do you keep media carriers after copying / imaging contents?

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Emily Sommers

Jun 20, 2022, 12:42:17 PMJun 20
to Digital Curation
Hi everyone,

What are folks doing with media carriers (in particular burned CD-Rs) once the content has been copied off / imaged? At the moment in my department, we've just been shelving them, but we're starting to re-think this practice.

The only examples where we think it is worth keeping is when the CD/floppy can be treated as an artifact itself, especially if there is a nice case / design / artwork. Or if it's a specialized CR-ROM or whatnot. But in most instances the carrier is just a transfer vessel.

I was wondering if anyone has any policy/procedures/documentation they would be willing to share if you have decided to discard the media carriers after successful transfer of the digital contents?

Thanks in advance,

sasha arden

Jun 30, 2022, 3:49:06 PMJun 30
to Digital Curation
Hi Emily,
I concur about keeping media carriers that can be considered artifacts in themselves -- it can be so informative and enjoyable to experience more context (and, in my case, nostalgia) along with the digital contents.

I recently did some research on disk imaging artists' CD-ROMs, and the results showed that it's a good idea to hang on to these carriers. Functionality of the CD-ROM programs were not consistent across different disk imaging tools, and it was necessary to do a very thorough quality control check by actually launching the CD-ROM programs and interacting with them as much as possible in their intended environment (perhaps Mac OS 9 in an emulator like SheepShaver). More needs to be done to pinpoint why there were inconsistencies, but the lack of clear pattern in my tests threw some major caution toward relying on bit-level QC alone and considering a CD-ROM disk image a replacement of the original carrier.

My best,
sasha arden

Tyler Thorsted

Jul 1, 2022, 12:51:18 PMJul 1
to Digital Curation

I agree with sasha, there are many circumstances that you might want to go back to the physical disc. Macintosh multimedia discs are a good example. That being said, I also believe if you have a well documented disc imaging process or at least a policy on imaging certain disc formats with a validation step to ensure all sectors copied, then the media could be discarded and the disc image would be the digital master. 

We generally will keep BIN/CUE or ISO of:
DVD-Video (preserve menus, interactivity)
HFS/HFS+ filesystems (Resource Forks)
VCD discs
Some Audio Discs with enhanced features, CD-Text

Tyler Thorsted
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