At 02:19 AM 6/19/2005 -0400, M Myers wrote:

>My question concerning the tapes is... can you glean specific information
>from an analogue tape that has some age on it, not only an idea of when the
>tape was manufactured, but where it might have been -- I've seen several
>post on mold and other nastiness growing on these tapes on this discussion
>board. i.e. Has someone come across something that is specific to a certain
>region and would only be found with a tape stored in a particular
>environment? Say in the South? I never encountered any of this in my travels
>with analogue tape, but it occurred to me that many of you are not only
>archivist, but part time research scientist and super sleuths.

I am not even competent in the field, but I do know that molds are not
uniformly spread around the globe. However, for such an analysis to work,
you might have to have the tape visit Madagascar or a comparably unlikely
place to pick up something unique. Tracking it in such a case would require
a forensic scientist (probably) and an expert on exotic molds (certainly).
Surely, you'd have little chance of finding a growth unique to a continent
in the temperate zone, so distinguishing between Europe and the U.S. or
Canada is improbable.

Note that it would not have to be stored extensively in the environment; a
few spores picked up on the (cardboard) box would likely be enough, given
substantial time between exposure and analysis. You may get away with
having the analysis done to determine how best to remove the growth;
specific treatments for specific contamination.

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