don’t label it. The top of the disc, NOT the bottom, is the most fragile part! Most damage comes from labeling the disc. The adhesives used in labels, and the dyes used in ink pens, are applied directly to the foil layer of the disc. If that gets damaged, you will be very unhappy.
I don’t put labels on my discs. I also don’t write on them. I simply put them into a sleeve or jewel case that has been labeled. Yes, the CD could become disassociated with the sleeve or case, but if that happens, I just need a second to read the disc to see what it contains. I can then resleeve and relabel it.
This system assures the best care of the fragile foil layerof the CD. But if you do apply a label to your CD, make sure to get one with acid-free materials. This will cost more but will last longer. Eventually, the adhesive will probably damage the CD, so make sure to backup your backup every few years as a precaution.
NOTE: I have tested several special pens and adhesives that claim to offer a safe alternative for writing on CDs, etc. These are long-term tests that I started in 1997. So far, none of those claims has been true and all the products I started testing are now off the market. Approach these products with some caution and do your research.
I always assumed that CDs and DVDs would last forever. But research shows that is not always the case. They might deteriorate in less than three to five years. So what can you do?
Remember that quality counts. Since you are going to trust these little round discs to hold your precious images, don’t skimp on quality. Buying the cheapest blank CDs and DVDs you can find may be the worst decision you make during your photographic career. These cheap discs can cause problems.
In my experience, I’ve found that the gold discs give the best performance. I am now using the Delkin Deviced Archival Gold products.
Why gold? Gold foil layers don’t oxidize. Oxidation is one of the downfalls of the cheap discs. They can become unreadable. Like anything else, you get what you pay for. Gold discs offer better quality control, are properly balanced and usually havean extra layer of scratch protection.
But backups shouldn’t stop at CDs or DVDs. Drive space is cheaper than ever. Consider using disk drives to hold your backups. Also consider online or tape.
I use a combination of Drobo for local backup, tape drive for remote backup (in this case in another state) and DVDs as well as redundant online storage for my really special images. I also have several copies of my photo library on another Drobo stored at my office.
What do you do?
This post sponsored by Lensbabies.