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Re: [ARSCLIST] rehousing audio cassettes
At 04:29 PM 2009-01-21, Jennifer Tobias wrote:
We have audio cassettes that are currently stored in the little
plastic boxes that cassette tapes originally come in (I assume this
is PVC.) We don't have a huge budget for rehousing tapes, and I'm
trying to mediate ideal housing with realistic budget constraints-
that is, I'm trying to figure out which of the low-cost options
would yield the greatest benefit. That said, is it worth it to
switch to polyethylene (or Mylar) cassette boxes? Does anyone have
any insight into this?
Thanks for your help!
Many cassette tapes are stored in what I believe are polystyrene
boxes -- material similar to the jewel cases that are used for
storing compact discs. While I have not done extensive research, I
believe the polystyrene boxes are essentially safe for the duration
of the life of the cassettes.
With that said, I would strongly suggest digitizing the cassettes
sooner rather than later (yes this could be construed as self-serving
as I offer the service), but we are seeing continued degradation of
tapes over time and also one must consider that no new, really good
tape players are being manufactured. I have not evaluated the Ion
units that appear to offer playback and digitization in one box. They
may be adequate for some applications.
Additionally, having the content in digital form will permit
no-further-loss replication of the content across multiple storage
locations to guard against catastrophic loss.
The soft boxes may be PVC, but I thought they were polyethylene. If
they are PVC, I would be concerned but PVC tape has lasted well since
circa 1944. Polyethylene might be safer than PVC, but again, I
haven't researched the cases.
While not specifically addressing the cases, you may be interested in
my paper on tape degradation. The first figure illustrates my concern
over future digitization results as the tapes and the machines
continue to degrade.
You may find that at www.richardhess.com/tape/history/
Richard L. Hess email: richard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.