Although now out of date, the procedures for audio preservation and archival
audio re-recording are described in the Sound Recordings Procedures Manual
issued by the (US) National Archives and Records Administration. This book
contains still excellent standards and tips for handling 1/4" tape in

Leadering, labeling and handling practices are discussed in detail, as is
the need to use slotless hub reels.

Specific recommendations for leadering (paper mostly, but anti-static leader
tape is permitted) is on page 4-35. Splicing tape is supposed to be only 3M
Type 67 (not Editall tabs!) because it's removable, and the mastic doesn't
bleed). This stuff is blue, and I think it's made by Quantegy now. You make
your own tabs with this splicing tape, placing short lengths temporarily on
the head assembly or some other convenient spot, and then putting them on
the splice joint with the flat side of a single edged razor.

I've made this manual available for years on the web. You need Acrobat 7.0
or later, and it's now text searchable.

If you want to see static discharge with open reel tape, just turn out the
lights. You can often hear it, too.

Parker Dinkins
MasterDigital Corporation
CD Mastering + Audio Restoration

on 4/1/06 10:16 AM US/Central, Marcos Sueiro at [log in to unmask] wrote:

> Danny,
> This is my understanding as well. I also find that when I find old paper
> leader, it is often brittle, unwieldy and slippery --and a bad friend of
> adhesive, as Tom Fine points out.
> However, I admit I do not know how to look or listen for potential problems
> arising from electrostatic charge in leader tape. If anyone has found these
> problems, I think the class would probably like to hear about them.
> Marcos
> --On Friday, March 31, 2006 4:15 PM -0500 Richard Warren
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> As I recall, general wisdom in ARSC suggests that for archives the use of
>> NO leader tape at all has always been recommended for tapes to be stored,
>> since attaching leader(s) involves the use of splicing tape, another
>> material to be avoided as much as possible. Obviously one must deal with
>> splices that come in on tapes; but except for attaching leader or blank
>> tape temporarily to allow capture of beginnings and endings on recordings
>> lacking sufficient unrecorded "slack", why ask for trouble ?
>> Richard
>> At 03:56 PM 3/31/2006, you wrote:
>>> I wonder about the value of the recommendation to ‚??replace plastic
>>> leaders with paper leaders‚?? (Capturing Analog Sound for Digital
>>> Preservation; Leader).
>>> I think that the concern about ‚??electrostatic charges‚?? may be
>>> overstated (and probably has its origins from another era, perhaps when
>>> PVC was used a leader tape base).  Using modern anti-static polyester
>>> leader as a ‚??replacement leader‚?? (not to mention the high coercivity
>>> of magnetic tape in general), makes the electrostatic charges from
>>> leader tape issue, I feel, almost negligible.  Video shares many of the
>>> same preservation issues as audio and I‚??m not aware of this ‚??paper
>>> or
>>> plastic‚?? question ever coming
>>> up in that field; video preservation specialists use polyester leader and
>>> have done so successfully for decades.  Is there a distinction between
>>> magnetic audio media and magnetic video media (or even data storage tape,
>>> another magnetic medium that uses polyester leader) that I‚??m
>>> overlooking that would require paper tape to be used in audio?
>>> Certainly too other arguments could be made for not using paper leader:
>>> it is less durable than polyester, it will absorb moisture, and
>>> -particularly with non-buffered paper, it becomes brittle and therefore
>>> may fail to maintain the tension on the tape pack (when tacked down at
>>> the head or tail) needed for long term storage.
>>> Feel free to set me straight.
>>> Best,
>>> Danny
>>> Daniel Sbardella
>>> The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
>>> 40 Lincoln Center Plaza
>>> New York, NY  10023
>>> 212.870.1609
> Marcos