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Author Topic: Unopened sticky & non-sticky tape wanted for research at the Library of Congress  (Read 8207 times)

Offline breitung1

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I'm a scientist at the Library of Congress working on pre-play identification methods for sticky/degraded magnetic tape.  I have a few of the very common tapes Ampex 406, 478, Scotch 227, 908  etc., but to validate the method (see IRUG 2012, Barcelona, Breitung abstract), I'm hoping to find in-kind offerings of any of the following (or others that are known to degrade):

Agfa PEM-468, 469, 526
Ampex 373, 407, 457, 499, 2020
Audiotape/Capitol Q15
EMTEC SM911
Melody 169
Scotch/3M Classic, Master-XS, 175, 201, 250, 806-9,
        966, 967, Pro-206, 207, 226, 986 Sony - PR-150, FeCr, SLH, ULH-72-370-BL TDK 150H

Because of the ease of confusion of boxes, hubs, reels, tapes after opening, only unopened/sealed tapes are useful.
Also - if you know of other sources (besides ebay, etc.) or places I should post this request, please let me know. 

In posting this on other forums, I've found that people don't always want to give up tape that they're not sure is 'bad'.  If that's the case and you're willing to let me open the box, play the tape once on a Studer to evaluate its condition and allow me to contact the tape between two flat surfaces (an ATR-FTIR) in two, ~ 1 centimeter diameter spots within the first two meters of tape, I can return the tape after measuring.  Alternatively, if you allow me to open, play, and cut the first meter or two, I will gladly return the remainder.  Those tapes the the Library are allowed to keep will go into our storage vaults for future testing.

The two 1 cm contact spots, I believe but have not proved, do not affect fidelity.  I will be testing this over the summer and will hopefully update the loc (dot) gov (slash) preserv website with my findings.

I've posted this request on a couple of other forums.  One of them turned into a 40 post thread about how I'm not leaving my contact information and am likely not who I say I am.  To avoid that here, if you message me directly, I will gladly offer you my work email and discuss tape donation, etc.

Thank you kindly -

Offline breitung1

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If anyone is interested in helping out...please feel free to either send a personal message via this forum or call me at
2 zero 2 - 7 zero 7 - 5000 (ask for eric breitung)

thank you - -

Offline ironbut

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Hi Eric,

Welcome to the forum.
Although I don't have any unopened boxes of the tapes you mention, I would like to suggest that you expand your inquiry to some other forums or mailing lists.

The two top mailing lists are;

ARSC list/forum  http://www.arsc-audio.org/
Ampex list         http://recordist.com/ampex/mail-sub.html

Other forums;

 Gearslutz
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/
TapeOp message board
http://messageboard.tapeop.com/

I'm sure you've posted something on the ARSC list (there was a very long SSS thread just a month or so ago which I have to admit to having only skimmed) but if you haven't, I would guess that it and the Ampex list will be your best sources for what you seek.

Good luck.
steve koto
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Offline breitung1

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Great suggestions.  I will definitely post there as well.
thank you -

Offline Listens2tubes

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Offline Zzeon

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If the US government can bail out GM, Wall St., et al, then they can afford to ensure our precious works are preserved by paying for a little tape, esp, if it is expected that our tape will be subject to handling, a nightmare for a purist.

Thought for you, why not commit the US People's works to a digial archive, MGM Studios has done it with everything from movies, music, posters, scripts, and more.

You would actually provide jobs for real US citizens. It's not that I doubt you are who you say you are, but IMHO, your stretching it to ask us to fund the US government project.

Please protect our assets, create new jobs for Americans, it's like your begging on the street.
Thank God and our country for free speech.

Offline ironbut

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Hey Zzeon,

There is a large effort world wide to transfer all audio visual assets which are in danger of degrading and the LOC has been at the forefront of this.
In fact, it was just a few years ago when a new "campus" in Culperpepper Va was opened to house, restore and archive this countries audio visual heritage.

http://www.loc.gov/avconservation/packard/location.html

In the last year, a "National Jukebox" came online to share the files of our audible treasures which have been transfered and have been cleared to be made public.

http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/

While you visit the site, be sure and check out the "Victrola Book of Opera" (even if you aren't a fan). It's super nice and a great example of how these old texts can be shared.

