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Understanding Magnetic Tape Degradation by Polymeric and Material Testing

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While magnetic tape degradation has been studied for at least 30 years, questions and uncertainties remain in understanding how best to evaluate tape degradation and how best to intervene when necessary to ensure playback and preservation. New research will be discussed using state-of-the-art equipment and experimentation to further clarify and unify our understanding of magnetic media degradation, specifically in polyurethane-based audio tapes both before and after baking. This work examines experimental tapes from the Library's Preservation Research & Testing Division, in order to expand on prior knowledge of tape degradation processes and develop improved methods for the rapid non-destructive identification of sticky tapes.

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The Impact of Therman Treatment on Magnetic Tapes: An Exploratory Study Combining Chemical Analyses and Audio Features

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This article presents the methodology and the ?rst results of an exploratory study aimed to determine the modi?cations that thermal treatment induces on magnetic tapes and on the audio signal memorized on the tapes. In order to do so, a tape is tested before and after treatment: a set of chemical analyses are conducted on tape samples, and audio analyses on the corresponding digitized signals. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that the treatment does not have negative effects on a healthy tape nor on the signal. Future work includes testing tapes showing signs of degradation. This study contributes to the long-term goal of building a structured knowledge base about diagnostic tools and recovery methods for magnetic tapes.

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The Impact of Thermal Treatment on the Mechanical Properties of Magnetic Tapes: Tensile Test

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This article presents the method and the results of a test aimed to determine the tensile properties of magnetic tape samples before and after thermal treatment. The goal is to investigate whether thermal treatment has an effect on the tapes mechanical properties. A tape showing no symptoms of degradation has been used. No modi?cations have been observed, which is in line with the hypothesis that thermal treatment has no effect on ‘healthy’ tapes. Thermal treatment is expected to restore the elasticity of damaged tapes, making them more resistant to mechanical stress and therefore less prone to break. This study contributes to the long-term goal of building a structured knowledge base about diagnostic tools and recovery methods for magnetic tapes.

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A Novel Steganographic Proccess to Ensure Error-Free Digital Recording and Transmission of Audio

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Ever since general-purpose personal computers have been used for digital audio recording, users have been plagued by reliability issues caused by the broad unsuitability of these devices for the task. In critical applications, recorded material has to be carefully listening-checked, which is time-consuming and error-prone. A new DSP process is described which allows recorded audio files to be rapidly and reliably checked for any such errors. The same process can be used to verify digitized audio streams in real-time.

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An Overview of Advnces in Magnetic Playback

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A comprehensive overview of recent advancements in magnetic tape playback, focusing on the minimization of time domain errors ranging from drift, wow and flutter to phase response. Discussion of standards and measurements, and the use of record bias to provide a time reference for time base correction and for precise azimuth adjustment. The advantages of more accurate digital de-emphasis and the implementation of phase equalizers compensate for such errors in the recording process, including modeling in DSP the frequency response and phase characteristics of well-known recorders. We conclude by considering the ethics of preserving artifacts on the recording which can be of service to future restorations. Examples of antique and recent wire, film, and tape recordings will be presented.

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Audio Preservation and Access: Overecoming the Challenges

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The preservation and dissemination of sound recordings are often considered as separate activities, supported by systems developed in silos. While many existing tools and standards for preservation and access are available, linking preservation activities and digital access presents a technical challenge. This paper details the approach the British Library has taken to preserving and providing access to digitized collections to meet the aims of its Save our Sounds program through the creation of new scheme for preservation metadata, a tool for METS and SIP creation and a new IIIF framework for delivering audio online.

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Uncovering the Nature of Damage to Early Wax Cylinder Audio Recordings during Storage

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The Library of Congress maintains a large collection of wax cylinders, many of which contain ethnographic field recordings from as early as 1890. Wax cylinders can present with several condition issues including cracking during storage. To understand the cause of this issue and guide preservation of these materials, we have undertaken a multi-pronged approach to identify compositional changes resulting from aging with an initial focus on early brown wax cylinders. This work has included the recreation of period formulations as well as the detailed chemical and physical characterization of the formulations.

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Azimuth Investigations

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Setting proper azimuth is an important task in optimizing media playback. This paper looks to quantify azimuth error and look at what can and cannot be done in post processing. Examples of azimuth error based on error angle, speed, and track width are calculated and graphed. Solutions for optimizing two-track recovery are explored.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society