Guidelines for Writing Recordable CDs at the Electronic Text Center

Catherine Tousignant,
Electronic Text Center
University of Virginia

Writing Recordable CD-ROMs

The software we currently use is Astarte TOAST CD-ROM Pro 2.5.8

Note that we have two hard drives attached to Monique ("hammer" and "untitled1"), each with a 1 gb capacity. This is often useful because each Recordable CD can hold up to 650 mb of data, and our method requires that the computer hold two copies of the data for a short time. Thus, if you are writing more than 500 mb of data, you will need to shuffle back and forth between the drives. If you are writing less than 500 mb of data, do all your work in "hammer".

The CD-R format we currently use is "ISO 9660". This is an international standard which can be read by Macs or PCs. The ISO 9660 follows PC naming conventions--that is, each file or directory name must consist of up to 8 alphanumeric characters followed by a dot and a three-character suffix. (e.g. filename.sgm or AFC00xx3.jpg) Do not use punctuation or spaces in your filenames. Names are case-sensitive. Be sure your files are properly named before you write the CD.

  1. Use Fetch to ftp your files to "hammer".

  2. Make a folder on "untitled1" and label it in a way that indicates the nature of the data. Compiling your files into a single folder seems to reduce the potential for disruption while writing the CD. This folder may contain files or subdirectories or both. Copy the files from "hammer" into the new folder on "untitled1", and delete them from "hammer" by dragging them into the trash. You must empty the trash at this point, or there won't be enough space to proceed.

  3. Quit Fetch and disconnect Monique from any AppleShare networks by dragging file-cabinet-shaped icons into the trash. (e.g. "Jane" or "ITC1.SYS" or "ALDERMAN-MAC") We do this because unrelated error messages sent down the network could interrupt the writing process.

  4. Open the Toast application, from the "TOAST" folder on Monique. You will see a dialogue box set to the default parameters.

  5. From the "CD-ROM" drop-down menu, change the CD format to "ISO 9660". The "Data" area in the dialogue box should scroll forward to reflect this change.

  6. Click on the "Data" button in the dialogue box to select the folder you wish to write to CD. A new dialogue box will appear, in which you will select Create a new ISO 9660 image file.

  7. A list of files and folders on Monique will appear. Change from Monique to "untitled1" and select the name of the folder you just created.

  8. A dialogue box named "ISO 9660 Builder" will appear. Check to see that the name of your folder has been selected as the data. De-select Append version numbers and Use Apple Extensions. These are Mac-proprietary formatting options which you don't want. Click Build image. This will rewrite your files into one continuous "ISO image file", which reduces the risk of interruption during the writing.

  9. A dialogue box will appear, asking you where you want to build the ISO image file. Save the image file in "hammer", using the default name for the image file.

  10. Insert a new CD-R into the CD writer. Absolutely DO NOT touch, sneeze on, write on, or otherwise contaminate the non-printed side of the disc before you record it. (You should always avoid touching or mucking up the writable side of the CD. But this is especially crucial at this point, since fingerprints or dust can interfere with the recording).

  11. When the ISO image file is built, click on the Write Disc button, and confirm your choice when it prompts you.

The disc will take upwards of 15 minutes to write. When the writing is finished, Toast proceeds with a verification process that takes even a bit longer than the writing itself. If you are in a hurry, you may eject the disc during the verification process. This may not be a wise idea, but we haven't yet seen any negative effects of doing so. You should, however, spot-check a few files by opening them from the CD, to ensure that the writing was successful.

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