Audio Guidance: Condition of Materials and Storage
What Is The Best Way To Store Materials?
Audio: Storage of Materials
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% relative humidity (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 air conditioning or a dehumidifier. Choose another floor if you experience occasional flooding in the basement.
Once you have chosen the best spot, ensure that materials are not stored on the floor where they could be exposed to water damage, insects, or rodents. A damp environment 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.
- Shelve discs such as LPs, 45s, and 78s vertically and in their sleeves/albums. Do not stack discs on top of one another.
- Audio tapes should be stored vertically and in their boxes. Do not 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.
- Store discs vertically in their plastic cases.
- Do not expose to sunlight or other sources of ultraviolet (UV) light. Recordable optical media are especially sensitive.
- Do not use adhesive labels or solvent-based permanent markers on the discs (markers specifically made for archiving optical discs are available).
- NARA Directive 1571 Archival Storage Standards for National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Facilities from the National Archives and Records Administration
- Storage Guides and Calculators From the Image Permanence Institute (IPI)
- Ampex Guide to the Care and Handling of Magnetic Tape From the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR)
- Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs —A Guide for Librarians and Archivists National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 500-252 by Fred R. Byers
- Care, Handling, and Storage of Audio Visual Materials From the Library of Congress