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May 16, 2014

The Degradation of CDs and DVDs

There is an interesting post in The Atlantic on the degradation of CDs and DVDs.

"My once-treasured CD collection--so carefully assembled over the course of about a decade beginning in 1994--isn't just aging; it's dying," laments the author. "And so is yours."

According to preservation experts at the Library of Congress, "all of the modern formats weren't really made to last a long period of time.... We're trying to predict, in terms of collections, which of the types of CDs are the discs most at risk. The problem is, different manufacturers have different formulations so it's quite complex in trying to figure out what exactly is happening."

Testing has revealed that "even CDs made by the same company in the same year and wrapped in identical packaging might have totally different lifespans."

According to the author, "recordable CDs--the kind you can burn or rewrite--tend to have more complicated degradation issues than their professionally-recorded counterparts.... And as far as different kinds of discs go, CDs tend to be more stable than DVDs, mostly just because DVDs hold more data, so there's more to lose."

Here are a few recommendations to slow the deterioration of your CDs and DVDs:

  • The best way to hold a CD is to pinch the hole in the middle
  • The top surface of the CD--the side that faces up when it's playing--is more delicate than the bottom so avoid touching that surface
  • Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures. "If you want to really kill your discs, just leave them in your car over the summer. That's a really great way to destroy them."
  • It's also better not to muck up the top of your CDs with labels--the adhesive creates chemical reactions that quickly eat up data--or even permanent markers.

May 2, 2014

New Display in the Law Library about Dean George Young

Over the last year, one portion of the Law School Faculty Tower underwent some renovation, adding more accessible technology to better meet the needs of the faculty. To make room for the new additions, the display about Dean George Young needed to be moved. Fortunately, the library had a great space for it and was able to put together a display that provides students and all library users with background on one of the Law School's most well-respected deans and faculty members.

George H. Young was member of the Law School faculty from 1950 to 1981, serving as Dean from 1958 to 1968. Dean Young made substantial contributions to the Law School and the University in a number of areas, ranging form overseeing the expansion of the Law School to working with NCAA and Big Ten athletics. He was known for always keeping an 'open door' for students.

During Young's time as Dean, the Law School's enrollment and faculty doubled. The new Law School building was constructed while Young was Dean, and the faculty became more diverse, including the hiring of Margo Melli and Shirley Abrahamson (the first tenured female faculty members). He was also an integral part of adding Jim Jones (the first African-American faculty member) to the faculty. Finally, the Law School was able to weather the tumultuous time when student protests were at the boiling point while Dean Young was in charge. Dean Young was involved in nearly every facet of the Law School, from the Law Review to expanding interdisplinary faculty.

When Dean Young died in 1981, the Law School passed a resolution to always reserve a space in the building dedicated to his memory. That space is now located near the library entrance on the fifth floor. Stop by and learn more about Dean Young next time you are here.

George Young Display