LightScribe DVDs or LightScribe CDs are special optical discs that are used for creating labels on the top surface of the discs. When a digital scrapbooking project or other digital information is stored on a DVD-R or CD-R, the labeling of the disc is important for identification purposes and easy access and retrieval.
The LightScribe labeling method cannot be used on all media. Discs that can use this labeling method require an extra top dye layer that is not usually found on recordable media. This dye layer changes when exposed to laser light and therefore a label can be created. LightScribe discs are available in the following formats: CD-R, DVD-R, DVD+R, and dual layer recordable DVDs. The usual base color of the top side of the LightScribe disc (the side that will be labeled) is gold, but other colors are also available such as red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. The actual label when it is placed onto the disc is not a colored label but rather shades of grey.
In addition to special media, in order to use the labeling option on a LightScribe DVD or LightScribe CD, a recording drive is necessary that has the LightScribe feature incorporated in it. Only the drives with the LightScribe symbol, usually on the front of the drive tray or a sticker logo elsewhere on the drive or computer, can create these types of labels on the discs. Special software to allow the labels to be created and burned is also required.
The labeling system works as follows:
It is not known how long the LightScribe CD and DVD labels will last. Because the labeling method is dye based, fading in the long-term is a possibility. This can be caused by light exposure, elevated temperature or relative humidity, and aging of the material. The durability of the label is also uncertain and general recommendations are to handle these discs as little as possible.