I believe that the reason for obtaining these tapes is to research the best ways to play and preserve them. With many restoration and archival efforts, particularly sticky tapes, lacquers and metal parts, it is a matter of getting a single usable pass (in other words, the media is in bad enough shape that you may only get a single play to transfer it) so knowing the best way to get this "single play" is very important.
Even after a media item is transfered, it's usually stored and this kind research will help to stop any further degradation.
steve koto
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Offline Zzeon

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Thanks Ironbut for the references, I will look them up. I also understood the purpose of the research, and was asking why the request is going out to citizens, when the Secret Service can expense the craziest things, and yes we pay for that too, with our tax dollars. That's all, maybe the question should just be to the point.

See the funny thing is that I might assist the "Tape Project", who records and shares, because they do not receive my tax money, but the government is already taking 1/3 of my wages.

If it is a project, then it should be properly funded by a budget, and include the few tapes this scientist is asking for our help to obtain with public dollars.

thanks so much Ironbut for assisting me in better understand the nature of the original request.
cheers, Zzeon

Offline ironbut

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The reason the request for these tapes is directed toward us is the simple fact that "citizens" would be the only source for them.
All the tapes requested are no longer produced and for some, haven't been in production for many decades. Finding any which hasn't been used is difficult and finding some which is still sealed is a tough row ta hoe.
As scarce as some of this tape stock is, most reel to reel fans are usually happy to supply what they have in the interest of research. I've seen it happen before with  the wonderful folks over on the Ampex and ARSC lists (just asking to have their shipping costs recouped).

Mr. Breitung displays an understanding of the challenge that obtaining these old tapes present. He could have gone through "proper channels" and tried to get them through their Purchasing Dept. but finding someone who has the tapes that would be willing to accept a "purchase order" would be next to impossible (not to mention expensive).
Sometimes you can get what you need for the asking and money just gets in the way of passion.
steve koto
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Offline Topper

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Zzeon,

I responded early on to the SS request and was more than happy to send along a number of sealed tapes.  All most likely sticky.  I wouldn't have a use for them.  Shipping was prepaid and painless. I'm helping myself and fellow tape users.  Please don't politicize this process and site.

Walter
Walter Clay

Guy in New England with more tapes and vinyl than digital, though he does have pretty good playback capability as well as the means to record digitally when needed.

Offline ironbut

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As a follow up to Erik's original posting, here is a bit more detail regarding the research which he needs these tapes for.

,.. working on a pre-play (minimally
invasive) identification method for sticky/degraded magnetic tape...

The method: Uses IR spectroscopy and multi-variate statistical analysis to
differentiate degraded and non-degraded magnetic tapes: see "Report on
Research and Testing of Audiovisual Media at the Library of Congress" from
2012 ARSC and IRUG Conference 2012, Barcelona).  Using the Library's
collection - testing 100 tapes from the 1970-1990's, we've been able to
accurately identify 98% of the time which polyester-urethane tapes are
degraded or not using IR spectroscopy.


Very important research IMHO.
Considering the enormous number of tapes which are in the queue in need of archiving worldwide, finding out which ones are currently degrading quickly is huge. A triage for tapes?
 Also, to be able to avoid "pinning" or other stripping of the oxide layer during "test playing" could save important portions of the reel.

Over on the "list" where Erik posted this, the archivists and tape restoration folks were positively stoked!
steve koto
 Sony scd 777es(R. Kern mods)> Vpi Aires>Dynavector XX-2mkll>Bent mu>CAT ultimate>CJ premeir 140>Magnepan 1.6qr(Jensen xover)Headphone Eddie Current Zana Deux>AT ad2000,HD800 ,Metric Halo ULN-2 (battery powered),
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