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Another way to identify a tape with Sticky Shed Syndrome (SSS)

Filed under: archival practices,reels,Tape Aging — 2008-08-22 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2009-01-30 by

For a current list of degrading analog tapes, click here.

Teaching people how to identify tapes that are suffering from sticky shed syndrome is often difficult.

I would like to propose that a careful inspection of how the tape comes off the pack may be a good way. Please provide comments as to how it’s working for you.

The tape should come off the tape pack at a precise tangent to the tape. If the tape starts to adhere and not pull off straight, that is a sure sign that the tape needs baking.

Of course, don’t bake acetate tapes even if they show this indicator, but on the last batch of questionable SSS tapes, I’ve been looking at this and it’s a fair indicator, and it seems to show at the outer edge of the pack.

More than one “test” or “factor” is needed to be sure, but this one is looking good.

Another almost sure sign of SSS is brown oxide and black back-coat.


Five historic standards now linked from the history page

Filed under: cartridges,cassettes,history,reels — 2008-08-21 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2008-08-21 by

About two years ago, I asked the EBU to make available a copy of their historic document, Review of existing systems for the synchronisation between film cameras and audio tape-recorders and they complied, making it available on their website.

I asked the National Association of Broadcasters about their Cartridge, Cassette, and Reel tape standards as well as their Disc standard and they gave me permission to post these standards at my website.

These five standards plus some other articles of historic interest are available here in the history portion of this website. I hope that you find these of use in unraveling some of the challenges that old media present.



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