on 2/19/07 6:50 AM US/Central, Jerry Hartke at [log in to unmask] wrote:

> DAT and 8 mm tapes use in-contact helical scan heads that actually deform
> the tape and penetrate the plane of the tape. This can cause excessive tape
> wear. Build-up of the residue on the head can result in a redeposit of the
> previously-removed coating, scratching the tape. Powerful error correction
> built into the formats usually recover the information, but there is a
> significant risk for the archivist.

Yes, and leaving a machine in pause at one location can eventually cause
significant problems. BBC DATs were often accompanied by error printouts;
some DAT machines have playback condition warning lamps.

on 2/19/07 6:11 AM US/Central, Tom Fine at [log in to unmask]

> Don't  you think that, no matter what the problems or challenges, one with a
> collection of valuable material on DATs should transfer the material sooner
> rather than later, whether or not the DATs may or may not have whatever
> alleged shelf life?

Yes, absolutely. But I wonder how many have blamed the DAT format in general
when it's often only an issue of selecting the correct DAT player.

Parker Dinkins
MasterDigital Corporation
Audio Restoration + CD Mastering