I am cross-posting this to all three ARSC lists to throw a wide net, but
PLEASE let's continue the discussion on the main ARSC list or by email
to me directly, preferably at [log in to unmask]
Recently, I have been in discussions with a group who has analytical
equipment that might be useful for analyzing tape degradation, and they
appear interested in running some tests. We may not need massive amounts
of testing. A few well-thought out tests may be of immense assistance.
Benoit Thiebaut of the Prestospace project ran a test for my 2008 paper
which presented evidence that there was no loss of lubricant in
tapes--the lubricant was still there, but yet the tape squealed. This
led to a test by Ric Bradshaw at the IBM tape lab in Tucson showing a
low glass transition temperature for a squealing tape (about 8 °C).
These helped in the understanding of why cold playback and D5
lubrication both could be used to stop squealing.
The first step is for all of us to chime in about what we think needs to
Here is the first one:
I have great concern for the apparent increase in binder-base adhesion
failure. This is happening with both acetate and polyester base films.
We should be aware of Tom Fine's conjecture that the dry (and cold)
storage recommended for (and apparently good for) polyester base film
tapes may be drying out and damaging acetate base film tapes.
We should also be aware that Ric Bradshaw has suggested that baking
tapes may lead to binder-base adhesion failure. And, of course we need
to remember that one never bakes an acetate tape.
What do YOU want tested?
The second step will be to collect samples for analysis. Apparently
25-50 mm of material is adequate (smaller can be used). For separating
tapes both separated and non-separated samples would be useful. Metadata
is important to understand context and should include as much of the
following as is known: manufacturer, type, date of manufacture, presumed
storage conditions over time, any known treatments, observations at time
of playback, and anything you can think of that might be useful.
Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.