Yesterday I finished backing up about 200 DVD disks to a drive, most of which are about 10 years old. Took me about 10 days and 1.5TB of space. I just copied data as it was the quickest and doesn't lose any information. Drive may complain and require change of a DVD region, but once they are copied, computer doesn't care anymore. Glad this part is over now.
Some of them needed cleaning, but I really had problems only with three, two of which remains not copied. As it happens it is also one of those on which I can find no visible scratch whatsoever. It used to work, because I've seen it. It does make you wonder what life span of disks really is, even when they were professionally produced. If you have any, I heartily recommend making a backup of them on some other medium. Unless of course they themselves are a secondary backup.
Flipping disks regularly for 10 days does make you notice their cases, especially hubs that keep disks in place with varying degrees of zeal. It is astonishing how many designs have been used over years and how few of them are actually pleasant to use.
Crown of teeth is probably the worst. Like a pitbull unwilling to release a disk until it is visibly bended or a tooth broken. Unless case is made of hard plastic there is really no excuse for using this design. Or any other "pluck" hubs.
Thank god there are patents (as there always are) to prevent everyone converging to those few "push-to-release" that are actually nice to use. How could I after all value my life appropriately without it being spiced with needless hassle.
At some point I intend to process them into a different, smaller formats that require less space and are easier to (re)use. I am not in a hurry as this step still seems laborious and may also result in some content being lost. I am also thinking of making an additional copy together with file hashes so I could, in principle, recover if any of files gets corrupted.
Next: processing our CD collection.