Re: labels on cd's

Kristine R. Brancolini (
Fri, 28 Jun 1996 09:24:40 -0500 (EST)

Lisbeth: Just so happens that I'm doing a presentation on preservation
issues related to magnetic and optical media at ALA, so I've been reading
about these questions!

*No one* who has studied the physical properties of CDs and their use
recommends putting labels of any kind on the CD itself. Nor do they
recommend writing on the surface. However, there seems to be some
feeling that if you have to write on the surface, it should be with a
soft-tipped marker. The problem is that they recommend that you ask the
manufacturer for suggestions about which marker to use. This isn't too
pracical when you are buying CDs that may have been manufactured by a
variety of companies!

We don't put any labels on any of our optical discs--laserdiscs, audio
CDs, or CD-ROMs, based upon what I had read earlier. Newer studies also
support this practice.

For more information on these questions, I refer you to an excellent
document. It's available from Kodak Digital Science and called
"Permanence, Care and Handling of CDs." The URL is I actually found
it linked from the Conservation Online website under Electronic
Resources. The URL for that is There is lots
of good stuff at this address!

Kristine Brancolini
Indiana University Libraries

On Fri, 28 Jun 1996, Lisbeth S. Goldberg wrote:

> This is an old topic that has just resurfaced here. Currently, we place
> no labels directly on a compact disc. However, we do use the 3M clear
> overlays with Tattle-Tape strip. Lately, there has been some interest in
> placing barcodes directly on the cd, rather than on the box. Anyone have
> any recommendations on doing that? Also, for ownership of cd's, are
> people writing directly on the cd or using labels. If so, which markers
> and which labels are used? If this topic has been discussed too many
> times, please reply direct, rather than to the list. Thanks!
> Lisbeth S. Goldberg
> Audiovisual Librarian at Arlington County Library, VA
> (703)358-6339