This report defines the basic magnetic open-reel, audio tape types and what is currently known about their degradation mechanisms. Besides updating former research assumptions on the subject, it illustrates various types of tape degradation and surveys many of the techniques used for tape restoration. It was published in the ARSC Journal, Vol. 39, no. 2, Fall 2008.
This report is written for audio tape specialists and requires some technical knowledge to read. It focuses on passive conservation issues (proper identification, storage and careful handling and playback techniques). It is a valuable report for archives mapping and prioritising open reel audiotape collections for digitisation, by illuminating possible problems that could arise during playback and offering solutions.