DVD wear and tear

Frank Haulgren (haulgren@cc.wwu.edu)
Mon, 10 Mar 2003 09:12:20 -0800 (PST)

At Western Washington University's Wilson Library we have been adding DVDs
to our collection for the last couple of years. Initially we had hoped to
eventually migrate our VHS collection to DVD - misguidedly believing
that disks would be less vulnerable to damage than VHS tapes. Now I'm no
longer sure this is reasonable direction.

Our video collection is on open shelves and parts if it, especially the
feature films, circulate quite heavily. The titles we've accquired on DVD
have been much more problematic than we had hoped. The big issue seems to
be the manner in which library users handle (or mishandle??) them.
Fingerprinting and scratches are epidemic and increasingly users are
complaining about the frequency with which they are unable to watch DVDs
checked out from our collection because of this.

After using some over the counter solutions including Disk Doctor with
moderately reasonable results. In the last several months we've begun
sending the disks to a business in our region that resurfaces them for a
few bucks per. They do a great job with very fast turnaround time but my
main concern is the frustration that the format is causing our users.

Have any of you given up on DVDs and gone back the accquiring VHS whenever
there is an option? How are others dealing with these issues? We have
begun putting a sheet for reporting trouble with a disk in DVD cases
hoping that users will communicate their problems to us in a more orderly
and coherent fashion (rather than a ticked off "Doesn't work!" relayed
through a student employee). But, we've done this for a couple of years
with our VHS tapes and mostly users don't complete the form when they do
have trouble.

Any suggestions or insights would be appreciated.

Frank Haulgren
ILL / Media & Microforms / Document Delivery
Wilson Library
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA 98225-9103
e-mail haulgren@cc.wwu.edu
Phone 360-650-7641 FAX 360-650-7397