Do not touch the playing surface/s of any recording.
Clean hands before handling recordings.
Handle all grooved discs (78s, 45s, LPs, and acetate discs) by their edge and label areas only. Handle compact discs by outer edge and center hole only.
Tape (Open Reels)
Handle by the outer edge of the reel flanges and center hub areas only. Do not squeeze flanges together — it will damage tape edges.
Tape (Cassettes, Audio and Video)
Handle by outer shell, only. Do not place fingers or any other materials into openings.
Handle by inserting middle and index fingers in the center hole, then gently spread them to just keep the cylinder from slipping off. Do not touch the grooves of wax cylinders; they are very susceptible to mold. Wax cylinders should be at room temperature before touching; the thermal shock from the warmth of your hand can cause cold wax cylinders to split.
Keep all discs and tape both open-reel and cassettes standing upright, on edge. Store cylinders standing on their ends. Do not lay any recording flat, not even audio or videocassettes.
Keep all storage and use areas clean.
(materials to be preserved for a minimum of 10 years, ANSI IT9.13, 1996)
Storage areas should be kept at a constant 65 to 70° F and 45 to 50% Relative Humidity (RH). Widely fluctuating temperature or RH severely shortens the life span of all recordings. Environmental conditions shall not fluctuate more that ±10 F or ±10% RH over a 24-hour period. Keep recordings away from light, especially sunlight and unshielded fluorescent lights.
(Materials having permanent value)
Storage areas should be kept at a constant 45 to 50° F or colder (do not store magnetic tapes below 46° F as it may cause lubrication separation from the tape binder) and 20 to 30% RH for magnetic tapes (open reel and cassette) and 45 to 50% RH for all others. Widely fluctuating temperature or RH severely shortens the life span of all recordings. Environmental conditions shall not fluctuate more that ±5° F or ±5% RH over a 24 hour period. Store in dark areas except when being accessed, being sure to keep recordings away from UV sources (unshielded fluorescent tubes and sunlight.)
In general, demagnetization is not a problem in most situations. For an added margin of safety to prevent demagnetization keep all tape (open reels and cassettes) away from potential sources of demagnetization, such as loudspeakers, most of which have sizable magnets in them. Do not set tapes on top of or leaning against any equipment which can be a source of either magnetic fields or heat. Be careful about operating machines with electric motors (e.g., vacuum cleaners) next to tape storage areas.
Recordings are surprisingly heavy. For example, LPs average between 35 and 45 pounds per shelf-foot; 78 rpm and acetate discs are even heavier. Because of their shape and the design of their packaging, recordings will concentrate their weight in the centerline of a shelf, which can cause some shelving to collapse. Make sure that the shelving you choose is solid and well constructed.
Must be shelved vertically. Ideally, disc shelving should have full-height and full-depth dividers, spaced 4 to 6 inches apart, and secured at top and bottom. Less than full-height dividers may contribute to warpage. Interfiling discs of different diameter may also cause warpage.
Tapes (Open reel)
Boxes should be stored vertically. Dividers are not essential, but the boxes must be secured with a bookend and not allowed to fall.
Tapes (Cassettes, Audio and Video)
Cassettes in water repellent plastic containers should be stored vertically “on edge,” not flat.
Stored standing “on end,” like a drinking glass.
Contrary to what your local video-store may say, tapes, including cassettes, should not be stored in the rewound or fast-forwarded position. Ideally, play a tape completely through, then store it without rewinding. Rewind it just before playing it again.
Most record sleeves should be replaced with a high density polyethylene such as DiscWasher V.R.P., Mobile Fidelity Original Master Sleeve, or Nagaoka No. 102 Anti-Static Record Sleeve. If an original paper sleeve contains text or graphics, the Nagaoka sleeves are thin enough to fit inside the paper sleeve.
Some plastic or plastic-lined sleeves should not be used. As a rule of thumb, “bad” sleeves are clear and have a sticky or tacky feel whereas “good” sleeves are frosted in appearance and have a slippery feel.
Tape (Open reels)
Replace any reel which has a slotted hub. Only reels with unslotted hubs are acceptable for storage. Reels with slotted hubs may be used as take-up reels.
Cleaning Solution for Audio Records, CDs, and DVDs
The following cleaning solution is used by the Library of Congress for cleaning acetate, lacquer, shellac, and vinyl records as well as CDs and DVDs. It has not been compared for its effectiveness against commercial products.
Whereas the Preservation Directorate is pleased to share this information, no guarantee is implied or intended that it will meet the needs of all users. Institutions or individuals who prepare or use the solution must do so at their own risk. The Library of Congress will not be liable for any injury to any person, animal, or ecosystem, or damage to any item resulting from the use of any of the materials, chemicals, or procedures described here.
We strongly advise against the handling of the ingredients, preparation of the cleaning solution, and the use of the cleaning solution by persons who are not trained in the safe handling of chemicals and disposal of hazardous wastes. Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn during the preparation and use of the cleaning solution.
Preparation and Directions for Use
1. To prepare 4 L (~ 1 gal) of solution, place 2 mL of Tergitol™ 15-S-7 Surfactant into a suitable container (glass, stainless steel type 304 or 316, fiberglass-reinforced polyester, polyethylene, or polypropylene) and fill with deionized water. This results in a 0.05% solution.
2. Store the solution in a non-food refrigerator to avoid degradation and transfer what is immediately needed to a spray bottle for manual cleaning or other container for mechanized cleaning.
3. Store the pure Tergitol™ in its original container (preferably under nitrogen) and in a non-food refrigerator to avoid degradation that causes an undesirable color and odor.
4. To manually clean records, CDs, or DVDs manually, spray the solution onto the surface, and wipe with an eyeglass or other similar soft wipe to remove contaminants. ALWAYS FOLLOW CLEANING WITH A THOROUGH RINSING WITH DEIONIZED WATER TO REMOVE ALL TRACES OF DETERGENT: LEAVING DETERGENT ON THE OBJECT MIGHT FACILITATE DEGRADATION OF THE OBJECT. Finally, wipe the object dry using a soft, nonabrasive, lint-free cloth.
5. To clean records, CDs, or DVDs in a mechanized cleaner, place just enough solution into the cleaner reservoir so that fresh solution is used each day (or remove the solution every day and store in a non-food refrigerator). ALWAYS FOLLOW CLEANING WITH A THOROUGH RINSING WITH DEIONIZED WATER TO REMOVE ALL TRACES OF DETERGENT: LEAVING DETERGENT ON THE OBJECT MIGHT FACILITATE DEGRADATION OF THE OBJECT. Finally, wipe the object dry using a soft, nonabrasive, lint-free cloth. This last hand-drying step may not be necessary if a record-cleaning machine with a vacuum arm is being used.
MSDSs and Other Information
The following links can be accessed to obtain information for Tergitol™ and the Library of Congress MSDS for the Record Cleaning Solution. Because the Record Cleaning Solution contains less than 1% of Tergitol™, it does not have to be listed on the MSDS.
Article of Library of Congress [link]