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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