Preservation

Audio Guidance: Condition of Materials and Storage

What Is The Best Way To Store Materials?

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Audio: Storage of Materials

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Environment

Store audio recordings and playback equipment in an area providing stably low temperatures, low humidity, and protection from flooding, air pollutants, and sunlight. This will help extend their usable life. Temperature and humidity in a storage environment should ideally not fluctuate and be within the ranges of 55-70 degrees Fahrenheit and 30-55% RH. Avoid storing home collections in places with unregulated climates such as an attic or garage.

A closet or unused rooms are often good choices. Generally basements provide darker spaces and more stable and cooler temperatures, but humidity levels can be high unless regulated by A/C or a dehumidifier. Choose another floor if you experience occasional flooding in the basement.

Once you’ve chosen the best spot, ensure that materials are not stored on the floor where they could be exposed to water damage, insects, or rodents. Damp conditions may accelerate conditions such as vinegar syndrome in acetate tapes or encourage mold growth on the materials. Be very cautious in handling materials that you suspect may be mold infested. They can pose a serious health risk if not dealt with properly. Additional guidance.

Placement

Disc Recordings

  • Shelve discs such as LPs, 45s and 78s vertically and in their sleeves/albums. Don’t stack discs on top of one another.

Magnetic Tapes

  • Audio tapes should be stored vertically and in their boxes. Don’t stack tapes on top of one another.
  • Store magnetic tapes away from anything that can create an electro-magnetic field. This includes loudspeakers and other articles containing magnets, and also high voltage lines and surge protectors.

Optical Media

  • Store discs vertically in their plastic cases.
  • Don’t expose to sunlight or other sources of UV light. Recordable optical media are especially sensitive.
  • Don’t use adhesive labels or solvent-based permanent markers on the discs (markers specifically made for archiving optical discs are available).

Where can I find more information?

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