ISO 18938:2008 establishes general principles for the care and handling of digital optical discs during use. It addresses the issues of physical integrity of the medium necessary to preserve access to the recorded data (information). ISO 18938:2008 includes recommendations for handling procedures to maximize the effective life of optical discs. Faulty handling, packing and transporting techniques and methods often cause physical damage to the discs and to the content recorded thereon. Extending the longevity of optical discs requires the identification of appropriate handling methods, as well as well-developed and implemented training programs.

For the purposes of ISO 18938:2008, the term “optical disc” includes the families of compact disc (CD), digital versatile disc (DVD), high definition digital versatile disc (HD DVD) and Blu-ray disc (BD), and any hybrids of these families. The term “optical disc” also includes each type of disc within a family, including injection moulded [read-only memory (ROM)], dye-layer [recordable (R)] and phase change [rewriteable (RW), random access memory (RAM)] technologies.

While some of the recommendations in ISO 18938:2008 (e.g. those for staff training) apply specifically to large-scale or long term usage, the basics of all recommendations in ISO 18938:2008 are intended to be applied in circumstances where the desired result is long-term usage of the medium whether archival, commercial or personal.

ISO 18938:2008 does not cover magneto-optical (MO) discs, laser discs (LD) or glass discs. At the time of writing, International Standards do not exist for HD DVD and Blu-ray discs. Nonetheless, it is believed that the recommendations in ISO 18938:2008 for care and handling can equally apply to them. It is recognized that some of these requirements are not necessarily possible for the individual user to achieve.

The following are within the scope of ISO 18938:2008:

  • use and handling environments, including pollutants, temperature and humidity and light exposure;
  • contamination concerns;
  • inspection;
  • cleaning and maintenance, including cleaning methods and frequency;
  • transportation;
  • disasters, including water, fire, construction and post-disaster procedures;
  • staff training.

General information

  • Status :  Withdrawn
    Publication date : 2008-09
  • Edition : 1
    Number of pages : 24
  • :
    ISO/TC 42
  • 35.220.30
    Optical storage devices
    Other standards related to photography

Got a question?

Check out our FAQs

Customer care
+41 22 749 08 88

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday - 09:00-12:00, 14:00-17:00 (UTC+1)

Keep up to date with ISO

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest news, views and product information.