I might be a bit late in commenting but: vinegar syndrome is to be predicted on any acetate based film -whether it be audio, moving picture, microfilm or still negative material. It has a predictable life span -of about 40 years, if kept in reasonable good stable conditions, after which it will start to deteriorate exponentially. Cold storage slows down the process.
Several years ago a detection system was developed by IPI (Image permanence Institute), I think in collaboration with a Canadian group. These are commonly know as AD strips. Blue strips are put into the container with each tape at room temperature, overnight, and examined next day by comparing to colour strips on a pencil. The colour will give you an indication of what stage of deterioration (VS) the tape is at and the guide will tell you how much time in years you have before you can forget about even reformatting the stuff. The detection kit is available from IPI in Rochester. Check out www.rit.edu/ipi
Excuse me if this is something you are already aware of.
Conservator for the Provincial Archives
St.John's, Newfoundland, Canada
>>> [log in to unmask] 9/13/2005 7:31 PM >>>
This is a good point. Much depends upon how reliable you know the source to
have been concerning buying only one or another kind of tape, being
meticulous about keeping that brand in its box or on its manufacturer-identified reel
(which some people are/were not), and so on. And in some cases, such as
archives, one may know little or nothing about the source's habits. In my case, the
tape collections I obtained came from people I knew and I could be sure that if
a tape box or any other identification named a certain manufacturer, it was
accurate about the tape itself.