Dana and Scott,
Thanks for posting this article.
This is rather reminiscent of what Prestospace had Benoit Thiebaut
working on about a decade ago. He (and others at later times) used
Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy to identify tapes.
Benoit also used mass spectroscopy which, to me, was more telling as one
could see binder, degradation products, and lubricant on a
population/quantity vs. mass graph. In VERY rough terms, there were
peaks at 500 g/mol (lubricant), 5000 g/mol (sticky degradation
products), and 50,000 g/mol (good binder).
FTIR can, by comparing spectra with a known database, identify the types
Unfortunately, all this gear is expensive and time consuming.
I disagree with the statement that there is not enough time to bake the
tape. Oven/dehydrator capacity is cheap and can be run in parallel. Even
with 2-4 day baking, you can stack up enough baking that the
playback/digitizing passes are the limiting factors.
While it will become more difficult to digitize tapes in 20 years, I'm
not certain I agree with George Blood (for whom I have a substantial
amount of respect). I think that the first failure will be the failure
to find technicians who are familiar with the genre. I'll be in my mid
80s if I'm not pushing up daisies. Then there is the problem of machines
and the people to repair the machines. Finally, the tape will fall
apart, but, in general, tapes seem to be holding up well, even though
many need baking.
On 2015-09-09 15:22, Dana Gerber-Margie wrote:
> Exciting news for people who digitize! Noninvasive infrared spectroscopy
> could help archivists prioritize tape recordings for digitization. It could
> also be very helpful for appraisal, so archivists aren't spending time
> preserving blank tape.
> ; Dana E. Gerber-Margie
> *Subscribe to my weekly audio digest at tinyletter.com/theaudiosignal
Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.