Given what I know about Alaska's climate (far from complete and just second-hand accounts) and given
what I know about magnetic media (also far from comprehensive), I'd say your first order of business
needs to be getting those tapes into a climate-controlled environment, and getting rid of any moldy
or wet boxing around the tapes. My bet is that most if not all have suffered some sort of
deterioration given the length of time they were left "to the elements" in a climate of highly
variable humidity and temperature.
I'm assuming funds are limited, or they would have been stored under better conditions. So the next
order of business is prioritize your transfer process. What are the most important tapes,
historically or culturally or whatever your criteria? Do them first. Worry about the least important
tapes last, understanding they might well continue to deteriorate and waste away and thus never get
Oxide delamination is bad. I'm not sure what can be done about it. I hope some experts chime in,
because I've seen it happen with old acetate-backed audio tapes if they are stored in too-dry
conditions. I've also seen it happen with Scotch 206 (early back-coated) tapes that were stored in a
hot attic for a couple of decades. On an audio tape machine, there is not much to do when oxide
starts falling off. Just hope it falls off AFTER the play head!
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Greg Schmitz" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 2:36 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Conservation question: oxide delamination and consolidation
> At some point in the future the archive I work for may have to deal with hundreds, perhaps
> thousands, of helical audio recordings made in Alaska using Soundscriber SS-124s (helical
> recorders which capable of recording 24 hours on a 2 inch tape medium). When we conducted a brief
> and spotty inspection a couple of years ago of the tapes, recorded in the early 1960s, now stored
> a warehouse without climate controls, we found that many of the tapes showed signs of
> de-lamination; the oxide coating is flaking off of the base of many tapes. I'm trying to get ahead
> of the curve and was wondering if anybody here could point me to literature, or offer advice, on
> consolidating magentic audio tape oxide coatings?
> Thanks in advance.
> --greg schmitz
> Greg Schmitz
> Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association (AMIPA)
> Anchorage, Alaska
> greg /at/ amipa.org
> The Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to media
> preservation and education to ensure long-term access to Alaska’s moving image heritage.