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I have a question in regards to labeling the MAM-A Gold Archive CD-R & DVD-R. I've read that writing on the top side of a CD-R or DVD-R (even with an "approved" pen) may make the CD-R/DVD-R fail to read after the unit was labeled as the markings might make the laser reflect incorrectly causing an error. Is this the case? Furthermore, is it safe to use the disc labels that stick to the non-readable side of a disc?
You don't need to worry about the pen destroying the readability of the disc as long as it hasn't caused damage to the recording layer. I know that you can see the writing on the reverse side of the disc if you hold it up to the light, but the laser can't. We recommend that you use a water-based, permanent marker to write on the CD-Rs. For DVD-Rs you can use any marker, since the top layer is 0.6 mm thick and protects the data layer. We don't officially recommend the labels, but they will be OK for short term usage (discs that will be thrown away after short use). We absolutely do not recommend them for archival use. Please utilize the links below for a guide to archiving from NIST and a disc handling guide from MAM.